An epic battle in Provence
Abounding with history and mysteries, the Var, French Riviera-Côte d’Azur, harbours a fascinating legend that has captured the imagination of many generations. Our new episode of the myths and legends of the Var area, brought to you by our four-star campsite Les Jardins de La Pascalinette ®, tells the tale of the dragon of Draguignan. Combining reality and fantasy, it offers a unique angle on the cultural heritage of our beautiful Provence.
The origins of the story…
The legend dates back many centuries to the Middle Ages, when seigneurs – wealthy lords – reigned over the lands of Provence and the Var. Draguignan, a little town tucked away in the hills just over an hour’s drive from your favourite seaside campsite, was the stage for a series of mysterious events that gave rise to the famous story of the dragon.
The dragon is said to have hidden in Nartuby gorge until the 5th century, when a violent storm – possibly sparked by one of it’s angry outbursts – forced it to fly to Draguignan to take shelter.
More enraged than ever, the dragon – believed to be the embodiment of evil in Judeo-Christian traditions – tormented the people of Draguignan and devoured young and old alike.
It’s here that the versions differ… The first tells that the lord’s daughter was kidnapped by a fearsome dragon with shiny scales and fiery eyes, who had taken up residence in the vicinity of Draguignan. Held captive in the dragon’s cave, the princess waited desperately to be saved.
At that very moment, a young and intrepid knight, whose identity remains shrouded in mystery, appeared on the scene. Armed with courage and a sword forged by the local artisans, the knight undertook a perilous journey to free the princess and put an end to the dragon’s rampage.
The epic battle…
The battle that followed was epic. The dragon spat out devastating flames but the knight, brimming with tireless courage, managed to pierce the creature’s defences. After a terrific struggle, the dragon was vanquished, the princess was freed and peace finally settled on Draguignan.
In the alternative version, the local inhabitants call on the help of Saint Hermentaire, the bishop of Antibes, who finally manages to strike down the beast.
Although this story is more often than not considered a legend, some claim that the remains of the dragon still lie in the hills surrounding the town. Mysterious caves and intriguing rock formations are sometimes associated with this ancient legend, fuelling the mystery that continues to surround the dragon of Draguignan.
The legend of the dragon of Draguignan has left an indelible mark on local culture, all the way up to the town’s coat of arms. Every year, Draguignan celebrates this epic chapter of its history with special festivities, processions and theatre plays, evoking the heroism of the knight and the town’s resilience in the face of adversity.
The legend of the dragon of Draguignan remains a captivating example of a popular story powerful enough to forge the identity of an entire region. Between reality and fiction, the tale continues to capture the imagination and remind the inhabitants of the Var area and our holidaymaking friends that bravery and determination can continue to triumph even in the darkest times. And so, the story of the dragon of Draguignan continues on through the ages, anchored in the rich history of a charming area of Provence that has earned its place in Nos Coins de Paradis ® (Our Corners of Paradise)!