Cannes is located about 30 km from Nice in the department of Alpes-Maritimes of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.

The city of Cannes possesses an important historical and architectural heritage tied to the Lérins Islands: the fortified monastery on the island of Saint-Honorat, the royal fort on the island of Saint-Marguerite, the Ball ovens.

Cannes Lerins Abbaye gmca 1

Currently, 16 sites in Cannes are classified or listed as Historical Monuments. Among them are the Suquet tower, the Saint Anne chapel and the Notre-Dame-de-l'Espérance church, which are part of the old Cannes town and several 19th century buildings: Villa Domergue, Villa Romée, Hotel Carlton, the music booth of the Allées de la Liberté, the battery of the Convention, and Villa Rothschild.

The history of Cannes is linked above all to the island of Lerina, now known as the island of Saint Honorat. Under the governance of Saint Honorat, l'Abbey became a Christian center of great importance. The power of the Abbey lasted until the 15th century.

In the nineteenth century the appearance of the English aristocracy transformed the city into a winter luxury resort. Since that time the old port has welcomed yachters from around the world. Starting from 1859, the villas-palaces of Croisettes were built and soon thereafter the Cannes regattas became a renowned international yachting event.

Since 1946, its international film festival has made Cannes a privileged place for lovers of great cinema. In addition to the Cannes film festival held each May, the Palais de Festivals also welcomes several international fairs and exhibitions throughout the year. The Port of Cannes has become the rendezvous for pleasure yachts bearing the rich and famous.

During the tasting visits, you will particularly appreciate the cuisine of the Maitres Restaurateurs, as well as the wines of the Abbey of Lérins.


The island Saint-Honorat, formerly Lerina, takes its name after Bishop Saint Honorat, honored by both the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches.

The island of the Saints of the Mediterranean for several centuries, Lerina had become a desert when Honorat first visited at the beginning of the 5th century.

Around the year 400, the apostle founded on the island one of the most powerful abbeys of all Christian times.

Saint-Honorat served as Bishop of Arles from 427 to 430.

Since his death, the Abbey has housed several bishops and saints: Saint Maximin, Saint Loup, Saint Eucher and Saint Cassien.

Following the documents, in 1259 Pope Alexander IV confirmed all the privileges, property, rights and immunities possessed by the Abbey of Lérins.

The abbey counts more than one hundred names of places: convents, priories, seigneuries in Provence, Liguria, Corsica, Catalonia.

From the 15th century onwards, the Abbey of Lérins fell into decline.

By 1787, there remained only four monks, when a royal edict secularized the abbey. Having become national property during the Revolution, it was purchased subsequently by Alziary de Roquefort.

The Abbey can be visited by taking the a ferry from Cannes to Saint-Honorat (Lerina).


The island Saint-Marguerite (Lero) takes its name from a chapel erected in honor of a Saint Margerite, martyred at Antioch in the third century.

There is also a legend saying that St. Margerite was a sister of Honorat.

Lerins Cannes Provence gmca 1

As the rule did not allow women to live on the island of Monastery, Honorat had led her sister to the other island, promising to come and see her once a year. Margueritte accepted, on the condition that this visit should take place at the flowering of the almond-trees. She prayed so strongly that these trees bloomed several times a year ...

In the 17th century Saint-Marguerite became the royal fort. The fortification on the rock was built by Richelieu in 1633. A state prison was installed in in the royal fort, where was detained the “Man in the Iron Mask", probably twin brother of the king.

Currently the Museum of the Sea is located on the site of the royal fort. Its collection contains archaeological excavations. Among the artifacts on display, are objects of pre-Roman occupation and the Hellenistic structured settlement. The collection also contains material from the 4th century AD and decorations from the 1st century BCE (paintings, scultures, and masques).

The island is open for visitation by ferry from the port of Cannes to Saint-Margerite (Lero).


The old town of Cannes was founded around Suquet, port and fortress of the Oxybiens, people of Ligurian origin. This oppidum of the Ligurians later became the Chateau of Marseilles, then the Chateau franc and finally it was integrated into the community of Cannes which had for its suzerain the abbot of Lérins.

One can still find some beautiful testimonials to Cannes’ glorious past: the ruins of a castle started around 1070 by the Abbot of Lérins, Adalbert II, the tower known as Mont Chevalier, the Chapel of Saint Anne and the Church of Our Lady of Good Hope (17th century) with a beautiful reliquary and part of the ancient treasure of the church of Saint Honorat.

