Since 1981, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie has been ranked among the Most Beautiful Villages in France. It has an exceptional history and heritage .
Provencal village of character
Its architecture, its alliances of water and stone, pastel tones shape a homogeneous and living architectural ensemble. The sweetness of life that emanates from it naturally encourages us to respect and value this place, to discover it and protect it. The work of the land, perpetrated for centuries, is the link between the history and the future of the village. Provençal village of character, its history dates back to the 5th century, when the monks of Lérins occupied the village and founded a monastery. Classified among the most beautiful villages in France, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie can also count on two of its monuments classified as historical monuments.
Architectural and natural curiosities
The parish church
Classified as a historical monument in 1913, the church proudly displays its Lombard bell tower, one of the most beautiful in Provence. Dating from the 12th century, it was one of the three moving bell towers recorded in Europe. Three semicircular vaulted chapels, later, open onto this nave. Pierre de Pratis, commendatory prior, ordered in 1336 the enlargement of the church; the axis of the nave was not respected and we do not know if the prior wanted to incline the choir in the direction of Jerusalem or recall the position of the head of Christ on the cross. The current altar is a fourth century sarcophagus in white marble representing the passage of the Red Sea. »
The Chapel of Our Lady of Beauvoir
After climbing the 262 steps (formerly 365) of a stone staircase on the hillside, you arrive at the chapel overlooking the village. The seven oratories that lined the path gave way in 1860 to the fourteen Stations of the Way of the Cross, decorated much later with earthenware tiles made by Simone Garnier. The small chapel was built at the end of the 12th century on the remains of a Marian temple built in the 5th century. Like some other chapels of the Alpine arc, the sanctuary of Notre Dame de Beauvoir is known for its “suscitations”. In the 17th century, stillborn children came back to life there, the time of their baptism, thus reaching heaven. The chapel of Notre-Dame de Beauvoir was classified as a Historic Monument in 1921. The Chapel of Saint Anne Built in the 16th century with stones from the towers and ramparts that protected the Paillerols district, this small chapel houses the village cemetery. The aqueduct Straddling the Adou to distribute water from the source to the mills located downstream, this vestige now only serves as a testimony to the irrigation systems. The walls The cliffs on which the village is built and those dominating it formed natural lines of defence, but Moustiers also protected itself behind ramparts as for many villages, built in the Middle Ages. The fountains Like any typical Provençal village, the alleys of Moustier are home to drinking water fountains where thirsty men and animals came to drink. The squares are equipped with magnificent washhouses which once housed the washerwomen.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie Tourist Office: 04 92 74 67 84 – http://www.moustiers.fr