Instead of taking another cooling plunge in the Orb river, I can highly recommend taking the time to cross the bridge to discover charming Roquebrun. From the bridge you will get a magnificent view of Roquebrun. And then, once you’ve crossed, there is another fabulous lookout over the region from the opposite bank of the Orb River. Especially if you climb all the way up to the Mediterranean Garden, which is nestled at the feet of the instantly recognizable tower of Roquebrun.
Roquebrun owes its name to this tower, the Tour Guet Carolingienne, dating from the 10th and 11th centuries. It was during this period that ‘Rocabrune’ was first mentioned, derived from ‘Tour Brune’ which translates as the brown tower. Following the steep, little streets soon enough brought me to my first stop: the church with its remarkable entrance door made out of Roquebrun’s Morello cherry marble. I was more obsessed with the view however, and had already peaked over a little labyrinth to admire the landscape from this new vantage point on the other side of the Orb River.
As my goal was to visit the Mediterranean Garden to get the ultimate view, I continued on my way through the narrow alleys. Walking under one of the entrance gates, the ‘Porte Haute’, I reached the heart of the Medieval village. Most of the houses are very well preserved. I love the beautiful and natural rock walls. Due to its location, Roquebrun benefits from a warm and pleasant microclimate. This sunny climate attracts and has attracted many people, all the way back to the 4th millennium before JC! No wonder that Roman legionaries, Carolingian kings and Cather lords walked these grounds well before our time.
Le Jardin Méditerranéen
The mild climate also is perfect for mimosa, cactuses, lemon trees and all kinds of exotic plants to grow. This explains why Roquebrun is known locally as ‘Petit Nice’. Now, you don’t have to enter the garden ‘Le Jardin Méditerranéen’ just to get another look at the view. It is a nice stroll up to the garden though, and if you’re into plants and trees, it might well be worth the entrance fee of 6 euros (adults).
My way back down to the village seemed much shorter, no doubt because of the easier descent. Just a little tip: it’s smart to bring some water when you visit Roquebrun, ready for those steep hills. I also made sure to have a chilled glass of local white wine waiting for me at my favourite bar à vins & tapas La Cave Saint Martin. They might be closed during your visit, so I can equally recommend the village bar Le Naudech. They always have a refreshing drink and small snacks, as well as a lively atmosphere (except for Wednesdays).