Gorbio: A Perched Medieval Village in the Alpes-Maritimes

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All blog posts are based on our personal travels around Europe, penned by J. Christina.

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Scribbles and Smiles by J. Christina
                                             Gorbio, France                                         Photo Credits: Jacques Dufrenoy

Gorbio, France is a perched medieval village, high-up above Menton, in the southeastern corner of the Côte d’Azur. This picturesque village seems to be perched atop a quiet little secret, hence it seems to be forgotten by tourists. As with other historic perched villages, Gorbio has an impressive view, 354 meters high above the Mediterranean Sea. 

On arriving in Gorbio you will see the main square, the Place de la République. It’s a traditional French village square, where people congregate to chat and exchange pleasantries over a café; this is a village where everyone knows everyone else. In this square, history is rich and runs deep, here we find a celebrated 300-year-old elm tree. It was planted in 1713, to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, returning the County of Nice back to the sovereignty of the Duke of Savoy.

With only 300 residents in the village of Gorbio, and 1000 total in the commune, it is an astonishing community of religious fêtes, festivals and celebrations. One is the Procession aux Limaces (Procession of Slugs), where after the olive harvest, snail shells are filled with olive oil and lit to illuminate the entire village on this night of festivities. It is where villagers celebrate the abundant olive harvest and await the processional through the village, led by the local Priest, all-the-while giving thanks to the Virgin Mary.

Scribbles and Smiles by J. Christina
Streets of Gorbio, France                          

Gorbio tugs at your heart strings with its stunning views and medieval vaulted passageways that seem to lure you forward, for a closer peek inside. It’s a little storybook village with a beautiful history, lovely people, and the most charming maze of cobblestone lanes, and houses built from iconic stone, all festooned with flowers. Strolling the steep, winding stone paths of Gorbio is an authentic experience. It’s a lived-in village, seemingly unchanged from ancient times, where centuries old buildings and antiquities cascade throughout, i.e., the exotic fountain in the Place de la Mairie, built in 1882, and the Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs de la Sainte Croix, built in 1445.

The village has a Michelin rated restaurant, Le Beau Séjour, owned by the 4th generation Bracco family. The owners have captured the essence of French décor, in a canvas of French grey and linen white, creating a romantic ambience. The food is homemade with locally sourced ingredients, all composed from traditional recipes, such as rabbit, lamb and fish… along with the not-to-be missed apricot pie!

Truth is, there are many scattered hidden treasures along the Cote d’Azur: secluded hideaways, ancient ruins, and villages like Gorbio steeped in history. Discovering places serendipitously is the pleasure of travel.

Transportation: Zest Bus Line:   Bus 7 from Menton – shuttle bus- 22-25 passenger

Restaurant: Le Beau Séjour (cash only!  March–October lunch only    July-August lunch & dinner-*closed every Wednesday) Call for reservation or find them on Facebook.

Bus Schedule Link for the French Riviera: Lignes d'Azur (lignesdazur.com)

About J. Christina:
J. Christina is founder at Scribbles and Smiles, travel writer, and hobbyist photographer. Writing a personal travel blog from the Midwest. Christina (Christie) is married to John, a.k.a. Mr. Christie. Where Mr. Christie is right on-board with their travel jaunts around the world - sharing in their blogging endeavors. He supports, encourages, handles gadgetry and embraces the role of  editor - hence, their bespoke pen name, J. Christina.

J. Christina’s blogging journey began before the word blog was trending, writing about European travel destinations on share-sites, forums and online journals. After many years of intrepid travel, they thoughtfully opened their treasure-trove of European travelogues, artfully sharing with a worldwide audience. Intentionally sharing the joie de vivre through their words and images, so others can travel vicariously. J. Christina believes smiling with your eyes is a beautiful thing.

You can read their most recent dispatches from aboard an elegant European river ship, sharing the allure of Europe’s great rivers and their capital cities. Or, follow them through serendipitous discoveries in the Cote d’Azur, where J. Christina captures the essence of a perched medieval village.

J. Christina’s work has been featured on France Today, Bonjour Paris, The Good Life France, and Perfectly Provence.


Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame) said...

A slug festival - what a wonderful discovery! Stories like this are exactly what I love about France.

J. Christina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Christina said...

Thank you for the lovely comment. This is a beautiful and quaint village with so many festivals and celebrations in such a small commune. Thank you for following my blog, as I do yours.

cv tutu said...

I want to leave right now for the Southeast corner of La Belle France. Are there accommodations nearby? We are returning to France in 2018 and are trying to decide which part of the country we want to see. I grew up in Paris
and know it well. So the country has more appeal for us. You painted a wonderful picture of this village!

J. Christina said...

Thank you for the nice comment about my article. I'm so glad you took time to read about this enchanting village. It's nice to know my post was well received and my details gave you inspiration. If you send an email direct to scribblesandsmiles@gmail.com, I will provide you with some hotels names and where to stay location wise and where to eat good meals.

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J. Christina said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a nice comment.

J. Christina said...

Thank you.