Le Plan-de-la-Tour

The history

In the Middle Ages, the population was concentrated in the fortified settlements of San Peïre and Pétiache. It was not until the 13th and 14th centuries, after the monks of Thoronet secured the territory, that the local people started to progressively move from the highest points in the area to the plains.

Connected to the municipality of La Garde-Freinet, the village of Le Plan-de-la-Tour separated from its neighbour in 1970, officially becoming a municipality in its own right on 26 May 1792.

The Mines

The mining of silver, lead, zinc and graphite in the area dates back to Antiquity, particularly to Roman times, since the Romans were already using lead and silver to make coins.

The population of Le Plan-de-la-Tour rose significantly between 1840 and 1900 following the arrival of foreign miners, who came to the area to work down the mines between Les Martins and the hamlet of Vallaury. Together, these mines are composed of 3.7 km of underground tunnels.

None of the mines are in use today.

Cork-making was the area’s main industrial activity back in the day, a high-volume and lucrative endeavour in our village. In 1883, there were seven cork factories in our municipality.

Cork was harvested between early June and mid-August.

An experienced harvester could collect between 800 and 1,000 kg of cork a day.

From the 19th century until the 1930s, the breeding of silk worms (bombyx mori) became highly significant in Le Plan-de-la-Tour, with a spinning mill and eight embossers installed by 1896. This also explains why many mulberry trees were planted in the local area.

Almost all of the families who lived in the village raised silkworms (magnan in the Provençal language) and had a room dedicated exclusively to this practice, which was very lucrative.


  • Léon Spariat, the abbot, musician, provençal poet and member of the Félibrige, a literary and cultural association aimed at promoting the Occitan language, wrote many works in Provençal, including “Tintourleto” in Le Plan-de-la-Tour.
  • Jean Aicard, a famous academic, also admired Le Plan-de-la-Tour. The hotel owner featured in a chapter of his famous novel “Maurin de Maures”, Monsieur Jouve, is largely inspired by Monsieur Pin, a colourful character and well-renowned hotel owner in the region, who welcomed many celebrity guests at the time, including writers, politicians and actors.
  • Aristide Fabre, a great friend of Jean Aicard, was passionate about provençal archeology and wrote many famous works
  • Georges Clemenceau, nicknamed the “Tiger” and “Father the Victory” (“Le Tigre” and “Père la Victoire” respectively in French). A commemorative plaque in the restaurant lobby mentions the fact that he visited the village on many occasions.
  • Totally captivated by the village, Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Vanessa Paradis are just two of the many illustrious, modern-day celebrities to have lived in Le Plan-de-la-Tour.

Many French actors, artistic directors and directors have visited the village 

  • Marc Cassot filmed “Vertige pour un tueur” (Vertigo for a Killer) in the village in 1970.
  • François Truffaut, who stayed at the Médost estate, filmed many scenes of the nouvelle-vague film “Jules et Jim” in Le Plan-de-la-Tour alongside Jeanne Moreau.
  • José Giovanni filmed many scenes from “la Scoumoune” (“Rotten Luck”) in the village in 1971 with Jean Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon.
  • Philippe Condroyer also filmed “Madame le Juge” (Your Honour) in Le Plan-de-la-Tour with Simone Signoret
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