Since the 16th century, the castle has been in gradual decline. During the Revolution it was sold as national property. In 1919, the municipality of Cannes acquired all the buildings associated with the site.

Currently the castle of the Suquet hosts the museum of the Castre. The museum features primitive art collections from Himalaya-Tibet, Arctic, Pre-Columbian America, Oceania, Mediterranean antiquities, world music instruments and 19th-century landscape painters from Provence.


In 1834 Lord Brougham, chancellor of England, was on his business trip to Nice. His journey was interrupted by the cordon sanitaire: the Sardinian government of Nice prevented travelers coming from the west of Var river in order to avoid the spread of cholera. Lord Brougham makes a stopover in a fishing village: Cannes. Amazed by the panorama, he decided to come back every winter and he eventually built a home nearby.

Following the chancellor, other aristocrats wanted to know this little paradise and a few years later the peaceful village had become a luxury climate resort with its palaces in the rococo style on the Croisettes. The port of Cannes began to receive its first yachts.

Following the English, Russian aristocrats settled in Cannes. The Orthodox Church of Saint Michael the Archangel built in 1894-1896. It is located on boulevard Alexandre-III.


Since 1946, the International Film Festival made Cannes known all over the world. Movie lovers from around the world come every year in May to attend this event. The steps of the Palace and the aisle of casting of actors hands has become a place of pilgrimage.

Two theaters are located in the city: Alexandre III Theater and Aquarius Theater.

The departmental conservatory of music and theater is installed in the old castle of Font-de-Veyre.

Founded in 1961, the Cannes dance school is considered one of the best in the world. The regional school of actors trains the future professionals of the cinema.



Traditional Provencal Cuisine

The restaurant "Auberge Provençale" in Cannes features Provençal specialties.

Picasso, Sean Connery, George Clooney and Phil Collins came to enjoy the Bouillabaisse, Aioli, small stuffed vegetables, Provençal stew with orange sauce, grilled beef ribs and cockerels.


Grasse is situated about 20 km from  Cannes  in the department of Alpes-Maritimes of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. This medieval town is known primarily for its historical role as a center for the production of perfumes and fragrances.

Grasse is widely regarded as the world’s perfume capital, known best for its production of coveted scents such as lavender, myrtle, jasmine, rose, orange blossom, and mimosa.

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Production of fragrances, perfumes, and flavorings in Grasse is industrial in scale: its collective annual outputs account for nearly half the production in all of France. Indeed, Grasse based enterprises produce approximately 7-8% of total global production.

Started in the 18th century, the perfume sector remains the main commercial sector of Grasse to this day.

With the passage of time, local enterprises have broadened their skills to specialize in the production of essential oils, concentrate oils, absolute oil, and in the manufacture of concentrated essences, sometimes called “juice”, which is used in the production of fragrances. Since the 1970s, many companies in and around Grasse have also focused on the production of food flavorings.

Throughout the year, Grasse shares its rich heritage and know-how with visitors to its international perfume museum, as well as through many of its perfumeries, where one can try local products and also create one’s own perfume or fragrance.


In the Middle Ages, Grasse specialized in leather tanning and production. Its production of leather gloves was well launched in this period, but unfortunately the products gave off unpleasant odors. Galimard, an innovative local tanner in Grasse, came up with the idea to perfume his leather gloves with rose water and spices, according to the method then in use throughout the Middle East. It was a success: a pair of perfumed gloves were offered to Catherine Medici and reportedly pleased her greatly. From that time forward, tanners began to apply this method to their production. Perfumed gloves thereafter were in high demand among courtiers and throughout high society. Later on, the tax on leather and strong competition from artisans in Nice brought about the decline of the tanning industry in Grasse. These developments, in turn, played a central role in encouraging the artisans of Grasse to shift into the production of perfumes.


The International Perfume Museum is the first public institute created to safeguard and promote the world’s heritage of flavors and fragrances.

Established in 1989, it was opened around a bulwark of the fourteenth century fortress and in close proximity to the hotel Pontevès. The Museum exhibition presents the history of the perfume industry in its different dimensions: geography, manufacturing, industry, innovation, applications. The story of the industry is explored through archaeological pieces, art objects and textiles. The museum’s gardens were built in order to preserve the heritage of the Provence fragrances.

