You reach Cotignac by rolling through a valley of vines, olive
trees and pines in the lush, water-happy countryside of La Provence Verte. The D13 road dips and Cotignac appears, pushing against a tufa cliff.
On the rectangular square cours Gambetta, huge platanus trees line up behind the two hundred year-old fontaine des Quatre-Saisons.
Local cafes fill up their water carafes from the fountain's cool drinking water. On each side of the street, boutiques and cafés slow your step. Cotignac can not be rushed.
Chez Paulette, you purchase a pound of nails just for the pleasure of entering the old dreamy blue store. You swing by rue de la Victoire to the honey boutique Les Ruchers du Bessillon where Fabienne and Laurence's family traditions of apiculture date back to the late 1800's. They offer you a taste of the shop's many flowery honeys. You melt with the sweet tinge of lavander honey.
You stroll down Grand' rue towards the Place de la Mairie and snoop into more shops: a kilim rug store that glows in reds and browns, a dash of boulangeries, antique stores full of china, boutis and secrets.
You walk by the Mairie and head up the Promenade du Rocher that leads you part-way up the 80-meters-high and 400-meters-long fence of tufa.
The natural wall appears ghostly, like thick rounded roots hanging under oak trees. You hike closer to discover troglodyte caves where locals hid their food supplies during the region's turbulent times of invasions and pillages.
Two small towers from the 12th and 13th centuries stand atop the cliff. To take a closer look outside the towers, extract yourself from Cotignac and head north on the D13 road - veer left just after Cotignac into the Chemin des Tours.
For an additional treat, head up D13 north and then D22 to Sillans-la-Cascade about 7 km north east of Cotignac, and hike down its refreshing water fountain.
Office de Tourisme
2 rue Bonnaventure, Cotignac
Tel : 04 94 04 61 87 - Fax : 04 94 04 61 87
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Les Rûchers du Bessillon
Closed Sunday afternoon and Monday
Shop: 5, rue de la Victoire, Cotignac
Tel : 04 94 77 75 69
Le Temps de Pose
11 place de la Mairie, Cotignac
Tel : 04 94 77 72 07
Kilims & Jarres
20 Grand Rue, Cotignac
Tel: 04 94 04 74 67
Map of Cotignac