Valbonne

The Village

The old village of Valbonne has retained much of its 16th-century character, though mixed with an active town atmosphere. In contrast to the twisty little streets in the hundreds of other medieval villages of beyong, Valbonne village is laid out in neat, symmetrical rectangles planned by the Abbot of Lerins, following the layout of Roman cities.

In the center of the village is the very lovely, 16th-century Place des Arcades. This central square is surrounded on all four sides by picturesque arcades, café terraces and little shops. The arcade at the "Hotel Les Armoiries" is engraved with a stone as "1628".

Dispersed through the little streets are more shops and a few, well-respected restaurants here and there.

At the bottom of the village, across the street below the rectangle of the center, is the 12th-century Eglise Saint Blaise, the attached Chalaisien Abbey (or "Ancien Couvent Chalaisien"), the Moulin des Moines, and a very ancient-looking carved-stone monument. The Couvent Abbey is being restored, and is looking very smart.

Valbonne Village is a peaceful and welcoming village dedicated to the enjoyment of life and conviviality. Valbonne Village offers its visitors numerous opportunities to while away their stay in a high quality living environment.

It is worth looking out for a certain number of curiosities during your stroll through the village, in particular:

- The drinking trough and the fountain, built in August 1834 at the same time as a 1,012 metre long canal. So many plans were drawn up, proposals made and prospective sites explored that it took 40 years to build this fountain.

- The rings in the walls used to tie up mules, donkeys and horses in front of the houses.

- The "wheel catcher" stones sealed into the ground at the corners of streets used to slow down or stop runaway carts.

- The sundials, very frequent in the country between the mountains and the coast, some of the polychrome ones are remarkable.

- The steps, true items of "village furniture", leading up to the houses. They become impromptu benches for sitting out in the cool of summer evenings.You will notice that the façades are often higher than they are wide. The stable was on the ground floor, with a door giving access to the upper floors, the last of which was used as a granary and hayloft, equipped with pulleys hooks for hauling up the harvest. Excavated cellars are rare. You will find one on the place des Arcades.

he Hôtel Dieu is the Village's last hostel built in 1786 using legacies and rents. Its function was to house the village poor and passing beggars.

One of the characteristics of the "rampart houses" is that the central part seems to have been erected as and when needed. The doors, embedded directly into the wall on hinges, rest on a rebate in the stone frame. Wooden doorframes appear later with a glazed overpanel, sometimes fitted with bars.

Many lintels and doorframes date from the XVIth and XVIIth centuries and were made from poor quality materials found on site by a very poor population.

Trompe l’œil, a pictorial technique used to replace the real window that had been condemned in order to avoid paying the tax on windows and doors.

Beside the village to the west, across the street, is a modern, little line of shops and a parking lot. It has at least one restaurant, newspaper shop (tobacconist), a traiteur, the best (and most expensive) greengrocer of the area, and the post office is at the far end of the parking lot.

Office de Tourisme (tourist office) of Valbonne Sophia Antipolis

1 place de l'Hôtel de ville (at the edge of the village, on the D3 to Mougins)

06560 Valbonne Sophia Antipolis

Tél: +33(0)4 93 12 34 50

Fax : +33(0)4 93 12 34 57

www.tourisme-valbonne.com

Opening hours:

All year round:

- from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

- on Saturday from 9:00 am to 12:30 am

From the 15th of June to the 15th of September:

- from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

- on Saturday from 9:00 am to 12:30 am and from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

- on Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:30 am


Dates

Market day: Friday, 7.30 am-1.30 pm, Place des Arcades

Last Weekend Jan - Fête du Raisin. Fete de la Sainte Blaise - Carnaval, floats, folklorique

15-16 Aug - Fête patronale

Every Mar - Festival de théâtre

Every Oct - Journée provençale


Hiking - Sentier de la Brague

This lovely trail follows the river Brague all the way between Valbonne and Biot, and is mostly in heavy shade through the woods -- excellent for a hot summer's day. The path is marked as a 3h10 hike from one end to the other, but that time is for a very leisurely walk.

To find the start, walk up the road that circles below the village past the church. Where the road curves up to the east past the cemetery, a small road (closed to cars) turns down to the right, with a "Sentier de la Brague" sign at the start of the road.

