The pleasant small town of Tourrette-Levens is conveniently situated "just behind" (appx. 10kms North of) Nice, the international, lively & irresistible capital of the Cote d'Azur. A stone's throw from picturesque beaches, here, you are surrounded by unspoilt nature, rugged rocky peaks, winding rivers & gorges, scented pine forests and endless olive groves. Tourrette-Levens has the privilege to belong to the 13 perched villages that form the "lungs" of Nice. Three words would sum up best the "Route of perched villages": NATURE, CULTURE, and SPORT.
The visitor can stroll along cobbled winding streets, step back more than 300 years to admire the rich heritage of old houses built either of stone or in the original niçoise style with painted façades in various earthy colours, with freezes under the eaves, as if one was in an open-air museum. From any of the villages one can follow signed walks or longer hikes or mountain biking routes into forests, fields, valleys or up to the highest peak of Mont Chauve, at nearly 1,000 metres. Along the route admire old baroque churches, medieval castle ruins at Aspremont, an old abbey at Castagniers where they now make excellent hand-made chocolates. You can visit an old oil press which has been continually working since the 13th century and taste award winning local olive oil made of the famous "cailletier", so typical of the Nice region at Colomars. At Levens, there are horse riding centres, rock climbing and public tennis courts. Levens organises the biggest horse show of the region in July. Tourrette-Levens with its medieval castle and museums has become the cultural centre for the area. The old castle plays an important role in the summer "Musical Nights at the Chateau" Festival. During July & August, in the chateau gardens, surrounded by green hills and with view over Nice & Mediterranean, concerts (classical, jazz, pop), opera, magic show, theatre pieces are presented with guest artists and orchestras from all over the world, all entirely free, financed by the departmental council. There are two museums well-worth visiting, one in the "rampart house" about trades of the past, the other, the butterfly museum in the chateau with its collection of more than 4,500 butterflies and insects from all over the world.( Both free entrance). Tourrette-Levens also organises an international football camp in May/June. This year more than 200, 11 - 18yrs old boys arrived from more than 10 countries. During July the popular Medieval Festival is held when inhabitants of the village dress up in period costumes and participate in this lively event. There are two family run restaurants in the Old Town serving good provençale food.
You will find small family run cafes and restaurants in nearly all the perched villages, offering home-made provançale and niçoise cooking and friendly service.
Written by Annemarie Greenwood – Owner of Property 88636 in Tourrette-Levens, France