Garden terraces surrounding a Provencal country house at the foot of Mount Coudon. A first alley of olive trees is followed by a path cut by stairs and lined with very old oleanders in trees.
The main house is surrounded by enclosed pleasure gardens, terraces, front and back. The garden is equipped with a gravity irrigation system, with chutes, basins at different levels, norias, well, spring, fountains. An old chapel is located at the back of the garden, behind the house. An old threshing floor has been updated. The property also contains the remains of a chalk mine operation (lime kiln, tunnel ventilation shaft). The main residence of the painter Pierre Deval was a place of artistic inspiration and visits of his friends painters, Albert Marquet, Jean Launois, Jean Puy, Willy Eisenchitz, Claire Bertrand, the painters of the School of Toulon (Eugène Baboulène, Mentor , Pertus among others), photographers (David Eisenchitz) and musicians, and also of literary inspiration (Henri Bosco, Jean-Louis Vaudoyer, Pierre-Jean Jouve).
History and famous characters
The Domaine d'Orvès, located near the village of Valletta (Vallis Laeta, or happy valley), occupies one of the few areas still natural near the center of the town. The gardens were probably built at the same time as the main house, 1691, but no original plan has so far been updated. After many uncertainties between the Revolution and 1844, during which the estate belonged to the town and was rented to the Marquis de Castellane before being auctioned, it was bought by the painter Pierre Deval and his wife in 1925, after two years. years spent in Algeria at Villa Abd-el-Tif. They do a lot of work in the house and in the garden to restore them. During the war, the area was requisitioned by the German army, which set up its headquarters and began to destroy everything and cut down all the trees, including the multicentenary olive trees of the access path. After the war, Pierre and Henriette Deval went back to work to rebuild and replant, at least around the main house, a large part of the land being farmed and occupied by vegetable crops. After the inscription of a part of the domain to the additional inventory of historical monuments to ward off a threat of urbanization of a large part of the land by the town hall and the death of Pierre and Henriette Deval in 1993, their daughter undertakes With the retirement of the farmers and in order to perpetuate and expand the protection acquired, to convert the estate into a botanical reserve and restore the elements destroyed by the war and not yet rebuilt to restore the spaces around from home to their destination of pleasure gardens. Gradually, from the center to the outside, new areas are developed: update of an old threshing floor, construction of new bodies of water, creation of a pond, creation of a garden
My castle is visitable
Every week-end and public holidays from 8h to 16h.
Guided tours at 10am
Other days, groups, guided tours by appointment.
Normal rate: 6 €
Young rate: 4 €