For visiting, The International Museum of Perfume is open:

  • 10am-6pm daily September thru June;
  • 10am-7pm daily July and August.

The Museum is closed on the 1st may, 25th december, 1st January and 1st monday of each month from October thru March.

Adress: 2, Boulevard du Jeu de Ballon, 06130 Grasse


This designation "City of Art and History" is typically granted by the Ministry of Culture to cities that promote their historical, cultural and artistic heritage. The national network of Cities and Regions of Art and History has 167 towns and regions across France. It features local heritage from prehistoric times to the 21st century.


The Heritage of Grasse, in its diversity from prehistory to the 21st century is presented through its monuments and museums, including Grasse Cathedral, the Museum of Art and History of Provence, Provencal Museum of Costume and Jewelry, and the Fragonard Museum.


The most representative monument of the medieval city of Grasse is without doubt the Cathedral of "Our Lady of Puy" (Notre Dame du Puy), which dates from the 12th century.

Its style, structure, and décor reflect the Lombard and Ligurian influences. In the Cathedral, on its walls one will find paintings by Rubens, Charles Negro, a beautiful ‘triptych’ by Louis Brea, and the unique religious painting "The washing of the feet" by Jean-Honore Fragonard.  

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For visiting, the Cathedral is open:

  • 9:30am-11:00am and 3:00pm-6:30pm daily July thru September;
  • 9:30am-11:30am and 3:00pm-5:30pm from Monday to Saturday Octobre thru June.


The Museum of Art and History in Provence is located in an 18th century hotel, previously owned by the Marquise de Clapiers-Cabris, a sister of Mirabeau.

The exhibition offers visitors insights into everyday life in Provence through collections of furniture, ceramics, paintings, costumes, and objects of decorative arts from the 17th century through the mid-20th century.

Daily life in old Provence is illustrated by representations of original Provencal cuisine with traditional furniture: tables, scrip boxes, salt and flour wall boxes. Reception rooms and private apartments contain beautiful pieces of furniture from Provence, for example, cabinets, mainly constructed from walnut, decorated with roses, olive branches and jasmine flowers, emblematic and typical of Provence.

Grasse musee art histoire Provence

The small bathroom with a bathtub, water heaters, and garden testify to the lifestyle of the upper classes of the 18th century.

The collection of costumes from the Provençal tradition reflects urban and rural society styles of dress common throughout this region of France during the 18th and 19th centuries.

For visiting, the museum is open every day, except Sundays :

  • 11:00am - 6:00pm October thru March;
  • 10:00am - 7:00pm April thru September.

Closed: May 1st, December 25th, January 1st, and three weeks in November.

Adress : 2 Rue Mirabeau, 06130 Grasse


The Provencal Museum of Costume and Jewelry is located on the former property of Marquise de Cabris, the mother of  Marquis de Clapiers-Cabris and husband of Mirabeau sister.

This noble house holds within its rooms a private collection of Provencal costumes and jewelry of 18th and 19th centuries.

These costumes convey a sense of the lives of farmers, artisans and bastidanes who populated Provence during this period.

The Provencal Museum possesses such treasures of Provence as prized collection of jewelry, and a collection of Provencal furniture of that times.

Grasse Musee Costume Provencal

For visiting, the museum is open all year on Monday to Saturday: 

  • 10:00am-1:00pm and 2:00pm-6:00pm

During summer is usualy open on Sunday, but subject to be confirmed.

Address: 2, rue Jean Ossola, Grasse


Fragonard Museum is located in the hotel of Villeneuve, restored in the spirit of the great houses of Grasse in 18th century. The museum has fifteen major works of the painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) and a collection of paintings by two artists from Grasse, Marguerite Gerard (1761-1837) and Jean-Baptiste Mallet (1759-1835).

For visiting, the museum is open:

  • 10:00am-7:00pm daily April thru September; 
  • 10:30am-5:30pm daily, except Sunday, October thru March.

Closed: May 1st, December 25th, January 1st, and three weeks in November.

Free entrance and free tours.

Address : 14, rue Jean Ossola, 06130 Grasse



Provencal gourmet and traditional French cuisine

The cuisine of the restaurant is granted a Michelin star.

Located in Grasse and situated in an authentic country house built during the XVIII century, the gourmet restaurant offers dishes presented with soft and delicate Mediterranean fragrances.

Guests are welcomed into a bright dining room and onto its terrace with beautiful view of the surrounding hills.

