Carnoules, the city of the railway workers, still rings with the commotion of travellers waiting at the station buffet for their train to leave; a not-so-distant time when most journeys were by rail.
Carnoules’ history as a simple hamlet in the foothills is much further in the past. Nowadays, the steam engine standing proudly at the entrance to the village is famous throughout the Var, symbolising a century of intense rail activity, when the village was a stop for locomotives on the railway line operated by the famous PLM ( Paris-Lyon-Mediterranean) rail company, a precursor to SNCF. Up until the First World War, all trains running between Marseille and Nice would stop at Carnoules to change engines, and in 1880, the inauguration of the Carnoules-Gardanne line running via Brignoles and Saint-Maximin made it an even more important stopping place.
Railway enthusiasts from the Centre Var tourist train association have revived this history, and will take you on a nostalgic, idyllically pastoral trip in a rail car to Brignoles. A trip to the tortoise village to see the famous Hermann’s tortoise is a must for the little ones, and grown-ups too.