Cagnes-sur-Mer travel guide

Photo of Cagnes-sur-Mer

Visit Cagnes-sur-Mer (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France)

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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.

Explore Cagnes-sur-Mer and Haut-de-Cagnes

France This Way review: there is a beach and seafront cafes and restaurants in Cagnes-sur-Mer, but if we were staying in this part of the riviera and looking for a beach we would choose Nice or Antibes which both have more attractive sea-fronts than Cagnes. It is Haut-de-Cagnes, the village at the top of the hill, that is the most interesting part of your visit.


Standing as it does in the location of an earlier village occupied in turn by both the greeks and the Romans, 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.

view from the chateau

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 is quite compact but very pleasant to explore.

Standing in the centre of Haut-de-Cagnes, 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 a 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.

Other historic monuments of interest in Haut-de-Cagnes include the church of Saint-Peter and several historic gateways. You will also discover views elsewhere in Haut-de-Cagnes across Cagnes-sur-Mer and beyond.


Elsewhere in Cagnes: the town and beaches

One highlight of a visit to Cagnes is to the estate and Renoir Museum in the Collettes quarter to the east of the centre. 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.

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 and 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. The main beach in Cagnes-sur-Mer is a pebble beach, and a large part of it is freely available to the public - although you can pay and be on a section of the beach with seats and a parasol if you prefer.

You will also find a small shopping centre around the Chapel of Saint-Pierre across the road from the beach, and several cafes right next to the beach.

The beach of Cagnes-sur-Mer

Attractions nearby

Exploring along the coast we recommend you visit both Nice to the north-east and Antibes to the south-west: these two towns are very different in character and both are very lovely towns to explore or to find a different beach.

If you prefer quaint villages you should travel north from Cagnes-sur-Mer and visit both Vence and Saint-Paul-de-Vence, two of the most charming villages in the region.

See more seaside resorts in France. You can find more travel ideas in the Alpes-Maritimes guide and the Provence guide.

See also: 

Photos of Cagnes-sur-Mer

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On of the highlights in the pretty village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence is the famous Museum of Modern Art

Saint-Paul-de-Vence guide
Fondation Maeght

Fondation Maeght

The Fondation Maeght art gallery in Saint-Paul-de-Vence features works by famous modern artists such as Miro and Modigliani

Fondation Maeght guide


The arcacded houses around Place des Arcades are the start of your visit to Biot, a picturesque 'perched village' in Provence

Biot guide


After exploring the walled historic centre of Vence you can take a stroll to the nearby Matisse Chapel

Vence guide


It is the medieval centre and the lovely views that will attract you to the perched village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup

Tourrettes-sur-Loup guide


One of the most picturesque towns on the Riviera, Antibes also has a very lively town centre and a lovely market

Antibes guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Alpes-Maritimes

Address: Cagnes-sur-Mer, Grasse, Provence, 6800, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 43.6644, longitude 7.14889

Plan your visit to Cagnes-sur-Mer, Alpes-Maritimes

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Parc Phœnix: zoo or wildlife park (6 km)
  • Marineland d'Antibes: aquarium (6 km)
  • Jardin botanique de la villa Thuret: remarkable garden (10 km)
  • Baou de Saint-Jeannet: site of natural beauty (10 km)
  • Jardin botanique: remarkable garden (10 km)
  • Nice: secteur sauvegarde (11 km)
  • Cascade de Gairaut: site of natural beauty (12 km)
  • Parc zoologique du Cap Ferrat: zoo or wildlife park (14 km)
  • Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild: remarkable garden (15 km)
  • Gourdon: most beautiful village (15 km)
  • Cannes: ville fleurie 4* (17 km)
  • Le Vallon du Brec: remarkable garden (17 km)

Market days in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France

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)