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The Lavandou history


The roman empire mentioned between the port of Fréjus and the one of Pomponiana (harbour of Giens ) 3 places from East to West: Sinus Sambracitanus (Saint-Tropez ), Heraclea Caccabaria (Cavalaire ) and Alconis ( harbour of Bormes ). It is more probably, not far from the Lavandou, in Cavalière bay, that the Greeks built Alconis, a luxury residence and the favourite place of the Latin people on this "VAR" coast.

1376 The person who became known as Catherine of Siena, was shipping to Rome with the Avignon pope, Grégoire XI, when a strong storm obliged the ship to remain in the port of Sanary. The Holy Father refused to unship and continued in spite of the danger. Catherine pursued her way on the land and came back to Toulon where she did a miracle. Escorted by the grateful population up to the doors of the town, she embarked in the Lavandou where the papal galley had probably been.

1481 The king Louis XI was seriously ill in his castle of Plessis-lès-Tours. His doctor, Mr. Coittier didn’t know what to do.

The king charged one of his faithful, Guinot of Bussières, to go and bring back the Calabrian hermit François of Paule, famous for his miracles. In front of the Holy Father, the king of Naples and the king Louis XI, this latter accepted. He left Paterne for a royal ship in Ostie. However, unable to unship in Marseille because of the plague, he did a U turn and landed in the Lavandou in 1482 with two religious and messengers of the French king. The saint, leaving his ship, walked on a rock on the surface of water, leaving behind him the prints of his foot and his pilgrim stick. (It is what it is said locally).

This relic located at a few meters from the castle was covered by the sand and in 1955 it disappeared under the building of the seafront path. But before pursuing his journey, the Saint went to Bormes and freed it from the plague.

1524 the troops of the High Constable of Bourbon going towards Toulon besieged in front of the castles of Bormes and Brégançon and ravaged the surroundings of our city.

1529 Just like in 730 and in 1393, the corsairs loot and burnt the region of Bormes. Ten years later the fleet of Charles Quint conducted by the Genoese admiral André Doria destroyed the little that the Berbers left behind.

1674 The word the "Lavandou" is already mentioned in the departmental archives of Draguignan.

The parochial registers give some elements about the evolution of the population. In 1831 there were 146 inhabitants and in 1906: 776. In 2001 > than 5300 inhabitants. The small hamlet lives essentially on fishing and that is close to 150 « pescadous » from Genoese and Catalan origins that are in activity. In 1706, an English and Dutch fleet composed of 66 vessels and 34 transports, conducted by Showel admiral remained between Bagaud islet and Bénat cape. Then, followed a period of relative tranquillity, until the revolution. The Lavandou and his surroundings were not spared.

1794 A man named Bonaparte, artillery general, unknown at the time, inspected the batteries of the Lavandou and Brégançon.

1881 In 1913, creation of the National corporation of rescuer in the Lavandou. The Lavandou becomes independent from Bormes. The law claiming the Lavandou as autonomous was promulgated by the President Raymond Poincaré on the 25th of May 1913.

1914-1918 The World War I with all its horror and massacres killed several children in the Lavandou. All their names are forever engraved in the marble of the war memorial in the Heroes square.

1926 Creation of the first tourist office, on the 20th of October 1926 by M. Emile Merlange.

1939-1945 Marins, Soldiers or Resistant, the inhabitants of the Lavandou took part in this war fighting against the enemy on the seas, the oceans, the front and in the "maquis".

On November 6, 1942, the general Giraud driven by a native fisher clandestinely embarked aboard an English submarine « the Seraph » which was waiting for him at less than a mile from La Fossette. All the passengers landed in Gibraltar.

On the 8th of November, English, American and French free forces free landed in Northern Africa.

On November 11, 1942, German and Italian troops invade the area. On the 12th , the Italian soldiers and the Ovra arrived in the Lavandou. In October 1943, the German army and their police occupy the city. The repression is tough and a large number of the inhabitants, (resistant of the 1st company of the F.T.P. of Provence « Maures brigade »), are deported.

In the night of the 14th to the 15th of August 1944 , at midnight, the troops of Africa commandoes landed near the Lavandou and climbed the rocks of the cape Nègre under the murderous shootings of the ennemy. The Provence landing began.

Africa commandoes are the firsts to put the foot on the French land, helped and guided by the local resistants. A short time later, the French and allied troops landed on our seashores.





Description given in heraldry: 

« Parti à dextre de gueules au lion d’or, lampassé et vilené de gueules, surmonté d’une couronne d’or, accompagné en chef et en pointe d’une burelle vivrée d’azur et à senestre d’azur à trois dauphins d’argent rangés en pal.
L’écu timbré d’une couronne maçonnée et tourelée d’or ». The Lavandou coat of arms was created in 1950 by the mayor, M. Marius DORIE.

Description in heraldry given by M. Gérard Tomasetti, member of Fribourg (Switzerland) Heraldry institute.



The city of the Lavandou is 99 years old !

At the beginning, the Lavandou was a neighbourhood of Bormes but in 1909 it became obvious that the Lavandou should have its autonomy. The Council of State adopted the bill and claimed on the 20th of February 1913 that the LAVANDOU was independent. This law, passed on the 27th of March by the Chamber of deputies and adopted by the senate on May 20, was promulgated by the president Raymond Poincaré, on the 25th of May 1913.

After a long process which had started in 1909, the Lavandou eventually acquired its autonomy from the city of Bormes.

The government separated of the city of Bormes all the territory from Gouron in the west, to the Fontalde torrent in Pramousquier, in the East and the North of the Mole river, that is to say, about 2975 hectares.

The Origins of the name the Lavandou


From the word Lavadou to the Lavandou !

At first, the word « Lavandou », makes us think about the « lavender ». This sounds logical since the words "lavender" and "Lavandou" are very similar. Indeed, a variety of lavender grows on the Maures hill: the Lavandula Stoechas also called in Provençal : Queirélé.

70 years ago, the Provençal was the only language spoken in our village. How can we come from the word "Queirélé" to the name of the Lavandou? It is in 1674 that the name first appeared, in the departmental archives of Draguignan. It became common use with the book « Le Trésor du Félibrige » written by Frédéric MISTRAL, a great Provençal writer and poet who won the literature Nobel prize in 1904. You can read at page 195 in his second volume: Lavadou, LAVANDOU (Var): Synonym of the word « Lavoir », the place where the linen is washed and beaten.

Le Lavendour, vent d'est "lévent dur".

The Lavandou town hall owns a painting made by Charles Ginoux that represents the Lavandou hamlet in 1736. You can see in the foreground the washing place where the fishermen’s wife washed their linen on big flat stones.