Cagnes-sur-Mer is found on the French riviera between Nice and Antibes. Cagnes consists of three separate parts: Cagnes-sur-Mer, the seaside resort; Cagnes town just behind the resort; and Haut-de-Cagnes, the original settlement on the hill behind.
It is the village at the top of the hill that is most interesting, standing as it does in the location of an earlier village occupied in turn by both the greeks and the Romans. The old village of Cagnes - called Haut-de-Cagnes - has lots of old narrow lanes and stairways to explore and at the top of the hill is the castle for which the town is best known.
Chateau Grimaldi was once the most important centre in the region, when the Grimaldi family were all rich and all powerful, and dates from the 14th-16th centuries. Squat and very strong looking the chateau contains some very interesting highlights, including a stunning internal courtyard with lovely galleries, a fine staircase, a monumental fireplace and an elaborately painted ceiling - dating from the renovation of the castle in the early 17th century that transformed Chateau Grimaldi from fortress to comfortable living space.
Not surprisingly the views from the castle tower out to sea are very impressive. The Mediterranean Museum of Modern Art is in the castle, as is the Museum of the Olives.
The village itself winds around the top of the hill below the castle, with the steep streets lined with numerous attractive medieval and renaissance period houses. To one side is a large open area with a couple of cafes, while the remainder is a mix of narrow streets, houses painted in pastel shades, a small square of arcaded houses...it is quite compact but very pleasant to explore. There are also views across to Cagnes-sur-Mer and beyond.
Musee Renoir: one highlight of a visit is to the estate and museum at Collettes. Cagnes-sur-Mer was the last home of impressionist painter Renoir and his estate can be visited, along with a collection of 11 of his paintings and some other works by well known artists in the Musee Renoir.
Le Cros de Cagnes: the other two parts of the village are the 'new town' at the foot of the hill and the old fishing port called Le Cros de Cagnes (Fishing was the main industry in the village before tourism arrived). Although fishing is no longer such an important industry here the port is still a good place to find a fish restaurant.
From here you also have access to several kilometres of pebble beaches in the main seaside resort of Cagnes-sur-Mer, a popular and bustling destination in the summer months offering numerous sea based activities.
Address: Cagnes-sur-Mer, Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes, Provence, 06800, France || GPS: latitude 43.6644, longitude 7.14889
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Regular market(s) are held in Cagnes-sur-Mer each Wednesday & Tuesday & Thursday & Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Cagnes-sur-Mer (Francais)