All about Tourrettes-sur-Loup

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Tourrettes-sur-Loup is known as the city of violets and not least for its dramatic location in the countryside between two large gorges and welcomes to medieval experiences.

Expectation rises as one passes the old aqueduct on the way to Tourrettes-sur-Loup
Expectation rises as one passes the old aqueduct on the way to Tourrettes-sur-Loup

Tourrettes-sur-Loup is one of the most well-preserved medieval towns in the region

Tourrettes-sur-Loup clings to the cliffs between two deep gorges and is located in a stunning landscape, a well-appointed resort for both cultural and active unfolding.

The City of Violets

Tourrettes-sur-Loup goes by the name of “City of Violets” and it is certainly not a coincidence. What the May rose and jasmine are for Grasse, it is the violet for Tourrettes-sur-Loup.

Basket of violettes from the museum
Violets are a big part of the identity of Tourrettes-sur-Loup

This flower has been grown for centuries and it is still one of the main activities in the city. The violet is celebrated every year in early March during a large-scale flower festival, which marks the end of the harvest. There is also a special museum for the violet, La Bastide aux Violettes, which provides an excellent insight into both the history and the production of these fine delicate fragrant flowers.

The history of Tourrettes-sur-Loup

Like many of the cities in the region, their history goes far back in time, so does Tourrettes-Sur-Loup. We have to go all the way back to the year 900 BC. when Celtic Ligurians settled in the area.

Later around the year 262 BC the Romans arrived and they were there until the year 476 BC. The name of the city dates from this period. The Romans regarded the place as a kind of lookout post, “turres altea” and thus the city got its name.

The city of Tourettes-sur-loup on steep cliffs seen from the cemetery
Tourrettes-sur-Loup seen from the Cemetery

After the Romans came the Saracens, who were expelled in the year 972.
In 1387 the town was handed over to Guichard Villeneuve, who kept it in the family until the French Revolution in 1789.

In the time leading up to the Revolution, the town was named Tourettes-lès-Vence and in 1894 the town was renamed Tourettes-Sur-Loup, partly to avoid confusion with the town of Tourettes-Levens and partly to indicate the city’s outer border to the Loup river.

The city behind the walls

Tourrettes-sur-Loup was a fortified town in the Middle Ages. There are still three vaulted passages, which lead under the houses and into the old town center. The old town is best described as one charming jumble. Nothing is the same, everything is different and there is no straight line anywhere in the city.

Grand Rue – the heart of the city

Surrounding the heart of the old town is the horseshoe-shaped Grand Rue, which is packed with art galleries and craft shops. There are a lot of artists living in the city, who here find the peace and inspiration they need.

In the center of the village is Château des Villeneuves from the 15th century, which today serves as a town hall, and which also houses various exhibitions throughout the year. The building also includes a watchtower with 11th-century roots and a small patio with a fountain.

Passage to the courtyard with a fountain and chateau Villenueve / the town hall in Tourettes-sur-loup
The courtyard with the small fountain in front of the town hall

TIP: You should park your car outside the city at the Madeleine / Ecole car park, as it can be quite impossible to find space inside the city during summer.

By Tommy Sverre – 2022

Gallery of Tourrettes-sur-Loup:

Facts about Tourettes-sur-Loup
Inhabitants: approx. 4.200
Altitude: 400 m
Airport: 15 km
Beach: 15 km
Nice: 21 km

Cities close by:
Vence 6 km
Saint-Paul de Vence 9 km
Grasse 20 km
Gourdon 21 km

Experiences in Tourrettes-sur-Loup
  • All
  • Aqueducts
  • Castles and palaces
  • Churches & chapels
  • Food & Wine
  • Hiking
  • Museums
  • Wash-houses
Castles and palaces

Domaine des Courmettes

Domaine des Courmettes is located at the foot of the Pic de Courmettes at an altitude of 850m and is a great starting point for ...
Churches & chapels

The sundial in church Saint-Grégoire

The sundial is recognized as one of the very first instruments that men used to measure the passage of time because of its simplicity.

Wash-house on Route de Vence

The wash-house in Tourrettes-Sur-Loup is located very centrally, in the town just off the main ...
Churches & chapels

The Church Saint-Grégoire

Cool in summer and warm in winter. Hospitable and peaceful. The parish church of the Provencal medieval village of Tourettes-sur-Loup always welcomes you...

The red olive mill wheel

The mills were powered by water from an aqueduct, which can still be seen today. It stretches in an arc over the old transport route ...
Churches & chapels

The Saint-Jean Chapel

The Saint-Jean chapel was built in 1674 and then destroyed by a hurricane in 1925. In 1959 the chapel was given new life thanks to ...

Hike Pié Martin

The Pié hike is a cozy and easy to moderate hike of 7.5 km. Starts in the center of Tourrettes-sur-Loup and takes you around the ...

Bastide aux Violettes

The museum allows you to discover the history of the Tourrettes, its terroir, all uses of the violet flower and to observe the cultivation methods ...

Recommended tours

Selected experiences in cities close to Tourrettes-sur-Loup
  • All
  • Churches & chapels
  • Markets
  • Museums
  • Viewpoints

Saint Elisabeth chapel

Saint Elisabeth chapel in Vence impresses with its rediscovered fresco paintings by Giovanni Canavesio, and its history dates back to the 14th century.
Saint-Paul de Vence

The Collegial Church

The 17th century marked the golden age of the church in Saint-Paul de Vence. Here, in 1666 the church was raised to the rank of ...
Saint-Paul de Vence

The Cemetery of Saint-Paul de Vence

The cemetery of Saint-Paul de Vence is one of the most visited cemeteries on the Côte d’Azur – here rests several celebrities – including Chagall, Escoffier ...
Saint-Paul de Vence

Célestin Freinet school

The famous schoolteacher and educator Célestin Freinet (1896-1966) taught in Saint-Paul de Vence between 1928 and 1933.
Saint-Paul de Vence

The Folon chapel – The White Penitents

Experience the admirable Folon Chapel, a design work of Jean-Michel Folon and learn more about an artist who had strong ties to Saint-Paul de Vence ...

The markets in Vence

A visit to the markets in Vence is a must if you really want to feel the character and authenticity of the city.

The Museum of Vence

The Musée de Vence / Fondation Émile Hugues is situated in the heart of the historic city center and is among the very popular sights ...

Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-la-Nativité

Here in the middle of the old medieval town of Vence you will find France’s smallest cathedral. Usually one expects cathedrals to be large and ...

Viewpoint – F. Moutet

From near and far you can see the Baou Mountains rising majestically on the horizon. Depending on from where one looks at the mountains, they ...
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