A little history of Gréoux-les-Bains castle
Near the river Verdon, there’s a small village with its castle at the top... welcome to Gréoux-les-Bains! Les Bains ("bathes"), because people used to do balneology here, since ages. Romans came here near the hot springs (between 20 and 30 degrees)! They dedicated them to the nymph of Gréoux, nymphis grisellicis, from gresum which means "pain" and lin "water". The water against the pain? Maybe... Anyway, even Napoleon’s sister, Pauline, came in 1805!
Templars in Gréoux?
But let's get back to our point: they call it the Templars castle because according to some documents, this order owned the place in the 12th century. Oh, it’s only a legend, actually, because it’s wrong: Templars really came in Provence in the beginning of the 12th century, but they never lived in Gréoux...
The fortified castle
The story began in 1324, when Arnaud de Trian became lord of Gréoux: knights of Saint-John Hospitallers (who had been the owner for 20 years) gave it to him. So, between the 12th and the 14th century, the keep and the main building were raised. Come on, let’s just imagine a rectangle about 50 metres long... the fortress itself, a true stone monster! Here, we had the square keep, and there, the huge main building with in the middle a huge inner courtyard. Add to this huge ramparts... In 1379, Gréoux fell to Glandeves family, then in the beginning of the 18th century to the d’Audiffret. Jérôme d’Audiffret made a huge restoration in his castle, repairing roofs and façades, opening vast windows and refitting the rooms; they said he even remade every lock to every door! But the Revolution came... the castle was abandoned and damaged. Fortunately, it was listed as a Historical Monument in 1840. Nowadays, you can visit it on summer, they make cultural exhibitions in the inner courtyard or in the vaulted rooms...