HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE
the form of a rectangle,
with parallel horizontal and perpendicular streets around a central
square, the village was situated at the northern limit of its commune.
The buildings on the edges of the rectangle served as ramparts and
there was a gate on each of the four sides. The village was placed next
to the abbey, close to the River Brague, and designed by Don Taxil,
prior of the abbey and a worker monk from the Lérins
monastery, which was then in charge of the Valbonne abbey.
village was created to provide homes for the workers needed
to farm the abbey's land. Don Taxil devised an original method of
funding, a Middle Ages version of a private finance initiative. He
advertised for private investors to build the houses of the village and
to purchase plots of land around it. These investors rented them out,
against payment in kind, to the peasants needed to work the land. They
were brought in from the hills further inland.
In an Act
of habitation, dated 13 October 1519, the meticulous and
cultivated Don Taxil spelled out in a document the rights and duties of
the new occupants of the village and also the required specifications
for the construction of the houses.
the same village, planned in such a rational way that exists, almost
the central square, to which was added arcades in the 17th Century,
five roads stretch between north and south and ten from east to west.
They were laid out at right angles to each other, each one about four
metres wide, in the form of a grid. This gives Valbonne, viewed from
the air, its characteristic appearance of a giant checkerboard.
disciplined pattern was applied to the plans for the houses. The ground
floor was to be used as a storeroom or a stable. Some of these rooms
are today partially below ground level because the surfaces of streets
have been raised. A narrow staircase mounted to the living room and
kitchen, with its open hearth for cooking, on the first floor. Floors
above contained the bedrooms and at the top of the house was the corn
loft to which supplies were hoisted by means of a pulley hanging on the
outside of the house. Some of these pulley wheels are still in place.
abbey church became the parish church. It had a bell tower added in the
19th Century which was not in accordance with the Chalaisian tradition.
The old town hall, near the centre of the village, was equipped with a
bell tower and a clock.
evidence dated 1609, it is known that in the village, or close to it,
there were a communal oven, the establishments of artisans and
tradesmen, and several mills that produced flour and olive oil. Nearby
plantations provided flax for weaving and hemp for making ropes and
sackcloth. Because of the need for watering, these were situated close
to the river.
the lack of a proper water supply that was a major problem for the
inhabitants of the new village, and would continue to be for a long
River Brague and a reservoir built by the monks provided the only water
for Valbonne. As the population grew, the sewage and waste water from
the village flowed downhill and contaminated the reservoir. During the
16th Century, a fountain and drinking trough were installed below the
village, supplied by a trickle of spring water. The privileged few
possessed wells, but the majority of people had to make do with the
inadequate supply from the river and the meagre flow from the spring.
It was only in 1836 that the "new
drinking fountain ", and next to it a trough for animals,
both still in place today, were put in place in front of the old town
the 16th Century, Valbonne has adopted a coat of arms of azure blue
bearing a golden palm frond. The same colours, mimosa yellow and iris
blue, are used to decorate the village for its annual winter festival
of Saint Blaise.