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F.A.Q.
Frequently Asked Questions

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   Why is the village Les Salles-sur-Verdon different from an ordinary village?
   Les Salles-sur-Verdon, where is it?
   How to reach Les Salles-sur-Verdon?
   When was the old village destroyed?
   When was the new village built?
   How many inhabitants were there in the old village?
   How many inhabitants are there in the new village?
   Isn't it lucky to exchange brand new houses on the bank of a magnificent lake... in place of old houses in a dry Provence village?
   Is it possible to dive in the lake to see the old village?
   How deep is the lake where the old village was?
   Is it true that we can hear the bells from the old bell-tower?
   What traces of the old village can still be seen in the new one?
   Another question?


















































Why is the village Les Salles-sur-Verdon different from an ordinary village?

The village Les Salles-sur-Verdon has been destroyed, due to a dam built by EDF ("Electricité de France") on the river Verdon ; this dam has created nowadays' Sainte-Croix lake.

Les Salles-sur-Verdon inhabitants had to leave their homes, and change their way of living... The village was destroyed house after house, stone by stone... All the trees and plants of the valley were cut... The church was dynamited, the cemetery was moved...

But Les Salles-sur-Verdon is still existing : a new village was built at the edge of the lake, very different from the old one, although very close...

To see it with only three pictures.



Graffiti on the walls of the village, jan 02, 1974 : « EDF = thieves, looters »
List of the questions







Les Salles-sur-Verdon, where is it?

Les Salles-sur-Verdon is a village in southern France (Provence), a few kilometers from the Grand Canyon of the Verdon river.

10km south of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, 20km north of Aups, 110km north-east of Marseilles, 130km north-west of Nice...

Additional information.



Where is Les Salles ?
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How to reach Les Salles-sur-Verdon?

By road... from Marseilles :
motorway North, Aix-en-Provence following 'Sisteron' signs, exit Vinon-sur-Verdon, then Gréoux-les-Bains, Allemagne-en-Provence, Riez, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
By road... from Nice :
route 1 = motorway A8 exit Le Muy, then Draguignan, Flayosc, Aups.
route 2 (touristic) = Grasse, "Napoléon's road", Comps, Canyon of the Verdon river, Aiguines.
By road... from Paris :
motorway A8 exit Le Muy, then Draguignan, Flayosc, Aups.
By train...
...to Les Arcs-en-Provence or Fréjus, and then by road via Draguignan, Flayosc, Aups.
By plane...
...to Marseille-Provence airport or Nice-Côte d'Azur airport, then as explained above.
Additional information.

List of the questions







When was the old village destroyed?

The old village was not destroyed on a specific day... it's all Les Salles-sur-Verdon's tragedy.

End of 1972, the old village seemed to be the same as it had always been.

At the beginning of 1973, all the vegetation at the bottom of the valley was destroyed. In spring 1973, some inhabited houses had already lost their tiled roofs ; however, inside the village the daily life continued, and nothing allowed to imagine what was going to occur. During summer 1973, the removals of the inhabitants and the demolitions multiplied ; at the end of the summer it was difficult, although still possible, to find a place in the village without any symptom of demolition.

At the end of 1973, the village seemed to have been bombed... February 1974, the last inhabitants left a set of ruins. March 1974, the church was dynamited.

List of the questions







When was the new village built?

The first stone of the new village was laid during a ceremony on sunday July 26, 1970 (Sainte-Anne's day).

End 1971, the construction of the official buildings (town hall, post office, school, church) was started in the middle of truffle oaks, in a setting that bore no resemblance to a future village.

September 26, 1972, the two church bells of the old village were installed in the new tower... taking advantage of the presence of a hoist to do the job. Since that date and for over more than a year, the Sallois lived in the old village, far from the familiar chime that had always ticked the hours of their days.

The first evidence of life in the new village was the inauguration by Raymond Taxil of the hotel restaurant "Le Verdon" on Thursday July 12, 1973. The next day, July 13, 1973 at noon, the "Auberge des Salles" opened in its turn... for only 4, amongst which Mr and Mrs Marc Doreau. Owned by the Anot family for several generations, the "Auberge du Coin Perdu" however continued to function in the old village, even after the inauguration of the "Auberge des Salles" runned by the same family in an almost deserted new village.

In the autumn of 1973, when the school year started in the new school, the pupils had to walk along the road that separated them from the old village where they continued to live.

End of 1973 and Jan. 1974 the homes of the residents of the old village were gradually built to relodge the Sallois in a hurry.

The formal inauguration of the new village was held on Saturday, January 22, 1977 "on the hardly finished fronts of houses, perfectly aligned along nameless streets".

List of the questions







How many inhabitants were there in the old village?

Victim of the rural depopulation as a lot of old villages, Les Salles-sur-Verdon had only 178 permanent inhabitants in 1962, and 165 inhabitants in 1968.

The village, which had thus lost 13 inhabitants during the period 1962-68, was still losing 40 inhabitants during the period 1968-75.

In 1975, there was only 125 permanent inhabitants in Les Salles-sur-Verdon. It is true that an important event occurred in the village during this lapse of time...

List of the questions







How many inhabitants are there in the new village?

In 1975, it was only 125 permanent inhabitants in the new village.

In 1982, there were 131, and 154 in 1990.

Nowadays there are 196 permanent inhabitants in winter, and around 5.000 in summer...

List of the questions








Isn't it lucky to exchange brand new houses on the bank of a magnificent lake... in place of old houses in a dry Provence village?

This question will turn many Les Salles-sur-Verdon's inhabitants angry.

It was a "no exchange" deal. The owners of the old village's houses were compensated by EDF (french administration in charge of electric power supply). They had to build their new houses in the new village according to their own resources.

None of the inhabitants were satisfied with the compensation... a strong decrepitude rate had been applied by EDF to real estate. Agricultural properties (the bottom of the valley was specially fertile) and truffle producing grounds were strongly underestimated, which created violent demonstrations (for further information, read the press of this period in the pages "Les Salles et les écrits").

The compensation for Les Salles-sur-Verdon inhabitants drove the priest of the village to say : « they will be drowned on one side, and strangled on the other... ».

List of the questions







Is it possible to dive in the lake to see the old village?

This is completely useless : there is no vestige of the old village in the lake...

The memories of the old village are in the new one... or in these pages.

List of the questions







Is it true that we can hear the bells from the old bell-tower?

It is completely true : except if you have problem of hearing, you can hear the bells of the old bell-tower every half-hour...

List of the questions







How deep is the lake where the old village was?

The level of the lake varying according to climatic conditions, the depth is not constant.

At the highest level, it should be 15m above the top of the bell-tower which was already 17m high. Therefore, the depth of the lake is around 32m on the main square of the village.

Les Salles, 1974
List of the questions







What traces of the old village can still be seen in the new one?

The fountains, the two wash-houses, the World War I memorial, the bells and the clock of the church, a lot of stones (door frames), old tiles on the roofs... pictures of the old village...

Despite what is written on many web sites, the bell-tower of the old village and the new one have nothing common but their bells and the rooster at the top of the roof...

List of the questions









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