Greetings dear readers and friends. Fall is off to a lovely start in the south of France. Apart from a few thundershowers, we’ve had days full of sunshine and clear skies. Today I’m very happy to bring you a guest post from writer J. Christina – the author and creator of Scribbles and Smiles. A passionate traveler, she loves sharing her adventures around the world, with France being a place near and dear to her heart. A big merci to J. Christina, and I hope you enjoy this post about a beautiful village in the Alpes-Maritime département.
Gorbio, France is a perched medieval village, high-up above Menton, in the southeastern corner of the Côte d’Azur. This picturesque village seems to be perched atop a quiet little secret; hence it seems to be forgotten by tourists. As with other historic perched villages, Gorbio has an impressive view, 354 meters high above the Mediterranean Sea. In the craggy mountain side of the Alpes-Maritimes department of the French region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.
On arriving in Gorbio you will see the main square, the Place de la Rèpublic. It’s a traditional French village square, where people congregate to chat and exchange pleasantries over a café; a village where everyone knows everyone else. In this square, history is rich and runs deep, here we find a celebrated 300-year-old elm tree. It was planted in 1713, to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, returning the County of Nice to the sovereignty of the Duke of Savoy.
With only 300 residents in the village of Gorbio and 1000 total in the commune, it is an astonishing community of religious fêtes, festivals, and celebrations. One is the Procession des Limaces (Procession of Slugs), where after the olive harvest, snail shells are filled with olive oil and lit to illuminate the entire village on this night of festivities. It is where villagers celebrate the abundant olive harvest and await the processional through the village, led by the local priest, all the while giving thanks to the Virgin Mary.
Gorbio tugs at your heartstrings with its stunning views and medieval vaulted passageways that seem to lure you forward, for a closer peek inside. It’s a little storybook village with a beautiful history, lovely people, and the most charming maze of cobblestone lanes, and houses built from iconic stone, all festooned with flowers. Strolling the steep, winding stone paths of Gorbio, is an authentic experience. It’s a lived-in village, seemingly unchanged from ancient times, where centuries-old buildings and antiquities cascade throughout, i.e., the exotic fountain in the Place de la Mairie, built-in 1882, and the Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs de la Sainte Croix, built in 1445.
Surprisingly, the village has a Michelin-rated restaurant, Le Beau Séjour, owned by the Bracco family. The owners have captured the essence of French décor, in a canvas of French grey and linen white, permeating a romantic ambiance. The food is homemade with locally sourced ingredients, all composed from traditional recipes, such as rabbit, lamb, and fish; along with the not-to-be-missed apricot pie!
Truth is, there are many scattered hidden treasures along the Cote d’Azur; ranging from quaint outpost villages to a secluded hide-away, to ancient ruins, or a village steeped in history. Discovering places serendipitously is the pleasure of travel.
Tourism: Gorbio, France
Transportation: Zest Bus Line: Bus 7 from Menton – shuttle bus- 22-25 passengers
Restaurant: Le Beau Séjour (cash only-March–October lunch only//July-August lunch & dinner-*closed every Wednesday)
J. Christina is the author and owner of Scribbles and Smiles. Christina (Christie) is married to John, a.k.a. Mr. Christie. Where Mr. Christie is right on board with their travel jaunts around the world sharing in their blogging endeavor – hence, their bespoke pen name, J. Christina.
After many years of intrepid travel, they thoughtfully opened their treasure-trove of European travelogues, artfully sharing with a worldwide audience. Intentionally sharing the joie de vivre through their words and images, so others can travel vicariously.