The woods are lovely, the river sounds fresh and nice, and the good path is easy to follow without a map.

Biot was first colonised by the Romans 2000 years ago and Roman remains can still be seen. The village was a Templars commander in the 13th century and then came the Malta knights. Biot was abandoned after the plague but was repopulated by fifty families from Italy in 1470. As you walk around Biot there are medieval gateways, coloured mosaics, Maltese crosses and engraved stones to be seen.

Famous artists such as Raymond Peyner and Fernand Leger chose to live in Biot as well as the Swedish ceramist Hans Hedberg, glassblower Jean-Claude Novaro... and pianist Richard Clayderman. The Fernand Leger national museum, chemin du Val de Pome, exhibits a collection of his paintings and ceramics. In the same street is the Bonsai Arboretum - 2000 sq m of Japanese garden with its exceptional collection of bonsai. The Biot History and Ceramics museum in the centre of the village is open 2pm-6pm every day except Monday and Tuesday in the winter and 10am to 6pm in the summer.

Just before you reach the main square is leather maker Marc Zanardelli with beautiful handbags and other small leathers on sale. He takes commissions for individual pieces as does the stylish glass maker opposite - Mando. The village is also home to jewellery makers, painters, ironworks and a cutlery factory.

An historical Itinerary, a geological itinerary, a glass-makers’ Itinerary and an Arts and Crafts Itinerary, four different ways to discover and rediscover the many facets of Biot. Let yourself be guided !


Office de tourisme

46 rue Saint Sébastien

06410 Biot

00 33 (0)4 93 65 78 00

www.biot.fr

Email : [email protected]

The village of Mougins is among the prettiest in the Alpes-Maritimes. It's surrounded by pine forests and citrus and olive groves, and there's a spectacular park nearby: Fontmerle Pond

In modern times, Mougins has been frequented and inhabited by many artists and celebrities, including Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Fernand Léger, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Winston Churchill, Catherine Deneuve, Édith Piaf and Jacques Brel, to name but a few. Pablo Picasso spent the last 12 years of his life living in Mougins (1961–1973), where he died. He lived in a 'mas' (farmhouse) at Notre-Dame-de-Vie, which is a small hilltop just beside the old village of Mougins and next to the 12th-century chapel of the same name. Picasso's studio was in the old village in a building that is now the tourist office, while the studio of Fernand Léger was above what is now the village wine shop, next to the rear of the Mougins Museum of Classical Art (MMoCA).

Mougins has a strong culinary history with such great chefs as Roger Vergé and Alain Ducasse having managed restaurants in the village. Both were synonymous with the restaurant L'Amandier, which is situated in the heart of the old village. This restaurant still exists today and is housed in an important ancient building, as during the Middle Ages this was the court house of the Monks of Saint Honorat, before becoming an almond mill in the 18th/19th centuries. Denis Fetisson, who received the Jacquart Trophy for the Rising Star in Gastronomy in 2006, now manages L'Amandier and is also the manager and head chef at La Place de Mougins (previously Le Feu Follet, regularly frequented by Picasso) which is another important restaurant in the heart of the old village. Fetisson moved to Mougins in April 2010 having just been the head chef at the two-Michelin Star restaurant, Le Cheval Blanc, in Courchevel just prior. Like Ducasse, Fetisson worked at L'Amandier in his early career before returning to Mougins again in 2010.

When Roger Vergé opened his Moulin de Mougins in 1969 there were 7 restaurants in the commune. This famous restaurant is a refurbished 16th-century mill, located on the D3 road a couple of km southeast of the perched village. In January 2004, chef Alain Llorca, previously of the Chanticler dining room at the Negresco palace in Nice, took over the "Moulin" from M. Vergé.

Today, according to a tourist-office brochure, there are around 50 Mougins restaurants.

Mougins has kept the quality of its environment intact and offers visitors, from the height of 260 metres, a 360-degree view of the Cðte D'Azur. To the south, one views the Mediterranean Sea, including the "baie de Cannes" and the Lérins islands. To the northwest, one looks over the ancient village of Grasse, famous for its perfumeries, and to the northeast one has a clear view of the stunning mountains of the Maritime Alps (Préalpes), while the village is also surrounded by the Valmasque Forest, which covers 427 hectares. The well known Royal Mougins Golf Club is just a short drive from this historic village.

