It all started in Pisa back in 68AD, when the Intendant of Emperor Nero’s Palace, Saint Torpès, was decapitated for refusing to denounce his Christian faith. His body was placed in a boat, as well as a cockerel and a dog. The boat followed the Ligurian current, eventually washed up on the piece of land where Saint-Tropez now lies (the town’s name is derived from “Saint Torpès”). The dog got out of the boat and headed towards Grimaud, while the cockerel settled in the Gulf countryside, right in the heart of a flax field, on which a future village was built. The name COGOLIN comes from “Coq au lin” (Cockerel in a flax [field]).
This may seem poetic, but the reality was a bit harsher, since Cogolin was built on a headland passing over a plane. This type of hill is called “cuquihon – couquihoun” in the provençal language, hence the name Cougoulin-Cogolin.
Like all neighbouring urban areas, the village was invaded by the Saracens and was placed under the control of the monks of the St’ Victor Abbey in Marseille, then later under that of the Templars and Knights of Malta. Cogolin was ransacked in 1578 by the people of Carcès in the midst of the French Wars of Religion, who were opposed to the future king Henri VI.
The intervention of Grimaud, Ramatuelle and Saint-Tropez brought an end to Ligurian attacks.
Cogolin asserted its status as a farming village in the 19th century.
Would you like to know more about the history of Cogolin? Please fellow your guide!
They will tell you everything about our long-standing village and its heritage. Tours take place at 10am every Thursday.
Walk in the footsteps of famous celebrities
Regardless of its name’s origin, the cockerel remains firmly etched in the hearts of the people of Cogolin. From back when it was just a small fishing hamlet all the way through to the present day, the village’s provençal roots have always been apparent in Cogolin. Cogolin has captivated many famous people, both artists inspired by the area in their work or big names who have visited the village as tourists.
The co-lord of Cogolin
- Jacques De Cuers (pronounced “Deh kerr”), Wing Commander of the King’s Army, whose family’s coat of arms, featuring three hearts (1621-1700), was worn by the armies of Louis XIV.
A highly acclaimed academic
- Jean Aicard, who liked to mix with the locals, mentioned our village many times in his famous novel “Maurin des Maures”, a friendly poacher in love with freedom.
A 19th century novelist
- Guy de Maupassant was fascinated by the Maures Maures during his stay in Cogolin, describing them as a bizarre “mountain range… an inconceivably wild land.”
A local artist, engraver and painter
- Héliodore Pisan, who rubbed shoulders with the painters Corot, Daumier, Daubigny, excelled in wood engraving in Paris and became the main engraver of Gustave Doré, portraying him better than most. He often stayed at his Cogolin farmhouse, whose tables now adorn the Village Hall.
A former elected representative of the Var department
- Georges Clemenceau, nicknamed “The Tiger”, stayed in this village many times during his fight for the rehabilitation of Captain Dreyfus, with the village’s main street bearing his name.
A World War II hero
- During Operation Dragon in August 1944, General de Lattre de Tassigny set up his command post in Cogolin, staying there for 48 hours, with the street that welcomed him now bearing his name.
A French screenwriter and director
“Bonjour sourire” (Hello Smile) with Henri Salvador, Louis de Funès and Jean Carmet; “The things in life” with Michel Piccoli and Romy Schneider
- Claude Sautet was inspired by the very colourful Cogolin in 1968, quickly deciding to buy a beautiful house in the long-standing village.