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Gréoux-les-Bains (Municipality, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France)

Last modified: 2012-04-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: alpes-de-haute-provence | gréoux-les-bains | wolf (black) | squirrel (white) |
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[Flag of Gréoux-les-Bains]

Flag of Gréoux-les-Bains - Image by Ivan Sache, 15 November 2011

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Presentation of Gréoux-les-Bains

The municipality of Gréoux-les-Bains (2,476 inhabitants in 2008, 6,946 ha) is located in Upper Provence, 20 km north-west of Manosque. The village is built on the southern slope of a small hill dominating river Verdon, which flows nearby into the Durance.

Gréoux, already settled by the Celts as Gresillum ("pain-healing water"), developed around a castle built in the 12th century, locally known as the Templars' Castle. Owned in the 14th century by Count of Provence Charles II, the castle was transfered for a while to the Order of St. John. The thermal baths were recreated in the 17th century; later on, their most famous guest was Pauline Bonaparte (1780-1825), one of Napoléon I's sisters, known as the Princess Borghese after her marriage with Camillo Borghese. Abandoned again, the thermal baths were rebuilt in 1962 on their original site in "Celto-Roman" troglodyte style.
Gréoux-les-Bains, today the third biggest spa in France, is one of the 20 members of the spa association Chaîne thermale du soleil. The mesothermic (42 C) water of Gréoux-les-Bains, rich in sulphur, calcium and magnesium, is prescribed against rheumatism and breathing troubles.

Source: Gréoux tourist website

In the middle of the 19th century, the Our Lady of the Eggs chapel of Gréoux-les-Bains was inhabited by the "Gréoux-les-Bains hermit", a man known as Faure, who claimed to be Louis XVII and to have escaped from the Temple prison in Paris. Nothing is known on the origin of the man, who, oddly enough, knew - and invented when he did not know enough - several historical details on the Royal family and the Simon pair, in charge of watching the child in the prison. Louis XVII officially died on 8 June 1795 but several rumors spread, prompting different men to claim to be the "true" Louis XVII, miraculously escaped or swapped with another child of the same age. Faure died aged 75, without having ever given any proof of his claims, to "protect" those who had saved him from jail.

Spurce: La Provence de Nadine blog

Ivan Sache, 15 November 2011

Flag of Gréoux-les-Bains

The flag of Gréoux-les-Bains (photo), also shown in the guidebook Découvrir la Haute-Provence. Les Alpes du Sud, 1997) is horizontally divided blue-white with the municipal arms in the middle.

The arms of Gréoux are "Per fess, 1. Argent a wolf sable, 2. Azure a squirrel argent". According to Louis de Bresc (Armorial des communes de Provence [bjs94]), the arms of "Gréoulx" were registered with the Armorial Général (II, 403; image, I, 614; registration fee, 50 pounds).

Dominique Cureau, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 15 November 2011