Office de Tourisme

Parking du Moulin de la Croix

(in the first parking lot at the entrance to the village).

Tel : 04 93 75 87 67; Fax: 04 92 92 04 03

www.mougins-coteazur.org

Email: [email protected]


Cooking - Roger Vergé Ecole de Cuisine

Location: Place du Commandant Lamy

Tel: 0493 753 570

Owned by Roger Vergé; chef Alexandre Couvet The Roger Vergé cooking school (Ecole de Cuisine) is beside the Amandier restaurant in Mougins.

Antibes

Antibes Juan-les-Pins is an ancient city whose varied and fascinating history goes back 2,400 years. It was a Greek fortified town named Antipolis in the 5th century BC, and later a Roman town, and always an active port for trading along the Mediterranean. The 16th-century Fort Carré is a massive, star-shaped fortress on a promontory overlooking the Port Vauban. The fort is built on the site of the Chapelle St. Laurent, which sat on the ruins of the Temple of Mercury. You can't visit the fort, but there's a nice walk around it. The town continued to increase in size after the first World War, but remained less urbanised than other towns on the coast. It is perhaps for this reason that it has retained its charm, and attracted such artists as Prévert, Audiberti, Greene, Picasso and Monet who found great inspiration in the quaint, historic atmosphere of the town. 

The natural beauty remains in the vieille ville (old town), with the ramparts along the sea and the long, arched protective wall along the port. There are plenty of little streets for exploring, restaurants of all types and prices, and lots of shops, from authentic little hardware/general-stores to tourist gift shops.

It stages many prestigious international events, including the famous “Music at the Heart”, “Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival”, the oldest in Europe, “Underwater Images World Festival”, and the renowned “Old Antibes Antique Fair”. Antibes (recently it became Antibes-Juan-les-Pins) is the second town in the department today with more than 73,000 inhabitants and has the largest yachting harbour in Europe.

Antibes Juan-les-Pins also contains the Picasso Museum, and the Peynet Museum, through which it has attained its reputation as being the town of lovers and one of the most romantic in Europe. There is also the marine zoo, Marineland, Villa Eilenroc and the beautiful villas on Cap d'Antibes where the rich and famous of the world hide away.

Marché Provençal (covered market):

Sept-May: Tue-Sun mornings;

June-Aug: all mornings

At the Cours Massena, in front of the Mairie Fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and flowers, along with other regional products

Artisanal - Marché Provençal(covered market): Sun afternoons

Foire (clothing market): Thursday Rue Fontvieille, behind the post office

Brocante: Thursday, Saturday; 8h-19h

Place Jacques Audiberti, between the Porte Marine and the Place Massena


Office de Tourisme d'Antibes

11, place du Général de Gaulle

06601 Antibes

Tél : +33(0) 4 97 23 11 11

www.antibesjuanlespins.com  

Nice is the fifth most populous city in France, after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse, with a population of about 349.000. Located on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, Nice is second largest French city on the Mediterranean coast after Marseille. The city is nicknamed Nice la Belle which means Nice the Beautiful.


The area of today’s Nice is believed to be among the oldest human settlements in Europe. One of the archaeological sites, Terra Amata, displays evidence of a very early usage of fire. Around 350 BCE, Greeks of Marseille founded a permanent settlement and called it Nikaia, after Nike, the goddess of victory. Throughout the ages the town changed hands many times. Its strategic location and port significantly contributed to its maritime strength. 

For years, it was an Italian dominion, then became part of France in 1860. Culturally and architecturally enriched over time, today Nice has become a truly cosmopolitan tourist destination. The spectacular natural beauty of the Nice area and its mild Mediterranean climate came to the attention of the English upper classes in the second half of the 18th century, when an increasing number of aristocratic families took to spending their winter there. The city’s main seaside promenade, the Promenade des Anglais (‘the Walkway of the English’) owes its name to the earliest visitors to the resort. 

