Callian, a magnificent village typical of Var, forms a spiral pattern around a private medieval chateau, rebuilt in the 17th century. One of the edifice’s two towers boasts a clock that gives it its name. At the base of the tower, there is a door with a decorated lintel that may pass unnoticed, on which there is a pig’s head. Over time its snout has become polished from the caresses of thousands of hands, since, as the small sign next to it tells you, this snout supposedly brings good luck:
“Ô toi qui viens de loin, Si tu frottes mon groin, À coup sûr, très grand bien, À jamais sera tien” (Oh you who come from afar, If you rub my snout, Much good, without a doubt, Will be yours forever)
In 1958, Henri Briffaut, who had been the tutor of Baudouin, KIng of the Belgians, when the latter was a young prince, found himself enchanted by the ruins of chateau de Callian. He acquired the property and restored it with respect and good taste, winning several awards. A painter, writer and sculptor, Briffaut placed several examples of his own creations here and there; the imaginary animals standing along the ramparts like somewhat dreamlike contemporary gargoyles, but also, in front of the little door to the chateau on rue de Lyle, a stone knight bearing a cross potent, and of course the realistic pig’s head on the door of the clock tower.
(Adapted from Secret French Riviera by Jean-Pierre Cassely)