Formerly known as Bois-gency, the present-day aspect of the village is typically Provencal, its narrow streets, vaulted tunnels, its old houses with iron doors framed by carved stones, testify to a rich past. Belgentier is often mentioned among the most beautiful villages of the Var.
Belgentier is a charming little village on the Gapeau River. It is surrounded by a massif of hills planted with olive trees, pines and oaks which form a green setting. When arriving at the village, you won’t be able to miss the trompe l’oeil fresco that dresses the back of the church. Walking through Belgentier, you will discover fine narrow cobbled streets, connected by covered and vaulted passages. The ancient houses with doors framed by carved stones make appear the stamp of this small village.
We feel here that the inhabitants seek to beautify their village: the windows are generously flowered, the shutters and facades harmoniously colored…The whole of the old village really has a lot of charm.
Around Belgentier, The hills protect and shelter the village from the cold winds of winter while preserving a little coolness in the summer.
Belgentier saw the birth of an olive variety with a unique taste: The belgentière. It was the first variety recognized by the INRA as a table olive. Ideal for confectionery, it’s a big olive, with tender flesh, which can be harvested very early, generally at the end of August.
Other well-known varieties are also conserved in Belgentier: notably lapicholine, lucques and grossane. These traditionally prepared olives are the guarantee of fame; they have won numerous medals in regional and national competitions, rewarding this know-how. The olive cellar located in the heart of the village will allow you to discover these specialties.
An industrial history
It is as a reward for his contribution to the escape of the Maures from la Garde Freinet, that the Viscount of Provence receives the domain of Belgentier towards the eleventh century, when the first Carthusians founded their convent of Montrieux le Vieux. When in 1285, the Bishop of Marseille authorizes the manufacture of glass to the Carthusians, these soon brought a certain prosperity to the Belgentieris.
The 17th century marks the rise of the village thanks to the canals that favor the cultivation and the installation of industries such as paper mills and tanneries. From 1801 to the late 90’s, tanneries produced leather often tied to the needs of the army. The buildings of the former Arnaud tannery are today rehabilited in housing and hosts the communal school.
The 20th century is an era of transition for the village, industries have closed and the cultures remain marginal today, and only the culture of the olive is preparing a serene future thanks to a high-quality production.
Belgentier has many vestiges of its rich industrial past.
The famous character
Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc was born in 1580 in Belgentier.
This savant and humanist was naturalist, archaeologist, astronomer, philosopher… which earned him the nickname “prince of the curious”. This inventive man has embellished his family home and created a magnificent botanical garden that can still be seen today. Its scheduling served as a model for the Orangery of the Palace of Versailles. His various trips to the four corners of Europe enabled him to meet the illustrious men of his time: Richelieu, Rubens, Louis XIII, Galileo…
Dead in 1637, he is now forgotten by the general public despite the richness and the quality of its work.
Still visible, the “Peiresc Castle” dates from the 17th century. This beautiful house includes a large aromatic garden developed by Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc. King Louis XIV stayed there in 1660, accompanied by his court, including Cardinal Mazarin and the musketeer D’Artagnan.