La Coste, Provence is a stunningly well-preserved medieval village, perched high atop the lush rolling plains below. Cobblestone streets wind their way up, down and around charming old houses, through vaulted passageways, past walled gardens, and breathtaking views that seem to go on for miles.
This tranquil village is small in size, but holds so much in the way of history, medieval architecture and that quintessential Provencal charm. Her beauty is unassuming, which makes La Coste that much more beguiling.
With its fairytale allure this flawlessly preserved hamlet appears like a scene from a romantic movie. Oh-so-fragrant cascading geranium and climbing roses bedeck golden limestone walls, bell towers rise up like sentries and arched lintels frame views that even Disney couldn’t replicate.
The History of Lacoste
The village of La Coste dates back to the 14th century and encompasses so much history. As reformation took hold in Europe La Coste served as a sanctuary, at least for a time, for those fleeing religious persecution. During the French Revolution the village was damaged. Lacoste even served as a foothold for the Resistance in WWII. Assuredly many different events took place in this medieval village at one time or another. If those stone walls could talk, eh?
Château de Lacoste
One of the more notable-and notorious-residents of La Coste was the Marquis de Sade. At the very top of the ascending village, there is a castle. This 11th century structure was erected by the Simiane family. It’s believed, either by marriage or bequeathment, the Chateau de Lacoste eventually fell into the hands of the Marquis de Sade.
The Marquis de Sade availed himself of the grand home for his salacious pursuits as well as in an attempt to avoid arrest. He made many changes to create an even more ostentatious abode, including a 120 seat theatre. He was finally captured and brought to justice. Sadly the Chateau was all but destroyed in the French Revolution, however, over the last century a few dedicated souls have strived to restore this imposing structure, including fashion icon Pierre Cardin.
A Haven For Artists-Then and Now
It comes as no surprise that this magnificently picturesque village, with its stunning views, has inspired artists through the centuries and continues to do so today. Just as the Provence countryside stirred the muses of artists like Monet and Van Gogh, so too does it serve to energize and excite students at the local art school, the Savannah College of Art and Design, or SCAD.
The students of SCAD have a unique opportunity to enjoy these idyllic surroundings while living in housing which dates back from the ninth to the 19th century. A former boulangerie and an 800-year-old farmhouse are just two of the remarkable properties converted to classrooms.
A Welcoming Village
Throughout the centuries little Lacoste has been a place of much activity. Yet today this perfectly preserved village evokes an easygoing and friendly feeling. This artistic and cultural melting pot is as inviting as the warm sun on the fields below, as welcoming as the open arms of the Alexander Burganov sculpture that greets you as you ascend to the Chateau La Coste.