At the edge of the verdant Issole valley, Cabasse has always held an important position in the Var. Its origins stretch far back in time, coinciding with the arrival of the first humans in the region, as evidenced by the many megaliths discovered nearby.
During the Gallo-Roman period, the Via Aurelia running between Italy and Spain crossed the city, which was then called Matavo. It became Castrum de Cabassa in the Middle Ages, a dependency of the county of Frejus; surviving remnants of this town include fortified gates and a vaulted passageway. Cabasse’s subsoil was to bring it prosperity in the late 19th century, when the Centre Var was France’s primary area for non-ferrous ore and, for half a century, the world’s major source of bauxite. The glory days of the mining industry came between 1946 and 1973, at which time the Var provided the bulk of French output. But industrial profitability and imports of foreign bauxite put an end to over a century of production. The mines gradually shut down through the 1980s, and production ended for good in 1989.
This heritage of old stones bearing the story of the gueules rouges, the red-faced miners, together with its many flower-bedecked houses, makes Cabasse an endearing village well worth visiting.