Address: La Bastide Saint Antoine, 48 avenue Henri-Dunant, 06130 Grasse


In the world capital of perfume, perfumeries invite you to visit their factories and workshops, and create your own perfume.


Galimard Perfumery offers a free guided tour of the premises and Perfums creation workshops.

The fragrance studio is open daily, by appointment, for individuals and groups of 1-30 people per session.

The price of the workshop of € 45 includes creation of real "Eau de Parfum" of 100ml. Workshops are offered in English.

The Perfumery is open daily:

  • 9:00am-12:30pm and 2:00pm-6:00pm during winter;
  • 9:00am-6:30pm during summer.


The Molinard Perfumery offers a free guided tour of the premises, as well as the Bar and Fragrances Workshop to create your own perfumes.

In the Bar of Fragrances you choose the base, add the spices that appeal to your taste in order to prepare your personal perfume. You will be allowed to take with you any one of your choice. Without reservation. Select up to 3 bases and 6 essences.

If you choose to visit the Fragrances Workshop, you will acquire a deeper appreciation of the olfactory world. Ninety (90) essences are available to assist you in the creation of your own perfumes, to be sure, under the advice of our consultant specialists.

The Perfumery is open daily:

  • 9:30am-6:30pm October thru March;
  • 9:30am-7:00pm April thru September;

Closed 1:00pm-2:00pm from October to March, and on Sundays.

Hours are subject to change during school holidays.

Last visitors - 1 hour before closing.

Free Parking is available at 60 Boulevard Victor Hugo, 06130 Grasse


Saint-Paul de Vence is situated about 20 km from Nice, in the department of Alpes-Maritimes of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. This medieval village is renowned for its contemporary artistic heritage and its artistic spirit.

Saint Paul de Vence Provence gmca 1

The irresistible charm of Saint-Paul de Vence derives from an artistic tradition that can be traced back to many of the great visual artists of the 20th century: Miro, Matisse, Chagall, Picasso, Léger, and Folon.

The Maeght Foundation, the restaurant Colombe d'Or, numerous artists' studios, and their galleries along the main street of Saint-Paul de Vence make one especially appreciative of this very special place.


The Maeght Foundation was established in 1964. It houses one of most important European collections of paintings, sculptures, drawings and graphic works of the 20th century. Artists such as Bonnard, Braque, Calder, Chagall, Giacometti, Léger, Miro are well represented in the Foundation’s permanent collection.

Initially inspired and funded by Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, the Foundation is the product of close collaboration between a small circle of close friends of the couple: principal buildings were designed by the Catalan architect Josep Luis Sert, the external wall fresco "The Lovers" was created by Marc Chagall, the stained glass of St. Bernard Chapel and pelvis mosaic “Fish" were crafted by Georges Braque. The “creatures” of Joan Miro greet visitors upon their arrival. You, too, will be welcomed by all its "Characters", and later more than a dozen sculptures and ceramics of "Labyrinth Miro" will await you in the garden. A large collection of over 20 works by Alberto Giacometti is presented in the garden and also inside the building. Paintings by Matisse, Calder or Adami, Del Re, Lindner, Fountain de Bury, and additional works by Léger and Hyber round out this wonderful collection.

The Maeght Foundation is open every day, without exception:

  • 10:00am-6:00pm October thru June;
  • 10:00am-7:00pm July thru September.

Address: Fondation Maeght, 623 chemin des Gardettes, 06570 Saint Paul de Vence


The restaurant specializes in Provencal traditional French cuisine. Located at the entrance of the village opposite the Square of Petanque.

It is a gathering place for artists and art lovers alike. Remarkably, the walls of the restaurant “La Colombe d'Or” are covered with paintings by great artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Léger, Klein, Utillo, Caesar, Calder.

The restaurant is open daily for service in the morning, noon and evening.

Annual closing: from early November up to Christmas holidays.

Address: La Colombe d'Or, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence


The village watch tower dates from the 14th century. Known as the “Gate of Vence”, it was fortified in the 16th century. The bastion enclosure of Saint-Paul de Vence was built on the orders of François I during the 1540s.


Within the Church Square (Place de l'Église), “must see” sites include the dungeon of the old castle, the Museum of Local History, the Church of the Conversion of Saint Paul, and the Chapel of White Penitents (Folon Chapel).

