The period from the end of the Roman empire to the 11th or 12th centuries is poorly documented. Lorgues developed as a small market town, deeply rooted in agriculture, a regional centre for church, education and legal matters, a place for matters of trade and travel. In the 12th century the Knights Templar acquired an interest in Lorgues and for nearly two centuries dominated the town where they probably took responsibility for the welfare of inhabitants. Despite not being involved in fighting in France they retained a military outlook and oversaw the creation of the ramparts, towers and fortified gateways around the ancient part of Lorgues. Only a few of the original twelve towers and nine gates now remain.

Ramparts and towers now converted to dwellings

The heart of medieval Lorgues was this fortified enclosure, much of which can still be seen. Remnants of the Templars’ occupation are a chapel and some sculptures in addition to the walls. The walking tour of Lorgues begins at the Sarrasine Gate and continues anti-clockwise within the old enclosure. It takes in most of the surviving towers, including the Tower of the Citadel.

After passing the Tower of St Martin (Tour Saint-Martin) and reaching Place Accarisio, it is possible to see some of the ancient ramparts and joining towers (Tour du Chapitre and Tour de la Canal). Inside these walls was the district of Saint Martin and site of the original town church.

Looking back along the Rue des Tours with the Tower of Saint Martin on the right

Near the Tron Gate, remains of some medieval sculptures can be seen. After the last tower, the Tower of Chicourlié, the walking tour reaches the Place du Petit Marché (small market square) and then returns to the main street through the Tré-Barri Gate. The town remained within these walls for many years, although the Lower Fountain was in use from the 12th or 13th century. During the 13th to 15th centuries Lorgues continued to grow, and in 1474 was allowed to expand beyond the fortified area to the east. The result was Place Neuve (New Square) and the area around the church of Saint François.

Place Neuve