Montagne Sainte-Victoire and vineyards, seen from the slope south of Trets
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Jean-Claude Feraud|
|Area1||70.31 km2 (27.15 sq mi)|
|• Density||150/km2 (380/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||13110 / 13530|
|Elevation||217–810 m (712–2,657 ft)
(avg. 249 m or 817 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Trets (English //) is a commune (town or township, in English) in the Bouches-du-Rhône department of the Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur region in the southeast of France. With a population of over 10,000, it is one of forty-four communes in the Aix-en-Provence arrondissement or district. It is often described as a medieval town because of its development during the Middle Ages of European history and retention of medieval architecture.
Trets is situated in the Upper Valley of the Arc river, between painter Paul Cézanne's beloved Montagne Sainte-Victoire 11 km to the north and the Aurélien hills (Monts Auréliens) to the east, at the foot of Mount Olympus to the south.
Population and history
The founding site of Trets has been described variously as a Greek colony or an “ancient Roman settlement.” By some accounts Trets was originally named Trittia or Tritea by the Phocean settlers of Massalia, in homage to the daughter of the Greek god Triton.
The first historical account identifying the populace now known as Trets appears in 950 AD, when the king of Burgundy and Provence Conrad the Peaceful transferred hereditary rule over the lands of the Upper Valley of the Arc as a fisc to the first Seigneur (or Lord) of Trets. A succession of lords ruled until the French Revolution of 1789.
Gallo-Roman, Romanesque, and gothic buildings and vaulted passageways of the medieval period line the narrow, winding streets of town. Many were surrounded by towers and ramparts, as was the center of the town itself, for defense against successive invasions over the centuries.
La Porte de Pourrière, built in the 14th century, was the main gateway access into town. On the north end were La Porte de Clastre, La Porte Neuve and La Porte de Puyloubier, all destroyed by the mid-19th century. La Porte Saint Jean provided uptown access and stored munitions.
Now the grounds of the Edmond Brun elementary school, a hospital named Hôpital Saint Jacques was established circa 1300 near the church of the same patronage and later transferred, in 1794, to the Observantins convent.
The low, vaulted passageway called Le Trou de Madame Lion gains access to the ramparts surrounding the center of town. It is thought to have been either a way of confining any epidemic outbreak to the grounds of the hospital or a way of defending against mounted attacks.
To the southeast is the Château des Remparts, which had eight towers and four gates, a courtyard and gardens. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Château was pivotal to town life. In June 2013 a number of renovations were completed, with a modern performance space in the courtyard.
The 14th-century Church of Our Lady of Nazareth was formerly a 4th-century priory of the Roman-Provençal style with an open vaulted arch, gothic chapels, and a massive unfinished tower.
La Chapelle Saint-Jean-du-Puy, a former 5th-century hermitage, features a Romanesque apse, garden sanctuary and 18th-century watch tower that is an observatory overlooking the town and the Valley of the Arc. It was rebuilt with the addition of two Gallo-Roman columns.
The 14th-century papal Studium of Trets put forth what may have been the only record of its kind in the Vatican archives of that time, a register of the local economy detailing the material life of schoolchildren and their teachers.
The Hôtel de la Vallée de l’Arc, at the center of town, was an 18th-century relay post.
Cultural encounters and traditions
The influence of both Greek and Roman cultures is said to have led to the cultivation of wine and wheat. After the Romans came the Goths, the Merovingians, the Carlovingians and the Saracens; then, after a period of viscounts of Marseille, Trets came under local papal governance through the diocese of Aix, according to the papal bull of Urban II in 1088.
Holidays and festivals reflect historical encounters and traditions, including:
- (May/June) La Fête de Saint Jean has been observed since 1793.
- (July) La Fête de la Saint Eloi, patron saint of goldsmiths and blacksmiths since 659 AD, celebrates Provençal culture, language and arts.
- (August) Les Médiévales de Trets celebrate the occasion of The Good King René welcoming his nephew Louis XI of France, with period events and dress.
While the Jews were expelled from France in 1182, local governance permitted construction of a synagogue in a manor on the present-day street called Rue Paul Bert. A surrounding Jewish quarter was established by local edict in the early 14th century.
- "Sainte-Victoire". Atelier Paul Cézanne [Cézanne Studio and Gardens]. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- "Trets et son histoire". Excerpt from Regards sur Trets en Provence. Les Amis du Village. 1991. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- Baring-Gould, Sabine (2008. Rept. 1890). In Troubador-Land. ReadHowYouWant. p. 150. Check date values in:
- Pallies, Antonin (April 7, 1895). "Les communes de Provence: Trets". Petites annales de Provence: politiques, historiques, artistiques et litteraires (in French) (50): 1. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- Marshall, Archibald (1920). A Spring Walk in Provence. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. p. 86. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
- Feraud, Jean Claude (13 June 2013). "la Cour du Château épouse son siècle". Site Officiel de Trets-en-Provence. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- Auguste, Longnon (1898). "Discours d'ouverture du Président" (PDF). Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. pp. 732–752. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- Tassy, Roger; Guy Van Oost (1999). "Trets, une ville médiévale" (PDF). Based on Regards sur Trets by Les Amis du Village, 1991 and Trets, ville médiévale by la Société d'Études et de Recherches de la Haute Vallée de l’Arc (SERHVA),1999. Maison du Tourisme. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- Pallies, Antonin (7 April 1895). "Les communes de Provence: Trets". Petites annales de Provence: politiques, historiques, artistiques et litteraires (50): 2. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- "Ville de Trets: Votre agenda culturel (Le guide culturel 2013-2014)" (PDF). Official site of Trets-en-Provence. la Maison du Tourisme. p. 22. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
Literary, historical and archaeological works about Trets
- Chauvin, Fernand. Trets et sa région.
- Chaillan, Abbé Marius. 1893. Recherches archéologiques & historiques sur Trets et sa vallée. Marseille: H. Aubertin/Marpon & Flammarion.
- Papon. 1777. Histoire générale de Provence.
- Rolland, Victor. 1938. “Trittia”-Trets. Société nouvelle des impr. toulonnaises.
- SERHVA (la Société d'Études et de Recherches de la Haute Vallée de l’Arc) et al. 1984. Trets, ville médiévale cheminement de visite du centre ancien, et monographie sommaire des principaux édifices. Conseil général des Bouches-du-Rhône, Comité départemental du tourisme en Marseille.
- Sumeire, Gabriel Jean. 1960. La Communauté de Trets à la veille de la Révolution. Aix en Provence: La Pensée universitaire.
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