Le Castellet is a very beautiful medieval Provençal village with a more than 2000 years long, rich history. The Celts first settled here a few centuries BC. Later, the local settlements were invaded by the Romans, barbarians, and the Saracens.
In 1212 the village territory came under rule of the mighty House of Baux. In 1426 – of the House of Anjou, in 1629 – of the family of Lombard, which ruled here until the French Revolution in 1789.
After 1789, the village went through a decline. Heraldic flags were destroyed, the church windows were bricked. The castle was sold to four local inhabitants, who established an olive oil mill and a school there.
A new period of Le Castellet history has started in 1923. In order to make the village more attractive to tourists, an appointed by the city council expert launched the village rebuilding, based on its unique geographic location.
The village has gained additional popularity due to Paul Ricard (a person who is also known to be the first who commercialized Pastis, a famous French liquor, in 1932). Paul Ricard built a motorsport race track the Circuit Paul Ricard (opened in 1970) near Le Castellet. The Circuit Paul Ricard hosted 14 Formula One World Championship French Grand Prix races from 1971 to 1990; 13 Motorbike French Grand Prix races from 1973 to 1999; 22 Bol d’Or races from 1980 to 1999.
In 2016, it was announced that the Circuit Paul Ricard would host the French Grand Prix, returned to the Formula One calendar for the 2018 season. Very cool!!!
Winemaking is a significant part of the village life. It is located in the heart of a famous Bandol wine valley. Thousands hectares of vines form a unique landscape. The valley is protected by the Sainte-Baume ridge, from the one side, and by the Mediterranean coast, from the other side. Due to a unique climate, white, red and especially rosé wines are considered to be one of the best in France. You will remember their special light taste for a long time.
I highly recommend you to combine visiting Le Castellet with visiting one (or several) local wineries (domains). In this way, you will be able to fully feel the charm and traditions of this region.