The flying donkey of Gonfaron
Welcome to the second episode of our series on the myths and legends of Provence! Today, we’ll be telling you the story of Gonfaron, a little village in the heart of the Var area, and its famous flying donkey. Our four-star campsite Les Jardins de La Pascalinette ® in La Londe-les-Maures loves introducing you to the iconic locations and fascinating history of our corner of southeastern France, to encourage our campers to return again and again to this beautiful region.
A flying donkey or the revenge of a Saint
The story dates back to the 17th or 18th century. Legend tells that a local man from Gonfaron – a fervent anticlerical – refused to sweep in front of his door in preparation for the procession of Saint Quinis, the village’s patron saint. It was customary at the time for every villager to ensure the sloping streets of the village were spick and span in honour of the patron saint. But not only did the infidel refuse to clean; he also mocked Saint Quinis openly, declaring that if he wanted to avoid the rubbish, all he had to do was fly over it! A bad idea… Just at that moment, the grumpy village donkey was plodding along at the top of the hill near Gonfaron chapel, on the slopes of La Carnaraute. Driven to distraction by horse flies, he veered off his route and flew over the ravine, throwing his unfortunate rider to his death below.
There was no doubt about it: Saint Quinis had taken his revenge! And the expression “In Gonfaron donkeys fly / à Gounfaroun leis ai volon (in Provencal dialect)” lives on today!
Tucked away at the foot of the Massif des Maures, around 30 minutes from our four-star campsite Les Jardins de La Pascalinette ®, Gonfaron is a great place to visit between two dips in the heated pools of the campsite’s water park!