The village of Beuil
The glory days...
The field which hosts the fair
Since the 16th century, herds and flocks have been brought here, sheep in particular. It was an opportunity to do good business: butchers and dealers came from as far away as the coast to meet the farmers and breeders and after tough negotiations, when the deal had been made, they sat down at a table in one of the cafés for whom those days were among the most lucrative.
These exchanges also embodied the links between the valleys of Var, Tinée and Roudoule.Lower down, you can see La Condamine, land reserved for the local lord which has subsequently divided up; each plot was valuable because the was close to the village and received plenty of sunshine, making it an ideal place to grow wheat, potatoes and the famous lentils.
The outline of the castle
...can only be imagined by each of us: we can pick out, behind the alinement of the cut stone, the thickness of the wall made of rough blocks and held together by white mortar.
On 26th May 1581, Honoré II of the house of Grimaldi, loyal to the Duke of Savoie, obtained the title of Count of Beuil, with important duties in Nice. His son did not follow his example: “I am Count of Beuil, I can do what I want”. Thus did Annibal set the tone. Devoted, rebellious, provocative and then a traitor, he tested the patience of the Duke who had him arrested, judged and executed in 1621, putting an end to the greatest Manor in the Comté de Nice.The castle of Beuil was demolished. From 1633 onwards, its beautiful stones were used in the village as cornerstones, lintels and window frames.
The old village houses
Traditional house, renovated and genuine clad roof
In the past, the villagers used larch planks for the roofs of their houses, a fine choice of material given that it is waterproof, long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing, because even without treatment the shingles take on a silver-grey hue.
It has to be dried for three to five years and two grooves need to be cut into it so that rainwater will run off the roof. Then, the two metre planks have to be offset so that water does not leak through the joints.
Today, people often put corrugated iron for the first layer and then a single layer of planks on top for aesthetic reasons: this is false cladding.
Chapelle des pénitents
Dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy, the chapel was restored in 1630 and was used and maintained by the “venerable confraternity” which “assembled every Sunday and Bank Holiday to sing the office of Mary”. The confraternity, made up of lay people united in the aim of mutual assistance, also played another original role here: the Mont Granatique collectors were named as members of it. This stock of seeds was bought in the autumn thanks to legacies from private individuals, conserved in the barn located above the chapel and then handed out in the form of virtually interest-free loans.The chapel was abandoned for a long time after the confraternity came to an end, but today it has heritage status. It has a larch shingle roof, a trompe-l'oeil facade which was restored by Guy Ceppa in 1984 on which there is a sundial with the motto “soli honor et Gloria” (honour and glory to God alone).
The bust of Joseph Garnier
The wash house
The Beuil wash house has the singularity of being split into three arched sections.Here, the water supply was problematic for a long time and this was only resolved in the 1900s. Houses were supplied with running water later on and, in many families, carrying water remained a chore until the 1950s: washing day was on Thursday, when there was no school, meaning that there were plenty of hands to help out.
Notre Dame du Rosaire
Mysterious black stone
Dated August 1523, this sculpted lintel carries the name of the Loïs Serre armouries, canon of Clans, who was the personal secretary to Honoré I, Baron of Beuil.
Was it being reused (recovered from the castle, for instance) or was it an original element. It is impossible to be sure if Loïs Serre really lived at this location in the village. On the other hand, his prestige was so great in Beuil and in the stronghold that the Baron, who was often retained in Nice, delegated his powers to Serres.Thus we find his armouries in Clans and he is represented as a donor for a mural in 1513 at Roubion.
Access and parking
Beuil is located 80km from Nice (an hour and fifteen minutes’ drive).Take the A8 motorway –exit Nice-St Isidore then RD 6202. Follow directions for Digne, then Touët sur Var, take the D28 via the Cians gorges or the D2202 via the Daluis gorges and Guillaumes.
At the entrance to the village, at the junction, go onto Boulevard Marcel Pourchier.
200m along on the right, park your vehicle at Place Charles de Gaulle;
You can reach the play area via a series of stairways.
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