The dungeon itself is the only part of the castle which dates from the 12th century. It famously hosted Prestre Sebastien de Vauban, Louis XIV's military architect, François I, and the Count of Provence Raymond Berenger V. Since the 18th century, it has served as the town hall of Saint-Paul de Vence.

The Church of the Conversion of Saint-Paul de Vence was built between the 14th and 18th centuries, and features a mix of architectural styles common to both eras.


François I, Queen Jeanne, Vauban, Jean de Saint-Remy wrote the history of Saint-Paul. Historical figures made ​​of wax from the workshops of the Musee Grevin of Paris are on display, dressed in period costumes. Such exhibits are housed in the Museum of Local History.

Saint Paul de Vence Provence gmca 2

The History Museum is open daily:

  • 11:00am-1:00pm and 3:00pm-6:00pm April thru September
  • 2:00pm-5:00pm October thru March.

Annual closing for the entire month of November, December 25th, and January 1st.

Address: Place de l'église, 06570 Saint-Paul de Vence


The Chapel of White Penitents (Chapelle des Pénitents Blanc), was founded in the 17th century. The Penitents Brotherhood was in residence at Saint-Paul de Vence untill the early 1920s.

During the 2000s, the chapel was restored. Directed by Jean-Michel Folon its internal decoration works include stained glass, paintings, and mosaics. His beautiful work was created around the theme of the "gift."

Saint Paul de Vence Folon Provence France gmca 2

Ticket office located at the Museum of Local History, opposite the chapel.

Folon Chapel is open every day:

  • 11:00am-1:00pm and 3:00pm-6:00pm April thru September;
  • 2:00pm-5:00pm October thru March.

Annual closing the entire month of November, December 25th, and January 1st.

Adresse : Place de l'église, 06570 Saint Paul de Vence


Marc Chagall lived in Saint Paul for nearly 20 years. The artist was inspired by the scenery of the region that was often reproduced on canvas. He spent the final years of his life in Saint-Paul de Vence from 1966 to 1985. He is buried in the local cemetery behind the “Gate of Nice” within the village.

The Maeght Foundation features a mosaic by Marc Chagall which is displayed on one of museum’s exterior walls. In Vence, a village near Saint Paul, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Nativity, built during the 4th to 11th centuries and into the 12th century. It contains on one of its walls another mosaic by Marc Chagall entitled, "Moses Saved from the Waters” («Moïse sauvé des eaux»)."

The collection of Marc Chagall’s paintings in the Museum of Nice, bearing his name and dedicated to his works, is arguably one of the most representative in the world.


Vence, a village in the immediate vicinity of Saint-Paul, you can see one of the most famousworks of Matisse, entitled the “Rosary Chapel” (Chapelle du Rosaire), which was constructed in 1951.

It is worth noting that the “Rosary Chapel” was designed and built entirely under the direction of Matisse: architecture, furniture, stained glass windows.

The “Rosary Chapel” is open for visits:

  • 2:00pm-5:30pm on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
  • 10:00am-11:30am and 2:00pm-5:30pm on Tuesday and Thursday.

Mass on Sunday begins at 10:00am. Closed from mid-November to mid-December on holidays.

Address: 466, avenue Henri Matisse in Vence




Biot is situated about 20 km from  Cannes, in the department of Alpes-Maritimes of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. Its story is closely associated with pottery and glass making, and the guilds which specialized for centuries in the making of jars and large storage containers for wines and foodstuffs.

Biot Provence gmca 1


From the 16th century to today, the craftsmakers of Biot have produced hundreds of thousands of jars and containers. Many thousands were exported throughout the Mediterranean, to the Americas, and to the coast of India over the years.

In the early 20th century, the pottery industry was in decline and the region’s commercial focus shifted to agriculture, vineyards, winemaking, and horticulture.

In 1970, Sophia Antipolis technopolis was created and its environs lie largely within the territory of Biot.

Since the 1970s, in and around the historic center of Biot, modern arts and crafts have been evolving: Léger, Peynet, and many others have established business operations in Biot. Such new enterprises have contributed to the revival of Biot’s reputation as a center for the creative arts and crafts.

With the enactment of the so-called Monod law (1956), the glasswares produced in Biot and, in particular, its famous ‘bubble glass’ were given special acknowledgement.

Indeed, in 1997, Biot was officially designated as a "City of Arts and Crafts" for its original glass and glasswares, symbolizing both the expertise of local craftsmakers and the venerated traditions of the town.

