La Brigue is a medieval village far from the major thoroughfares, nestling at the foot of a mountain cirque (the Marguareis Massif).
Perhaps you will unexpectedly fall in love at first sight with this (apparently!) simple mountain village that possesses several historic monuments, the most well known being the chapel of Notre Dame des Fontaines.
It is located off the beaten track and contains several frescoes representing the passion of Christ signed by Canavesio and Baleison, two 15th century Piedmontese masters.
But the entire village is marvellous, starting with the St Martin collegiate church on the square, an impressive baroque style edifice with a trompe l'oeil facade. Beside it is a remarkable round chapel (18th century) and opposite is a beautiful fountain with lions' heads dated 1884.
You will also be enchanted by the rest of the village with its numerous cobbled streets, its long riverside archways and its houses decorated with brightly coloured trompe-l'oeil designs (there are over 160!), or solidly built from green la Roya stone.
You cannot help but notice the sculpted door lintels (the oldest dates from 1234). The patterns are varied and sometimes mysterious, and a recurring image is a lamb or the letters IHS.
While the lamb appears to refer to the village's strong pastoral tradition (20,000 sheep in 1818), the three letters mean "Iesus Hominum Salvatori", (God, the Saviour of Men).
You can end your visit at the top of the village, in front of the ruins of the Les Lascaris chateau, (scheduled for restoration in the near future) and let your mind wander back to yesteryear, all the while admiring the magnificent high mountain landscape.
La Brigue is a village blessed by the Gods!
What to see
St Martin College.
ND des Fontaines Sanctuary
Chapels, Assomption and Annonciation (XVIIIth C).
Chapel, St Michel (XVIIIth C).
Sculpted lintels dating from the 15th and 16th centuries.
"Pont du Coq" ("Pont Genois").
Ruins of the Chateau des Lascaris.
Museum of Bee-keeping Traditions.
Walking & Hiking. Tennis.
Swimming pool (4 km).
Climbing (Via Ferrata 4 km away).
"Les Baroquiales": Baroque Art Festival (early July).
Medieval festival (3rd weekend in July).
Santons Path (late December to late January)