The construction of this villa is part of the turbulent history of this period. Julius Caesar’s assassination, in 44 B.C., leads to the civil war. Marc Antoine, lieutenant of Caesar, settled in Fréjus with his legions, faces his profit and faces the legions of Lepidus, lieutenant of Caesar also, governor of southern Gaul (Narbonnaise) and Roman Spain, camping at Cannet-des-Maures (forum Voconii).
The confrontation of these numerous Roman legions could have endangered the Roman world but was avoided by recourse to Cicero. A triumvirate divided the Roman territories between Marc, Lepidus, Octavian and the future emperor Augustus, that first got Lepidus assassinated and then Marc Antoine, who, meanwhile, had married Queen Cleopatra Pharaoh of Egypt.
At the head of all Roman possessions, he initiated the “pax romana” throughout the Roman Empire. He erected Fréjus as a military port, second one after Ostia. The ships of Cleopatra and Marc Antoine brought peace to the mediterranean and favored the development of trade in the Roman world. Peace having returned, legions were demobilized; the legionaries were awarded the title of Roman citizen, given few savings and land to farm. The VIIIth legion, Legio Octavo Narum, legion of Augustus, was established in the Moors and Estérel, with Fréjus as the local capital. Estates were divided by geometers in plots of 700 m² and awarded to the newly made citizens.
The Roman villas of La Croix Valmer, Cavalaire and Sainte-Maxime were born. At first they were simple, later structured in flourishing villas, successfully cultivating the vine, wealthiest economy of this period. Pardigon II, with its 3 600 m², is the largest maritime villas of southern Gaul, still visible today.
André Falconnet, President of the archaeological association Aristide Fabre
Pardigon II suggests the rich, ancient and fascinating history of our region, where men and women lived long before our era. The site was classified as “remarkable” in 2009 thanks to local associations for the protection of the environment and became property of the “Conservatoire du littoral” since 2013.After successive periods of excavation and cleaning, the site is finally highlighted by the joint action of the Conservatoire du Littoral, the local authorities and the archaeological association Aristide Fabre.I address my thanks to all those that worked hard for the rebirth of this site, deeply linked to La Croix Valmer’s history.The overhanging view over the villa underlines it’s singularity and it’s significant cultural character.I have no doubt that all, locals and visitors, will be curious to discover the site.
Bernard Jobert, Mayor of La Croix Valmer
1 . Half of the 1st century before our era : primitive establishment of native huts
2 . First half of the 1st after J-C : the first villa
3 . 41-54 after J-C : the beginnings of the large villa
4 . 1st and 2nd centuries : enlargement of the Empire
5 . 6th century after J-C : the transformations of the lower empire
6 . 19th century : customs barracks
In 1895, while digging on plots of land owned by “La Compagnie du Domaine de la Croix”, a large amount of pottery, marble debris and Roman coins were found. Local farmers would come at night to dig the soil, hoping to discover the famous hidden treasure that archaeologists were searching for.
To prevent damages the company employed guards and the findings were placed in the hotels of Croix Valmer where everyone could help themselves. The only object that remains is a marble woman’s mask, placed in the office of the Director of the Domain. Obviously, it used to be part of a fountain. Historically, it was a tribute to the divinities of the white waters, to these young and beautiful naiads to whom the Romans attributed the abundance and the persistence of the sources. This woman’s mask is beautiful, the nose and part of the left cheek were bruised by the pick of the digger. Apart from the marble of Carrara, nothing is Roman in this sketch; the head of the young woman, the pupils of the eyes not apparent, its delicacy and measure, recalls the most beautiful Greek productions of the 1st century.
Plage du Débarquement - Boulevard du Maréchal Juin - 83420 La Croix Valmer The Gallo-Roman villa is located before the bus stop. The platform enables visitors to observe the site with an overhanging view.