Thus, Biot became the town of noteworthy and world famous ‘Arts and Crafts’.


Many traces of Celtic-Ligurian presence can be found throughout Biot and dating to prehistoric times. In 154 BC, for example, the Ligurians were defeated by the Romans who settled on the present site of the old village.

In the year 1209, the Count of Provence donated the site to the Knights Templar. At about the same time, the leadership of the town designated Biot as the Place of the Arcades and Place of the Church.

Biot and its church were devastated in 1387. In 1470, when King René encouraged fifty families from the Val d'Oneille (currently the region between Genoa and Ventimiglia) to migrate to Biot, invest in the community, and restore its prosperity.

With the suppression of the Knights Templar, the territory of Biot was entrusted, under the aegis of the Knights of Malta (ca. 1530), the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, and the Bishop of Grasse – a joint power sharing arrangement that endured until the time of the French Revolution.


The Museum of History and Ceramics is dedicated to the traditions of Biot.

In the museum one will find a collection jars from the 16th to the 19th centuries, indoor ornamental fountains from the 18th and 19th centuries, costumes, objects of trades and crafts, and photographs reminiscent of a long forgotten way of life.

The Museum of History and Ceramics includes a gallery of contemporary works and, in the former chapel of “White Penitents” of the 17th century, a temporary exhibition hall.  The museum itself is the former Saint-Jacques Hospital.

Address: 8 rue Saint-Sébastien, 06410 Biot


The collection of the National Museum of Fernand Léger contains paintings, ceramics, and drawings of the avantgarde artist, his colorful Cubist compositions created during the 1950’s.

The Park of Fernand Léger was created on land owned by M. Léger.

Biot Musee Ferand Leger Provence gmca

After his death, the creation of a museum and outdoor theater was initiated by his widow. She entrusted the project to Henry Fish and Andrew Svetchine.

In the garden, one will discover monumental works and mosaics by the artist. Mosaics covers also the facade of the museum building. One of them was created for the Velodrome stadium in Hanover.

Address : 316 chemin du Val de Pome, 06410 Biot


In 1997, Biot received the designation "City of Art and History" for its tradition of producing artistic glass and glasswares.

Many studio glassmakers, potters, jewelers, painters, decorators, and leather workers are active in the historic town center and in the immediate vicinity of Biot. One can visit them with or without appointment.


Established in 1956, the Glassware of Biot were recognized for the invention of so-called ‘bubble glass’.

Today, company offers high quality table objects such as glasses, decanters, vases, pitchers, candlesticks in bubble glass of all colors: sand pink, lime, amethyst, blue chintz.

The Glassware of Biot enjoys designation as a “Living Heritage Company” (Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant), meaning the recognition of a rare craft.

Address: 5, Chemin des Combes, 06410 Biot


The restaurant specializes in Provencal traditional cuisine.

The oldest restaurant in Biot "les Arcades" is a major destination for tasting and enjoying traditional Provencal cuisine and viewing the works of famous artists.

The warm and friendly atmosphere of "les Arcades", the restaurant, has long been a place frequented visited by many artists...

To this day, "Les Arcades" keeps the memories of times gone bye alive. In its gallery and on its walls one can view many wonderful works of art.

Address: Place des Arcades, 06410 Biot


Sospel is located on the banks of the Bévéra River roughly 75 km in distance from  Cannes  in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.

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This small medieval village is seductive. Its allure mesmerizes one’s soul with its authenticity and its patrimony: its old toll bridge, the beautiful architectural complex of the Place Saint Michel including its church, its palaces, and houses with their arcades and decorations in trompe l'oeil, and its beautiful medieval fountain.

On the other side of the River Bévéra, one will notice the arcades dating from the Middle Ages.

From the Place Saint-Nicolas by the Rue de la République, one will encounter the Chapelle Baroque Saint-Croix. In more the present day, the Chapel of Saint-Crois has become a venue for concerts of baroque music during the verdant and pleasant warm summer months.

In the street opposite the Pont Vieux, in the direction of Place Saint Michel, there are beautiful twin windows or windows with mullions which are quite rare in the region.

The pavement in "calade" of the place of Saint Michel is dates from the late 17th and early 18th century. It is formed of gray and white pebbles.

Sospel Provence France medieval village


The first traces written on the origins of Sospel date back to the 11th century. The monks of the Lérins Islands (Cannes) first mentioned Sospel in 1095. At that time, Sospel was known as Cespitellum.

