Beuil is proud of its prestigious origins and glorious past which have forged its traditions, still meaningful for its population.
Archives mention the name of St Eldrade as early as the 9th century. Born in Beuil, he was the founder of a hospice and was appointed Abbot of Novalesa, the parish church of which still harbours his relics.
THE GRIMALDI PERIOD
After having disposed of Guillaume Rostaing, a tyrannical ruler, the inhabitants of Beuil called upon one of the Grimaldis, whose family had some influence on the Duke of Savoy and the King of France. Earls, then Counts of Beuil, the Grimaldis ruled for two centuries. A conflict with the Duke of Savoy was fatal to Annibal Grimaldi, the last Count of Beuil,and the castle of Beuil was razed to the ground in 1633. Two centuries later, Napoleon’s army annexed the region to France. Count Mattéi, who was then living in Turin, renounced all his rights over Beuil and sold all his property to the villagers. Mattéi renonce à ses droits sur Beuil et vend ses biens aux villageois.
…at the beginning of the 19th century, Joseph Garnier, the director of the Business School of Nice, a journalist born in Beuil, became a member of the Academy of Moral Sciences before being elected Member of Parliament in 1871 and then Senator of the Alpes Maritimes in 1876. He was the one who launched the idea of the road from Touet-sur-Var to Beuil through the Gorges du Cians. During World War II, Lieutenant-Colonel Marcel Pourchier, the founder of the School of Mountaineering, was executed by the Nazis in 1944, as was his brother Commandant Albert Pourchier.
Other personalities, from outside Beuil, have left their mark on the history of the village.
A scientist, M.Bishoffsheim, a Member of Parliament for the Alpes Maritimes, and the founder of the Observatory in Nice, had another observatory built on Mount Mounier in 1893. Among other famous scientists, Captain Louis Ferber built a biplane and tested it at Beuil in 1902.
With the Chevalier Victor Spitalieri de Cessole….
It is probably he who influenced the history of Beuil most lastingly. Engaged in studying and photographing the Alps, he climbed the highest point of the region, Mount Mounier, above Beuil, in August 1892. Falling in love with the location, he wrote a brochure on the beauty of the site and came back to Beuil together with some Chasseurs Alpins (Mountain Infantry) to study the possibilities of opening the place to winter sports. In March 1910, with the collaboration of the Alpes Maritimes Ski Club , he organized the first skiing competition.