barre Port Grimaud
       The " Pin de Bertaud " or " Pin Bertaud " was a remarkable tree that stood near the Bertaud castle in Gassin.
barre Port Grimaud

A touristic curiosity

       This majestic tree was a tourist curiosity, painted in particular by Paul Signac and reproduced on many postcards.

       Charles Joly (1835 - 1897), a landscape painter and orientalist, gave a precise description of it: " The height of this pine tree is 16 metres and its circumference 6 metres. The trunk to date is perfectly sound and without any apparent hollows. The head is complete on all sides, although a strong branch must have been mutilated a few years ago because it was obstructing car traffic. The diameter of the head is 26 metres, which gives this enormous parasol a circumference of 78 metres ".
       At the end of the 19th century it was considered to be between 350 and 400 years old, with a trunk height of 4.5 metres and a circumference, at the top of the trunk, of 7 metres.

Carte postale du Pin Bertaud a Gassin
Bertaud pine postcard

       It was located in the middle of the road leading to Saint-Tropez. Then the tramway line linking Cogolin to Saint-Tropez, passed on one side of the pine tree and the road on the other side... Tourists going to Saint Tropez could admire it and it became, from 1889, a real tourist attraction.
       In 1911, the Bertaud pine was classified by the Var departmental commission for the protection of natural sites and monuments, under the presidency of Frédéric Mireur, as historical monument or natural sites to be protected at the same time as the Chartreuse de la Verne or the Sainte-Beaume cave.
       His notoriety has been reproduced in postcards, engravings, drawings and photographs, and cited in various books and magazines.

Majestic centenary, he died in 1924 : The journalist Henry Bidou evokes the death of the tree in the article dedicated to the reception of the Camille Jullian at the French Academy: " The Berthaud pine, under which he wants us to sit, is dead. His gigantic corpse has been shattered. All that remains in the middle of the road is the trunk of a mutilated god."

barre Port Grimaud


       The painter Paul SIGNAC, creator of 'pointillism' and leader of the 'neo-impressionist', discovered Saint-Tropez in 1882 and settled in this village 5 years later when he bought the villa La Hune ... Many artists, such as Matisse or Maurice Denis, will often visit Signac who, fascinated by the sea, will buy a small yacht with which he will sail along the various French coasts.
       From the 1910s onwards, he became interested in landscapes without characters, with an increasingly free palette and a great passion for colours. It was at this time that he was impressed by the beauty of the BERTAUD pine and painted it several times .

Pin Bertaud peint par Paul Signac
Bertaud pine painted by Paul Signac. This oil on canvas is in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.

Pin Bertaud peint par Paul Signac
Another painting by Paul Signac.

Pin Bertaud peint par Paul Signac
Watercolour by Paul Signac 1910(25,5x32cm).

barre Port Grimaud

'Maurin des Maures'

       It was under the Bertaud pine tree that the first meeting between Maurin, the "King of the Moors", and his son took place, in the most famous novel by the Provençal poet Jean Aicard published in 1908, "Maurin des Maures".

       Jean Aicard used the pine again in a scene from the sequel to "Maurin des Maures", "L'Illustre Maurin", then in "L'Ibis Bleu", where he compares another pine to that of Bertaud: "Look at this one", he writes, "how beautiful it is! not as beautiful, to be sure, as the Berthaud pine of Saint-Tropez, but it is very old nonetheless".

Pin Bertaud par André Quellier
croquis de André QUELLIER...

Pin Bertaud
Postcard of the Bertaud pine

Pin Bertaud
Other photo...

  THE WORK of François SPOERRY...

© Yves Lhermitte 2023   Reproduction prohibited without permission...