The town belonged successively to the County of Ventimiglia, to the County of Provence in 1258, and finally to the County of Savoy. Founded in the 5th century, the village became a free commune of Provence and Savoy during the Middle Ages.

The Great Western Schism occurred in in Western Christendom from 1378 - 1417. The city was at the time under the aegis of the pope of Avignon and later became a bishopric. In 1370, Sospel had taken the side of the pope of Avignon against the antipope of Rome: his church then became a cathedral for a time.

A consular administration, the chief town of viguerie, a strategic square at the confluence of the Bévéra and the Merlanson, Sospel has always been an important place with an influence enhanced by the intellectual influence of the "Academy of the Literary Occupations" created in 1702 and attracted historians, chroniclers and poets.


Sospel was an obligatory point on the "Route du Sel" between Nice and Turin.

Sospel Provence salt road

Transit along the Old Bridge was the object of toll on the old salt road.

The Old Bridge is one of the most remarkable monuments to Sospel and its guilded age. Its construction dates from the beginning of the 13th century. Originally constructed from wooden timbers, it was rebuilt in stone during the year 1522.

The bridge’s strategic importance stemmed from the fact that it constituted the preferred crossing point of the river Bévéra on the salt road that connected Nice and Turin. Its central tower was operated as a toll station for salt tax collection.

Salt was at that time a particularly important commodity because, beyond its nutritional value for men and livestock, it was the only means of preserving foods such as meat and fish.

As early as the Middle Ages, sovereigns sought to take full advantage of the importance of salt as a valuable commodity and introduced a tax on salt: known as "gabelle". This indirect tax assured the regents of fixed revenues from the sale of salt. The tax was paid in the form of buying the salt: taxpayers were obliged to buy imposed quantity of salt from empowered by king farmers-supplies.

The Savoyard sovereigns identified the Nice-Turin axis as a strategic route to transport salt to the Turinese capital from the port of Nice, which itself supplied by sea from the salt pans at Hyères. In 1610, Charles Emmanuel signed a decree ordering the construction of a Nice-Turin road passing through Roya, to replace the old road via Vésubie, as it was considered to be too close the Kingdom of France. The work was completed in less than 4 years. Later, in 1780, Victor Amédée III had improved the road to make it entirely passable. The exploitation of the road reached its apogee under the reigns of the Dukes of Savoy, who understood well the economic interests at stake. In 1860, the annexation of the County of Nice by France ended exploitation of the road.

The 800 years of the Old Bridge (1217-2017) were celebrated on 04 June 2017 through numerous events: costumed animation, medieval dances, concerts ...


The Cathedral of Saint-Michel was originally built in the Romanesque style. It dates from the end of the 13th century and its bell tower of the beginning of the 13th century. The upper part of the facade is from the pre-Romanesque era.

The building was rebuilt in the baroque style in 1641 - 1762 and restored in 1888. Jean André Cuibert, a local builder, built the Cathedral of St Michel de Sospel as well as the church of Gesù, the Cathedral of Sainte Réparate in Nice or Church of the Escarène Saint Michel in the form of a Latin cross. It is the largest church in the Alpes-Maritimes.

The interior of the building is rich with altars, frescoes, gildings, altarpieces. The two interior statues are integrated into niches and represent the protectors of the town of Sospel "Saint-Hippolyte and Saint-Absende". On the left, inside the cathedral stands the "Immaculate Virgin of Sospel" made in 1520. This three-part altarpiece was made by François Bréa painter of Nice from the 15th and early 16th century centuries. On the right stands an altarpiece of the virgin of pity carved wood. The Italian organ of the Agati brothers dates from 1843. The cupola of crushed form is composed of frescoes in trompe l'oeil (optical illusion) showing the assumption of Mary.

The confraternities of Penitents began to establish themselves in Sospel from the 13th century. They were dressed in a dress or "camisou" and wearing a hood. This garment was worn on the occasion of the processions and masses. Their role was a social one and they represented a significant help and support during epidemics or burials. Activists of the social life, the penitents instated the "granite mountain" - loan of grain with a low interest. Besides the classes of the population, the confraternities also corresponded to the different districts. At Sospel there were several brotherhoods on the banks of the Bévéra.


Every year, since 1998, a baroque music festival "les Baroquiales" takes place in Sospel, which runs from 2 June until the beginning of July.