From the Sainte-Baume massif to the Var seaside, the Vallée du Gapeau (the Gapeau Valley) holds its secrets away from the hustle and bustle. Nature and water will provide moments of fulfillment. Wandering through these classically Provencal lands in whichever way you desire is greatly pleasurable no matter what season …
La Vallée du Gapeau
At the base of the Sainte-Beaume massif and a few kilometres from the Var beaches, the ‘Comminaité de communes de la Vallée du Gapeau’ (regional authority) unfolds its charms and territory from up the highlands down to the vast plain of the south, from Aiguilles de Valbelle to Mount Coudon …
In 1799, the ancient territory of Solliès split into 4 different villages (Solliès-Ville, Solliès-Pont, Solliès-Toucas and Solliès-Farlède). today, the Vallée du Gapeau unites those villages and the small picturesque village of Belgentier, serving as a link between the Mediterranean and Provence. These 5 towns form a mosaic of landscapes harmoniously orchestrated around the waters of the river. Each of them adding their own characteristic features, creating a unique combination of authenticity, tradition, growth and modernity.
The Gapeau river
From its source in Signes, the Gapeau runs between wooded hills and state-owned forests through the upper valley. It crosses vineyards, olive trees and fig trees of the agricultural plain and reaches the old salt marshes of Hyères and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. This little-known river has shaped the destiny of the lands, fostering the expansion of traditional agriculture and industrial activities. The living memory of the land flows for 47.5 km. The Gapeau – an oasis of freshness in summer – offers its wild charms in all seasons with its impetuous waters bordered by alders, oaks, poplars, fig trees, and mimosas.
The Gapeau is non-navigable. Swimming is forbidden and fishing is regulated.
Fig growing in Solliès
A legendary Mediterranean tree, the fig tree has been part of the Provencal landscape since antiquity. Robust but sun-loving, it thrives in Vallée du Gapeau, where the geological and meteorological conditions are ideal. The farming of this emblematic fruit has made Solliès-Pont and its region a land of excellence. Although 15 villages have been carefully cultivating the famous ‘Figue de Solliès’ – recognised as a PDO since 2011 – ¾ of the production of the delicious “Violette de Solliès” actually come from Solliès-Pont, the capital. Actively protected by the fig federation, the reputation of this designation is based on the precision and know-how of the farmers as well as the catering professions which master all the gourmet variations.
Olive oil of Provence and the “Belgentiéroise”
The olive tree is one of the great gifts of the land and its ancestral culture is anchored in the local landscape. On hillsides, terraces or plains, the silvery foliage of this Mediterranean tree blends with the Provencal land of the valley which preserves one of the most beautiful olive groves in the region. Known for its production of ‘olive oil of Provence’, the quality label ‘AOC’ covers the the 5 villages of Vallée du Gapeau, a territory that is also valued for its famous ‘Belgentiéroise’, a very specific local variety: green table olives with firm flesh and a delicious taste of sunshine and conviviality when the time comes for a drink!