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Sainte-Agnès

Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Alpes-Maritimes

Sainte-Agnès - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Alpes-Maritimes
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Legend has it that the name Sainte-Agnès comes from the story of a princess who had taken refuge in a cave in the village during a storm. It is true that this little community in the hills has something magical about it, suspended right in the middle of the mountains. This is the highest village on the Mediterranean coast, recognisable by its houses clinging to the mountainside, packed close together. Enjoy a wander along its streets, admiring the flower-adorned houses built on a slope. The alleys wind around them, wedged between the mountain peaks and the Mediterranean. Downhill, you can make out the ochre roofs of the town of Menton and Italy in the distance, while herds of goats frolic in the surrounding greenery, on the steep hillside of the Col de la Madone.

Sites of interest in Sainte-Agnès include the military fort, which is strongly recommended. This structure once helped to repel the Italians and was part of the Maginot line. You explore this building suspended on a rocky outcrop by discovering its 2,000 m² of galleries, command posts and guns, and its various rooms, such as the kitchens, engine room, dormitories and sanitary facilities: a real immersion in the daily life of soldiers in the Second World War!

To discover the local heritage, don't hesitate to drop by the boutiques in Sainte-Agnès, which stock a wide range of craft items such as glassware or pottery. You should also take some time to chat with the locals. They will tell you how nice it is to live in this peaceful little mountain village...

Additional information
Sainte-Agnès

The highest village in Europe ranked among the most beautiful villages in France, Sainte-Agnès takes place in the heart of the Alpes-Maritimes, on the heights of Menton. It is located at the limits of Peille, Castillon and Gorbio.

According to legend, the town would take its name from an Italian princess named Agnès, who would have taken refuge in a cave located not far in a big storm. But it is in the course of the Middle Ages that it really develops, especially with the construction of the castle on its rocky peak in the twelfth century. Long a coveted object of the Counts of Ventimiglia, Counts of Provence, Grimaldi or the House of Savoy, it was owned by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia from 1814 until its attachment to France in 1860. In the Second World War, its fort built in the 1930s was the last link in the Maginot line to stop Italian troops.

Mainly turned to tourism today, the village of Sainte-Agnès seduced by its setting, its architectural heritage, its craft activities but also by its cultural dynamism.

Things to see and do

Located 800 meters above sea level on a rocky outcrop, the Sainte-Agnès castle offers incredible views of the bay of Menton and the Mediterranean. The remains of this ancient medieval castle have long been a nest of eagles impregnable by the enemies of the village. Shaved on the orders of Louis XIV, it was built on a former Roman castrum and still has a tower of the late tenth century. Next to it, the medieval garden blossoms with gentleness. Brought up to date, it was entirely created by the association of Painters of the Sun to discover several types of Mediterranean plants. We discover a garden of virtues, taste, smells or even a fountain of life.

While strolling in the village, you will also be able to admire the church Notre-Dame-of-Neiges with its tiles in glazed scales, the church Saint-Michel of Cabrolles, or the chapels of the White Penitents, San Sebastian, d Anna or Saint Pascal des Cabrolles.

The chapel Saint-Charles now hosts a museum run by the Painters of the Sun, including paintings by local artists, a collection of tools and old utensils and a collection of ceramics found on site at the time. Archaeological excavations.

Built in the early 1930s, the Sainte-Agnès military fort appears to rise from the hillside south of the eponymous village. Suspended on a rocky peak on the Franco-Italian border, it served to repel the Italian assaults during the Second World War. True underground city dug under the village, the building is equivalent to a building of four floors and burrows under more than fifty-five meters deep. It has more than 2000 m² of galleries and underground rooms and could accommodate 350 troops with all the modern standards.

Do not miss to discover the sources, fountains and wash-houses of Sainte-Agnès, or to appreciate the old communal oven. Walkers and outdoor enthusiasts can also visit the Borrigo waterfall that takes its source at the Col du Verroux.

Events and festivities

Concerts are regularly offered at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Church.

Every 1st of May, Sainte-Agnès Art places with its exhibitions.

At the end of July, the lavender festival is an opportunity to enjoy many activities.

At the beginning of August, the commune proposes an exhibition of models.

Mid-August, place to the medieval festival with street performances, medieval animations and reconstructions of fights and scenes of everyday life. A giant treasure hunt and various workshops are also available.

Photos

Sainte-Agnès, view of the road to Peille (© JE)
Sainte-Agnès, view of the road to Peille (© JE)
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Sainte-Agnès, view of the ruins of the castle (© JE)
Sainte-Agnès, view of the ruins of the castle (© JE)
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Panorama from the ruins of the castle (© JE)
Panorama from the ruins of the castle (© JE)
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Village of Sainte-Agnès
Village of Sainte-Agnès
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Village of Sainte-Agnès
Village of Sainte-Agnès
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The garden of the castle of Sainte-Agnès
The garden of the castle of Sainte-Agnès
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Bell tower and roofs of the village, seen from the cemetery (© JE)
Bell tower and roofs of the village, seen from the cemetery (© JE)
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Castle ruins
Castle ruins
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Sainte-Agnès Town Hall (© JE)
Sainte-Agnès Town Hall (© JE)
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Entrance to the Maginot structure, underground Sainte-Agnès (© JE)
Entrance to the Maginot structure, underground Sainte-Agnès (© JE)
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Sainte-Agnès view of the ruins of the castle (© EJ)
Sainte-Agnès view of the ruins of the castle (© EJ)
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Departure of a hiking trail (© JE)
Departure of a hiking trail (© JE)
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Sainte-Agnès (© EJ)
Sainte-Agnès (© EJ)
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Sainte-Agnès (© EJ)
Sainte-Agnès (© EJ)
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Sainte-Agnès (© EJ)
Sainte-Agnès (© EJ)
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Fontaine-lavoir (© Jean Espirat)
Fontaine-lavoir (© Jean Espirat)
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Saint Sebastian Chapel (© JE)
Saint Sebastian Chapel (© JE)
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Keep and north wall of the old castle (© JE)
Keep and north wall of the old castle (© JE)
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Church of Our Lady of the Snows (© JE)
Church of Our Lady of the Snows (© JE)
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The Maginot book by Sainte-Agnès (© JE)
The Maginot book by Sainte-Agnès (© JE)
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Paved ascent, towards the village (© JE)
Paved ascent, towards the village (© JE)
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North wall and ruins of the old medieval village (© JE)
North wall and ruins of the old medieval village (© JE)
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Nave of the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges church (© JE)
Nave of the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges church (© JE)
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Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire, in the church (© JE)
Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire, in the church (© JE)
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History of the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges church (© JE)
History of the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges church (© JE)
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History of the village (© JE)
History of the village (© JE)
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Altarpiece of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges (© JE)
Altarpiece of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges (© JE)
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Alley in the village (© JE)
Alley in the village (© JE)
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Alley in the village (© JE)
Alley in the village (© JE)
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Alley in the village (© JE)
Alley in the village (© JE)
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Panorama from the road to Peille (© JE)
Panorama from the road to Peille (© JE)
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An entrance to the village (© JE)
An entrance to the village (© JE)
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Another entrance to the village (© JE)
Another entrance to the village (© JE)
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby

Many hiking trails.

Restaurants

Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals

Campsites

Hotels

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