Haut de Cagnes is a charming, fortified medieval village ideally situated between Nice and Antibes. It is a short car journey from Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport and is the oldest district of Cagnes sur Mer.
The original Grimaldi Castle tops this enchanting town with gorgeous views over the diverse Côte d’Azur landscape. This landscape encompasses the Alps, the Mediterranean, its pretty inland villages, Nice and Cap d’Antibes. Haut de Cagnes was the haunt of Renoir, Modiglian, Soutine, Yves Klein, Bardot and Cocteau. It was known as the ‘Montmartre of the French Riviera’. It’s easy to see why many famous artists lived or found their inspiration here. Above all, they fell in love with the soft Mediterranean light and honest authenticity.
Haut de Cagnes was listed as a historical site in 1948 and still holds the calm, friendly atmosphere of French village life. In addition, these days it is combined with a refreshing international mix. This fairytale village is enchanting and delightful.
The Château was built in around 1300 by Reinier Grimaldi, Lord of Cagnes and Admiral of France. Its purpose was to keep watch and defend the beautiful Riviera coastline. For instance, for two centuries it withstood sieges and assaults before becoming a stately home in around 1620. After that, it was renovated and restored around 1873 and changed hands several times before being bought by the town in 1937. In addition, the Grimaldi Castle became the Municipal Museum in 1946. Today it is a marvelous setting, which houses the Olive Tree Museum, the Solidor Donation, the Modern Art Museum and numerous contemporary exhibitions.
Its Renaissance interior is a masterpiece. It has layers of arcaded galleries, vast frescoed ceilings, stuccoed reliefs of historical scenes and gorgeously ornamented chambers and chapels. In addition, the Donation Solidor contains a wonderfully selection of diverse portraits of the cabaret star, Suzy Solidor. Her career spanned the 1920s to the 1970s – she spent the last 25 years of her life in Cagnes.
The reconstruction of an olive mill and exhibition highlighting the importance of the olive to the region. Explore this on the lower level and enjoy an amazing panoramic view from the top over the sea and medieval town.
This charming, perched village has so much more to offer. Discover its tiers of tiny streets, climbing soft stone walls and colourful houses bursting with history. In addition, its tiny squares are carefully tended. It’s decorated with terracotta pots of flowering jasmine, geraniums, fig trees and wisteria. One of oldest buildings in the village is the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Protection. This is a bijou 14th Century chapel erected as protection against the plague. It contains beautiful frescoes from 1530.
There are plenty of bustling restaurants and cafés on the main street and Place du Chateau. Numerous historical cultural events and colourful festivals are held throughout the year.
A short stroll down the hill will bring you to the town of Cagnes. In other words, this provides all amenities such as a boulangerie, a patisserie and supermarket. In addition, there is a post office, the main bus square and a wonderful covered food market. Close to the town centre lies the Renoir Museum, the Hippodrome for horse racing and Cros de Cagnes. This is the seaside resort of Cagnes sur Mer with its private and public beaches.
The location is central to so many things to see and do and is great value with a return bus trip to most towns only costing €3. You won’t be disappointed!