Guillaumes is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, a few kilometers north of Nice.
The village is located in the upper valley of the Var, on the edge of the Mercantour National Park.
It was founded in the Middle Ages (10th century) by William II, Count of Provence, who was at war in the region against the Saracens and had noted the interest of the site in terms of strategy. A real castle is erected on a spur dominating the village at the beginning of the thirteenth century by its descendant Raymond Béranger and a donjon added by King René at the end of the fifteenth century, before fortifications were consolidated by Vauban in the seventeenth.
A commercial and pastoral village, linked to France with the county of Nice in 1860, Guillaumes is experiencing a new development in the 20th century with the foundation of the ski resort of Valberg, part of the ski area of which is located on its territory. The first tracks date from 1936 but Valberg develops essentially from the 1960s.
The charm of the old village (about 700 inhabitants) dominated by the remains of the castle, its heritage and its rich environment of high mountains (in terms of geology and biodiversity) make it a popular tourist destination in all seasons.
Several major buildings must be included in a village tour.
This is the case of the parish church of Saint-Etienne (13th century), on the old main square. Constructed of blue-gray stones, it was enlarged in the 17th century. From the medieval church remain the Romanesque-Lombard style pyramidal bell tower and Romanesque bays. It is necessary to dwell on the stained glass windows of Art Deco style, made in 1931, evoking scenes of the New Testament transposed in the decor of the village.
Dismantled in the 18th century, the castle which now gives all its cachet to the village is typical of fortified sites of the Middle Ages.
It is possible to better understand the local history by making a stop at the laundry, located on the site of the former Saint-Jacques hospital and the common house. Rebuilt, it reveals a permanent exhibition which retraces the great hours of Guillaumes.
At Notre-Dame-du-Buëy, an ex-priory outside the old fortifications. It dates from the 12th century but was redesigned in the 17th century. Inside the church there is an ex-voto representing the burning of the city on the night of August 22, 1682.
Still outside the medieval heart of the village, still to be seen, the Bridge of the Bride that overlooks the Var of 80 meters. Formerly borrowed by a tramway, it was the theater at the beginning of the twentieth century of a news item. A couple on a honeymoon went to visit the gorges in the evening. The man returned to the village, distraught, explaining that his wife, deceived by the darkness, had jumped from the tramway bridge. Another version of what has become a legend claims that the young victim would have jumped by herself, desperate by a forced marriage when she was in love with another young man... The site is now popular with jumping enthusiasts To the elastic.
Back in the village, it is advisable to visit the Museum of Arts and Traditions which traces the daily life of inhabitants in the nineteenth century (classroom, reconstruction of an interior, evocation of agricultural and craft work). Free or guided visits by appointment on +33 4 93 05 57 76.
For a guided tour of the village and its main assets, contact +33 4 93 02 68 61.
In terms of natural heritage, the treasures of the Red Gorges (due to the colors of the rocks) are now protected and enhanced by the Regional Natural Reserve of the Gorges de Daluis, created in 2012, which includes the territories of Guillaumes and the village Of Daluis. Open from 9 am to 5 pm on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and public holidays and from 9 am to 6 pm every day during the holidays, the Maison des Gorges Rouges offers exhibitions and activities. You will find all the information (maps and brochures) to better understand this rich geological jewel.
Guillaumes is also suitable for many hiking and cycling tours. Maps and information on the difficulties (reliefs) along the routes with the +33 4 93 02 68 61. For circuits including a part of the Mercantour Park and its exceptional biodiversity, please call +33 4 93 03 23 15.
In winter, the Valberg resort offers 90 km of pistes, 23 ski lifts, making the happiness of a family (alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing...). In summer, mountain biking, sledge, adventure course, swimming pool, golf course and of course hikes are on the program. For further information, please call +33 4 93 23 24 25.
The fishermen, finally, have on Guillaumes and its surroundings many sites where to exercise their passion. Information on +33 4 93 02 68 61.
The second Saturday of June, flower fair.
On the third Sunday of June, the lights of Saint John.
The last Sunday of June, the festival of transhumance.
The weekend after July 14, night of the Templars (in the village): medieval encampment, costumed procession, procession... Numerous animations.
The second Saturday of July, summer visitors' fair.
The 3rd Sunday of July, book festival.
Finally, every Sunday morning, a market offers products from Provence and the mountains.