For decades now, the picturesque Nicean surroundings have attracted not only those in search of relaxation, but also those seeking inspiration. The clear air and soft light has been of particular appeal to some of Western culture’s most outstanding painters, such as March Chagall, Henri Matisse, Niki de Saint Phalle and Arman. Their work is commemorated in many of the city’s museums. The Musee d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain (Modern and Contemporary Art Museum) is located in an impressive building near Nice's Acropolis Convention Centre. The museum features art works by Andy Warhol, Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint-Phalle. The Musee des Beaux Arts (Fine Arts Museum) features work from great Impressionist and post-Impressionist artists including Monet, Renoir, Duffy and Sisley. The Musee Chagall features the world's largest collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures by the artist Marc Chagall. Among the works on display are Matise's 17 Biblical Message paintings.

The climate and landscape are still what attracts most visitors today and it’s the second-most visited place in France after Paris, receiving 4 million tourists every year. Many tourists travel to Nice to enjoy its warm, dry weather and long beaches. The pebble beach in Nice stretches for miles along the French coastline. Restaurants and boat rental shops can be found along the Mediterranean seaside.

The main outdoor market in Nice (Marche aux Fleurs) can be found in the old city (Vieux Nice) near the seaside. Fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers can be purchased at this city market at a reasonable price.

The Musee d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain

(Modern and Contemporary Art Museum)

Promenade des Arts

06364 Nice cedex 4

Tel: + 33 (0)4 97 13 42 01

www.mamac-nice.org

Parking places: Promenade des Arts and Marshall

Open every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, except on : monday, the 1st of January, the Easter Sunday, the 1st of May and the 25th of December

Musée des Beaux Arts

33, avenue des Baumettes,

Nice 06000

Tel: +33 4 9215 2828

www.musee-beaux-arts-nice.org

Open: every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Closed: Monday, Easter Sunday, May 1 and December 25.


Musée Nationale Marc Chagalles

Avenue Docteur Ménard

06000, Nice

Tel: + 33 (0)4 93 53 87 20

www.musee-chagall.fr

Open:

May – October: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

November – April: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Closed on Monday, January 1, May 1 and December 25.


Nice Centre - Main tourist office

5 Promenade des Anglais

Tél. : 0 892 707 407

Open:

October - May:

09:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday – Saturday

June – September:

08:00 am – 8:00 pm Monday – Saturday

09:00 am – 7:00pm Sunday

Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur – Terminal 1 Tourist Office

Tél. : 0 892 707 407

Open:

October - May:

08:00 am – 9:00 pm Monday – Saturday

June – September:

08:00 am – 9:00 pm Monday – Sunday

Avenue Thiers (gare SNCF) Tourist office

Tél. : 0 892 707 407

Open:

October - May:

08:00 am – 7:00 pm Monday – Saturday

10:00 am – 5:00pm Sunday

June – September:

08:00 am – 8:00 pm Monday – Saturday

09:00 am – 7:00pm Sunday

Cannes is one of the best-known cities of the French Riviera, a busy tourist destination and host of the annual Cannes Film Festival. The city is also famous for its various luxury shops, restaurants, and hotels. La Croisette is the waterfront avenue with palm trees. La Croisette is known for picturesque beaches and for restaurants, cafés and boutiques. La Suquet, the old town, provides a good view of La Croisette. The fortified tower and Chapel of St Anne house the Musée de la Castre.

Nineteenth-century Cannes can still be seen in its grand villas, built to reflect the wealth and standing of their owners and inspired by anything from medieval castles to Roman villas. The Villa Rothschild is now the main Cannes library - Mediatheque Noailles - and is open to the public. It was built in 1881 in the neoclassical style and during WW11 was occupied by the German Kammandantur. The villa is well worth a visit to see the splendour of the building, the finely carved oak wood panelling and plasterwork, as well as its trompe l'oeil paintings.

Lord Brougham’s Italianate Villa Eléonore Louise (one of the first in Cannes) was built between 1835 and 1839. Also known as the Quartier des Anglais, this is the oldest residential area in Cannes. Another landmark is the Villa Fiésole (known today as the Villa Domergue) designed by Jean-Gabriel Domergue in the style of Fiesole, near Florence.The villas are not open to the public. Villa Domergue may be visited on appointment.

