Ideally located in an agricultural plain between the massifs of Siou-Blanc and the Maures, the commune of Solliès-Pont has 11 500 inhabitants. The demography of the commune has considerably changed in recent years. Its ideal positioning, its topography and its quietude make it a popular commune.
Historically, Solliès-Pont is an agricultural commune: the cultivation of the cherry then later on the cultivation of the fig has made its reputation.
The star of Solliès-Pont
The Forbins’s Castle
The Forbins of Solliès, co-lords of the community, owned the castle until the Revolution; it was plundered and burned down in 1792. The counts of Saporta, the heirs of the Forbins, restored it in 1880 and sold it in 1913 to M.Lucien Fontaine. He set it up as a farm. Dr. Henry Aubin bought it in 1956 to establish a famous infantile neuropsychiatric clinic.
The castle and its park became communal properties in 1998.
The main body of the castle is flanked by two round towers and two square towers. The façade of the main body and the four towers are plated with solid bricks in 1880; the entire restored roof was covered with Anger slate in 2007. It now houses the services of the town hall, the tourist office and the exhibition halls.
In spite of its rapid development, the commune has kept in its center the charm of the village of yesteryear in which you can stroll, walk through its very nice and shaded place where you can refresh to one of its beautiful fountains or its terraces of coffee.
During your walk, you will be able to discover St Jean Baptiste church and the superb castle of the 16th century which now houses the Townhall, the Tourist office and Exhibition Halls. A beautiful walk is to be made in the public park that surrounds it. 2 circuits marked with explanatory plates will allow you to discover the current or past patrimony of the commune. (Visiting document available at the Tourist office)
Water and culture
Thanks to the presence of the Gapeau and of the work of our elders, the commune has an important network of canals allowing the irrigation of the fields and the supply of fountains and some old houses.
The pond of the park of the Castle is notably fed by these canals.
A bit of history
Solliès-Pont is located at the outlet of the Gapeau, a river that was going to profoundly mark the identity of the commune and make it prosperous by the quality of its alluviums favorable to the culture and hydraulic power of its waters used by many mills. It has also made possible the irrigation of the agricultural plain by a rich network of watering canals. It is from “Solliès la haute ville”, perched village built in the Gallo-Roman era, that was born the hamlets of Pont, Toucas, and Saint-Jean called la Farlède. The Solliès territory forms only one set of until 19 Germinal year VII (April 8 1799), where it is divided in four communes which today bear the names of Solliès-Ville, Solliès-Pont, Solliès-Toucas and la Farlède. The name of Solliès-Pont evokes sunny terraces. Over the years, we find the names Solarium, Solaris, Soleris in Latin, Soler, in Romance. The name of this village in the 17th century “Bourg du Pont de Solliès” marked its liberation from Solliès-la-ville, the fief of the Forbin, that concretised the creation of a new parish.
The history of Solliès-Pont thus began in 1468 when Jean de Beauvau sold the seigniory of Solliès on 16 September to Palamède de Forbin, second president of the Court of Auditors in Aix. Hamlet grouped around the bridge on the Gapeau, Solliès-Pont develops in the 16th century when the Forbin leave the heights of Toucas and set up their castle in Solliès-Pont. The agglomeration then began to develop and became strategically important, thanks to the construction of several dams that will allow the construction and operation of mills (oil, wheat) and a network of many watering canals and will facilitate the irrigation of the 400 hectares of the agricultural plain. La Rue de la République, so named in 1880, after being successively royal road, then imperial road, was going to structure the development of the commune. An integral part of the RN 97 and long main axis of North-South traffic between Toulon and Nice, our main street has witnessed many episodes of our history. Thus, the imperialists borrowed it when they devastated Provence, during the war of succession of Austria led by Louis XIV who himself went through it at the beginning of his reign, as did his ancestor Saint Louis who embarked at Hyères at the head of the 8th Crusade.
Closer to us, General Bonaparte borrowed it to join the army which, under his command, was going to be illustrated during the campaign of Italy. Finally, more recently, when the city was liberated in August 1944, the Rue de la République was the scene of very violent fighting between the German troops and the soldiers of the 6th RTS of the French 1st Army which caused significant damage, including the destruction of two bridges on 17 August 1944, which were to be rebuilt in 1945.
Solliès-Pont is the homeland of Marine engineer Antoine Groignard, builder of the first basins of the Toulon arsenal (1726-1798), Nicolas Hilarion Allègre, ex-voto painter, Jean-Joseph Rigouard, Constitutional bishop of Var (1735-1800), Gaspar Amédée Gardanne, general of the Empire, Joseph Lazare Simeon Prat (1808-1894), sailor on the “Silène”, and of the Provencal poet Jean-Baptiste Célestin Sénès called La Sinse, and even of a King of Corsica: Emmanuel Arène. We also keep the memory of Francis Joseph Pey, a happy martyr of 1792, beatified by Pius XI on October 17, 1926, of Felix Pey (1772-1836), whose retirement home is named after him and Joseph Charles Terrin, whose name is found in local toponymy. In the midst of olive trees, vineyards and flowers, Sollies-Pont sits on the Gapeau River.