First recorded in 1040, Entrevaux is an arresting sight - a walled medieval town surrounded by a moat, with a drawbridge entrance, towering gatehouses and a series of fortified walls leading up to a 17th century citadel perched up high above an enormous valley.
The dark cobbled streets are crammed with old buildings, many of which house artists’ workshops, bric-a-brac and other curiosities. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants where you can enjoy some local Provencal cuisine but, despite Entrevaux being quite a touristy place, they adhere to very “French” opening hours so make sure you have lunch between midday and 2pm or you’ll go hungry until dinner time.
The highlight of a trip to Entrevaux is making the short but reasonably steep climb up to the citadel. As the walled footpath zigzags up the mountainside you get fantastic views of the valley in all directions, wildflowers and brambles have crept up the walls and twist around the solid ancient stones. Once you’re at the top you can follow the numbered signs for a self-guided museum tour of the old prison cells, the bakery and the various rooms of the citadel.
Disturbingly, you can climb down rickety ladders into the pitch-black dungeons that were used to house prisoners of war in more recent years - they’re extremely creepy and you don’t need much imagination to realise how horrific it must have been to be a prisoner here.
At the other end of the scale are the commandant’s quarters with their terraces, fireplaces and sweeping views of the olive groves, pine forests, mountains and rivers of the Var. Access to the citadel is “self-service”; you must buy a token for 3€ at the entrance to Entrevaux and then let yourself in at a revolving gate. You can pick up leaflets that give you more information on the history and architecture of the site.