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La Mole (Municipality, Var, France)

Last modified: 2012-04-22 by ivan sache
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[Flag of La Mole]

Flag of La Mole - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 December 2011


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Presentation of La Mole

The municipality of La Mole (970 inhabitants in 2008; 4,528 ha) is located 25 km south-west of Saint-Tropez, in the Maures massif. The municipality of Le Rayol-Canadel seceded from La Mole in 1949.

La Mole is a Provencal village that lived in the past from local products, that is timber wood from the Maures forest (from the Provencal word maourou, "dark wood", and not from the Moors), cork, grapevine and reeds transformed into reeds for wind instrument in the neighboring town of Cogolin.
The village was mentioned for the first time in a chart dated 1008, as "ad Molam" (Near the grindstone's workshop), then as "castrum de Mola" and "Mola" (1079). The village was originally built on the top of the St. Magdalene hill from which the Saracens had been expelled. It was then ruled by the St. Victor Abbey in Marseilles. Destroyed during the Wars of Succession of Queen Joan, La Mole was rebuilt in the plain, c. 1 km down from the hill. Little has remained from the old village but the St. Magdalena chapel, used as a parish church until 1872 (which preserved it from destruction).

The castle was subsequently replaced by a manor. The Barony of La Mole, including the manor, was purchased in 1770 by Emmanuel I Boyer de Fonscolombe (1744-1810) from the Suffren family. The title was confirmed in 1864 by Napoléon III to Emmanuel's son, Emmanuel II Boyer de Fonscolombe (1810-1875). On 8 June 1896, Marie Boyer de Fonscolombe (1875-1972), Emmanuel II's grand daughter, married Jean de Saint-Éxupéry (1863-1904). They had five children who used to stay with their grand parents in the manor of La Mole; on 14 March 1904, on his way to La Mole, Jean de Saint-Éxupéry died from a stroke. Their elder son, the writer and airman Antoine de Saint-Éxupéry (1900-1944, website) is said to have described the manor in his most famous book, "The Little Prince". The only matching sentence in the book appears in Chapter IV, "I have seen a beautiful house made of pink bricks with geraniums on the windows and doves on the roof..."
A local tradition says that the four white oxen "invited" to the coronation ceremony of Emperor Napoléon I had been reared in the hamlet of Bauduffe, part of La Mole.

Source: Municipal website, former version

Ivan Sache, 3 December 2011


Flag of La Mole

The flag of La Mole (photo) is vertically divided yellow-white-yellow with the municipal arms in the middle.
It can be speculated that the design of the flag was inspired by the red-white-red flag of Saint-Tropez.
The municipal administration of La Mole kindly confirmed in September 2006 that nothing was known locally on the meaning of the colors of the flag, which are actually the municipal colors.

The arms of La Mole (description) are "Vert a bend sinister wavy argent in chief a grindstone of the same".
The shield is surmounted by a mural crown with two towers representing the two towers actually located on the municipal territory. The shield is surrounded by branches of oak and chestnut, symbolizing the Maures forest that surrounds La Mole.
The arms are canting, the grindstone (in French, meule) recalling that the village was originally known as "ad molam"; moreover, the wavy stripe represents brook Mole that crosses the municipal territory.

Dominique Cureau, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 4 December 2011