There are two islands just of the coast off Cannes: Île Sainte-Marguerite (St. Marguerite Island) and Île Saint-Honorat (St. Honorat Island). It took "The Man in the Iron Mask" 11 years to leave the tiny, forested island Île Sainte-Marguerite. The mysterious individual was believed to be of noble blood, but his identity has never been proven. His cell can be visited in the Fort of St Marguerite, now renamed the Musée de la Mer (Museum of the Sea). This museum also houses discoveries from shipwrecks off the island, including Roman (first century BC) and Saracen (10th century AD) ceramics. Cistercian monks are the only inhabitants of the smaller, southern St Honorat Island. Monks have inhabited the island since AD410 and, at the height of their powers, owned Cannes, Mougins and Vallauris. Medieval vestiges remain in the stark church, which is open to the public, and in the ruins of the 11th-century monastery on the sea’s edge. The monks divide their time between prayer and producing red and white wines.  

Seven and a half kilometers of wonderful yellow sandy beaches. For the fifth year the town is protecting bathers from jelly fish with special nets along the Gazagnaire, Mace and Roubine public beaches. They are in place until the end of September. The town has planted scores of palm trees on the public beaches to provide welcome shade. There are also showers plus waste bins and loos available. Cafes (kiosks) can be found all along the 15 kilometres of Cannes coastline - from Mourre Rouge at Palm Beach to Trou de l'ancre at La Bocca on the border with Mandelieu. There are 60 people to look after your safety on the beaches including lifeguards and police. There are five beach volley ball "courts" - open to all from 8am till midnight - located near kiosks 16 and 33. Also at these points are to be found a host of watersport facilities. The 33 private beaches and restaurants are mainly in the town along the Croisette and on the boulevard du Midi, around the corner from the old port.

Scattered among the private beaches in town are public beaches, such as Plage Mace. Many locals head for the miles of public beach along the Boulevard du Midi and a well kept secret is les Rochers (opposite La Bocca railway station) which is great for snorkelling. There is also a special beach at Bijou Plage for handicapped people - look out for Handiplage. And there are two municipally managed beaches in town - Mace and Zamenoff - where you can hire sunbeds and parasols. Private beaches are not cheap but they are so Cannes it's worth splashing out for a day or half a day.

Cannes is a shopaholic’s paradise. The Croisette boasts most of the biggest name brands in the world with the rue d’Antibesoffering more affordable clothes and shoes as well as antiques and art shops. The small roads between the two have a plethora of boutiques to suit all tastes.

Cannes Film Murals: The movies, not surprisingly, are the theme of the 15 painted wallsto be found throughout Cannes. Conceived in 2002 by the local council, the first four were inaugurated in 2004. The one most people see is near the bus station and depicts 100 years of cinema. Can you spot Mickey Mouse and R2-D2 or Batman and Superman? Charlie Chaplin is to be found at 10 Bd Vallombrosa; Marilyn Monroe at 16 Bd d'Alsace; Buster Keaton at 29 Bd Victor Tuby; Gerard Philipe, born in Cannes, 3 Bd Victor Tuby; Alain Delon in Plein Soleil at Avenue Francis Tonner; Harold Lloyd at 9 rue Louis Braille; and Jean Gabin at Place de la Gare (railway station). Also at the railway station is a wall painting paying homage to the Lumiere brothers' 'Arrival of a train in La Ciotat' - the first film ever to be screened in public. Cannes' film-car museum mural at the Berthelot car park, in Republique, features Mad Max to Starsky and Hutch, Bonny and Clyde to Ghostbusters and many more. 

Main Tourist Office - Palais des Festivals et des Congrès :

Located in the famous Palais des Festivals

1, boulevard de la Croisette

06400 Cannes

Tel : + 33 (0) 4 92 99 84 22

www.cannestravel.com

Open: November – February: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

March – June and September & October: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm

July and August: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm

Railway station Tourist Office :

Located at the exit of the railway station

Place de la Gare

06400 Cannes

Tel : + 33 (0) 4 92 99 84 22

Open: all year long: Mon. – Sat. from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm and from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm.

Cannes La Bocca Tourist Office :

Located in front of the typical market of La Bocca.

Place du Marché

1, rue Pierre Sémard

06150 Cannes La Bocca

Tel : + 33 (0) 4 92 99 84 22

Open: all year long: Tue - Sat from 9:00 am – 12:00 am and from 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm

July/August: Open from Tue – Sat from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm and from 3:30 pm – 7:00 pm