Originally located on the ridge, back in the dangerous days of “barbarian” invasions, Séranon was later built on the plain at the foot of a massive, south-facing cliff forged by erosion, in a bucolic site of wooded hills. Today, the village appears to be living in peaceful, gentle tranquility, surrounded by beautiful countryside that beckons to be explored on foot. Though the town is especially remarkable for these landscapes, a quick tour of the village is a chance to admire a wash-house, a fountain (dated 1898), and a boules court, typical of the South of France. There are also majestic chestnut trees and a few sloping lanes leading to a small square, where farm machinery of yesteryear is on display for the curious and the nostalgic!
- Bastide de Broundet. The Bastide de Broundet was the property of Louis Lombard, Marquis of Gourdon, Mayor of Grasse in 1815. On the night of March 2nd, it hosted the Emperor Napoleon I, returning from the island of Elba. So much was the Emperor in fear for his life that he spent only a few short hours here to rest, without sleeping. Upon his arrival at Séranon, the Emperor encountered the Sieur Blaise Rebuffe, steward to the Marquis de Gourdon, who put the Bastide at Napoleon’s disposition. “The Emperor settled in the castle and spent the night fully dressed, in an armchair, leaning on an adjacent table, near which he left a bottle of eau de cologne, forgotten upon his departure.” The battalion bivouacked around the Bastide and burned the Marquis’s supply of wood all through the night. Each year, around mid-July, a great musical sound and light show is arranged and performed by the Séranonnais themselves in front of the Bastide de Broundet.
- Notre Dame de Gratemoine chapel. The enigmatic name of this Romanesque chapel is born of the progressive distortion of the Latin gradiva, meaning “degree” or “step,” and caminus, meaning “path” or “way.” These terms allude to the structure’s location, as it was built on the only high point of the plain, beneath which a Roman communications road was once traced. The Notre Dame de Gratemoine chapel, given by Lord Pons Arbert to the priest Isnard d’Auriol, was first mentioned in 1060 in a Lérins Abbey charter. The chapel was originally the parish church, before becoming the priory of the Lérins Abbey in the late 11th century. In the early 12th century, the monks rebuilt the church, flanked to the south with a baptismal chapel, whose remodeled remains are now the Notre-Dame de Gratemoine chapel as it appears today. After the Middle Ages, the nave would be abridged to the first bay by construction of a new façade wall.
- Ruins of Vieux Séranon. The village of Séranon was originally perched on the ridge, at the top of the mountain, for fear of invasions. Once such attacks were no longer a concern, the inhabitants settled upon the plain, a more hospitable environment that made agricultural work easier. Clinging to the ridge above the original village of Séranon are the still-impressive ruins of the Saint Michel church. These remnants seem to defy time, standing as testament to the town’s ancient past. The church was built in the early14th century by Louis de Villeneuve, Lord of Séranon, whose lands were designated a marquisate in 1506.
- Hiking (Col du Vieux Séranon, Sommet de Bauroux, Le Pas de la Clue)
- Hang gliding
- Mountain biking
Key annual events:
In August: Saint-Louis patron saint festival
In September: Notre-Dame patron saint festival