When for the first time, tourists or swimmers discover the natural swimming pool of Saorge, called "A Bendoura soutana" by the locals, they are seduced by the beauty of the site and the purity of the water.
Then they can see, engraved with a chisel on the cliff on the left bank, a curious inscription: "Le bain du sémite" (The Semitic bath), surmounted by a date, 1892.
This may be surprising in this valley of essentially Christian culture.
At this stage, the curiosities are sharpened and many hypotheses are put forward, especially when one knows that for a long time in the past, there was a Jewish ghetto at La Brigue, at the time an important center of breeding and wool trade.
In fact, the origin of this inscription is very astonishing.
In fact, it is a joke made by the officers of Alpine hunters, who were stationed in the barracks of Saorge before the 1914-1918 war, to one of their comrades.
The latter, of Jewish origin, great sportsman and skilled swimmer, had developed a real passion for this natural basin with such pure water. In all seasons or as soon as the occasion arose, he bathed there. According to some people, he would even go into the icy water naked on his horse, which attracted the derision of his comrades while secretly envying his performance.
One day, they took advantage of one of his leaves on leave to carry out what they had planned to do to immortalize his passion: to engrave, facing the beach, this inscription so that it would be known to all.
Le Bain du Sémite was entering the tourist pages...
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator