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Annot, Provence

Charming village in the hills above Nice

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Annot is a lovely town that combines medieval charm with modern Provencal style in a wonderfully relaxed fashion. It is also a great centre for mountain sports.

Annot is on the scenic train line from Nice to Dignes. On arriving at Annot train station the main town is a 10 minute walk away through a pleasant residential area; it’s easy to find, just look out for the red tiles of the old town and head in that direction.

First of all you’ll pass by the tourist office on the main town square, a wide shady area lined with tall plane trees. Beyond is a quiet intersection where the terraces of a few different cafés and bars face a large petanque pitch beside the river Vaïre. The bridge that crosses the river is the Pont de la Donne, built in 1709 and registered as an historical monument.

On turning right at the intersection you’ll enter the old town; a fascinating tangle of medieval alleyways and beautiful stone buildings. The tiny streets all loop round to meet each other, so it is easy to double back and find yourself back where you started without realising!

Annot is not just a monument to the past, there is also lots to do and it is a popular site for rock climbers thanks to the sandstone of the Grès d'Annot.

History & Culture in Annot

The legend of the Chambres du Roi dates back to the 10th century when Saracen marauders were sweeping the countryside. Apparently a Christian prince of Lower Provence was on the run from the Saracens and was granted refuge in a rocky cavern where he and his princess lived in safety until their hiding place was revealed by a traitor and they were slaughtered by the Saracens, along with the people of Annot who had helped hide them. The entire village would have been wiped out if it were not for a plague that swept through the Saracen ranks, mysteriously stopping once all the infidels were dead. All good stories obviously end with a ghostly presence and this one is the restless soul of the traitor, who apparently appears as a strange glowing vision as dawn breaks over the rocks...

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Sights & Attractions in Annot

In the heart of the old town is the solid stone church of Notre-Dame, call into the smaller Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs next door to see the beautiful 17th century altar painting by François Mimault.

The stone vaulted archway that leads to the old town marks the start of the Grand Rue - the main road of Annot since the 14th century.

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Events in Annot

Annot has a regular market every Tuesday morning and a foire on Saturdays.

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Things to Do in Annot

Call into the tourist office and pick up a town map, it has all the historical monuments listed on it so that you can go on a self-guided walking tour of the town.

The Grès d'Annot is a site popular with rock climbers for its massive sandstone boulders, some more than 100m high. You can also see the impressive rock formations by following the Chambre du Roi; a hiking trail that starts behind the train station and loops round through forests back to the village. It takes around 3 hours and is reasonably flat.

There are also many other hikes signposted from the village that lead into the mountains and gorges of the Vallée du Var.

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Dining in Annot

The centre of Annot has a small collection of cafés, bars, bakeries and creperies. If you want to feel like a true local then head to the Café du Commerce beside the river and sip on a pastis whilst watching the locals play petanque.

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Getting Here

Directions

Annot is situated between Nice and Dignes-les-Bains and can most easily be reached on the Train des Pignes, a slow-moving but very scenic train ride through the Var valley.

If you're driving, Annot is on route D908 just off the RN202.

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