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Valbonne - History And Charm
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© Christine Till
Located in the center of the large Jurassic plateau, the town of Valbonne meets several geographical areas. The climate is Mediterranean, the sea being only 6 km away. However, this influence is mitigated by the maritime forest. The area is protected by hills from the cold winds that descend from the Alps. Rainfall is rare, but violent and abundant. The landscape consists of hills and small valleys, supports a vegetation dominated by Aleppo pine, holm oak and cork oak, accompanied by an undergrowth of woody plants, alongside olive groves and vineyards.
In 1519 Augustin de Grimaldi, Bishop of Grasse and abbot of Lerins, ordered that a village has to be built next to the abandoned Abbey of Sainte Marie de Valbonne to repopulate a country devastated by the plague since 1351. It is this village that has remained virtually unchanged until today. It is not a typical Provencal village built on a rocky spur and with narrow, steep and twisting streets. Rather, the old village of Valbonne was built on a flat area and according to a rectangular plan. All streets lead down to the Renaissance area "Place des Arcades" Arcades, which invites to a delightful lunch on one of the restaurant terraces under the azure sky of the French Riviera.
But Valbonne is not only a museum, it is a living pretty little town with international public and a balanced extent of main and second residences, a chic and residential address for the engineers and university people working in the nearby Sophia-Antipolis science park, as well as for researchers from all over the world, who purchase villas, country houses, bastides and old Provencal stone mas in Valbonne and the the surrounding areas.
December 10th, 2012
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