Choose among my favorite hill villages:
The Côte d’Azur counts not only many glamorous seaside resorts but also more than 120 hill villages. Some of them are particularly enchanting:
a) St Agnès
St Agnès is the highest hill village on the coast. Picturesque old houses, a castle ruin and beautiful narrow alleys surprise every visitor.
Peillon is one of the most impressive hill villages of the Riviera. It is located in dizzying height and offers wonderful views.
Peille is a small village perched on a rock between Monaco and Menton . It is 630m/2,067ft above sea level overlooking the River Peillon. Higher still than the village are the ruins of a château dating from the 13th century. The village is notable for its narrow streets, small squares, and architecture dating to the Medieval period. Examples of this architecture include the remains of the village fortifications, the 14th century courthouse known as the “Palais des Consuls”. On the very edge of the cliff face is a large building known as the “Palais des Lascaris” this too dates from the 14th century. This place off the beaten track sure is worth a visit.
477 m above the sea level rises the most popular of all the hill villages of the region.
e) St Paul
The medieval village with is well preserved ramparts is already visible from far away. This former military stronghold became in the beginning of the 20th century the meeting-place of famous artists and is nowadays one of the most visited villages in all of France. In its picturesque narrow alleys you will find art-galleries and boutiques of the highest level.
With its more than 20.000 inhabitants Vence is much more than a hill village. This scenic place is located high above a rock and is surrounded by orange groves and rose fields. Vence used to be for some time the home of Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall who both left their footprints there (Matisse chapel and mosaic of Chagall in the church)
g) Tourrettes sur Loup
Tourrettes is the capital of violet-growing in France. Along its horseshoe-shaped Grande Rue you find galleries, art-stores and specialty shops where you can taste candied violet flowers and violet syrup.
Gourdon is one of the most beautiful villages in all of France. With its location in 760 m height it is also called ‘the balcony of the Côte d’Azur” and offers a breath taking view over the French Riviera. The beautifully restored houses and the displayed goods of the many arts and crafts stores make this village very colourful.
Overhanging the coast, the medieval village of Roquebrune appears to be standing guard. The drawbridge has long disappeared, instead a stone bridge built in its place brings you over the donjon of the old fortress castle. The rampart walk is spectacular. Climbing up the steps you will discover original arches, forged iron and charming little squares, all adding to a most picturesque walk.
Biot is a very picturesque and very popular medieval village that’s actually about 2500 years old. It sits on a hilltop only 4 km from the Mediterranean beaches between Antibes and Nice. Although the village gets very busy in the summer-time, it retains much of its natural charm and its feeling of antiquity, and is very active year-round. Biot is currently renowned for its glass-works, typically a clear or colored transparent glass with little bubbles. There are several glassworks down the hill around the outskirts of the village, and you can watch the glass-blowing process as the pieces are made.