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Holidaymakers searching for holiday rentals in Sainte-Agnes also enquired about apartments in Antibes, apartments in Menton and apartments in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur (Alpes Maritimes) - The Highest Coastal Village in Europe

The village of Sainte Agnès is perched on the flank of a mountain, 750m above the Mediterranean. Although only 3 km from the coast as the crow flies, by car it is reached via a mountain road with spectacular panoramic views that winds its way up the 9km from Menton at the eastern end of the French Riviera. Due to its unique position, Sainte Agnès enjoys the title of ‘Highest Coastal Village in Europe’, in 1997 becoming a member of the association ‘Les plus beaux villages de France’ which includes 142 villages all chosen for the exceptional nature of their location, their cultural, historical, architectural or natural treasures exposed to the public in an attempt to highlight their importance and thus preserve them for future generations.

The first record of the village was in 1185 as Sancta Agneta, and until 1258 was ruled by the Counts of Ventimille, when it fell under the power of the Counts of Provence. The most breathtaking views of the hills down to the Mediterranean and the surrounding coastline along to Italy are to be found upon climbing to the 9th-century chateau, and its charming ‘Jardin Médiéval’ high above the village which by all accounts was built by the Saracen Prince Haroun, upon falling madly in love with a young Provençal girl. Although fully restored in 1502, the chateau is today in ruins. Some of the ancient walls remain, however, and their arrow slits evoke a strong feeling of what the extremely well placed defensive position may have been like in medieval times. Archaeological digs carried out on the site have unearthed at least 23 skeletons along with other artefacts, pointing to the area having be inhabited as far back at the Bronze Age and possibly even the Neolithic. The wonderful 360˚ vista was again brought into prominence in 1932 when the Fort Maginot de Sainte Agnès, was constructed as part of the Maginot Line. This contained an important concentration of artillery of which much is still in working order. The fort was never put to the test as the invaders decided to just go round it, although I have been told that a gun may once have been fired at the Italians.

Although the ‘commune’ of Sainte Agnès descends right into the Menton valley, the permanent population of the village itself is only about 90 people. Many of the village houses are 15th to 18th century, and have been divided and re-divided by family inheritance over many generations, making their layout rather hard to divine from the outside. The village offers three restaurants (two of which also double as bars) all with wonderful views over the hills and down to the coast. It also boasts three gift shops, and a very well stocked village ‘épicerie’.

As well as the obvious charms offered by the close proximity of the coast, Monaco, Nice, Italy and the beautiful peaks of the Mercantour National Park are all within easy reach. The hiking route GR51, also known as the Balcony of the Cote D’Azur passes the village and can lead to you North East to the hamlet of Monti, East to the Italian border, South West to the village of Gorbio and West towards Nice. There are also a few quite hilly loop hikes from Sainte Agnes, including the glorious Mont Baudon, some using part of the GR51. Whilst walking these routes, you will no doubt notice the abundance of lavender, an integral part of one of the many village fêtes held during the summer months.

Written by Kirsty Lowe - Owner of Property 98220 in Sainte-Agnes, France

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Recent Reviews

Amazing stay in a beautiful apartment

5 of 5
This is the way to see the Cote D'azur. The apartment is in a gorgeous art deco style building, right on the seafront. You take the elegant retro elevator up to the second floor and, on entering, are greeted with the most amazing view. Wrap around windows bathe the apartment in light and frame a picture postcard view of the Nice coastline. It was a delight to wake each morning to such breathtaking views and eat a leisurely breakfast before hitting the beach. The place is beautifully decorated and amazingly well equipped. Margret and Conor have clearly put a lot of love and attention into kitting it out. There are always things you'd love to have on holiday but just can't bring, every time we thought of one the apartment had it, including everything you could ever possibly need for a day on the beach. We love to cook and the markets in Nice have the best produce in the world, (I think I ate my bodyweight in good cheese and saucisson). For a cook the apartment is incredibly well equipped, tbh I was more than a little jealous as my own kitchen is not nearly so fully set. We wiled away more than one evening on the balcony with a bottle of wine, watching the sun set and the world going by. Brooke & Raluca could not have been more helpful, greeting us at the flat on arrival and explaining thoroughly how everything worked and where everything was. Amazingly Luca picked us out of the market crowd one day and offered excellent advice of stalls to visit and choice delicacies to try. The location was perfect for us, kid friendly (out 8 year old just loved the beach!), not far from the center of town and with an excellent boulangerie and Carrefour supermarket just around the corner. Beautiful apartment, fabulous location, its a place to build memories! All around a wonderful experience, can't recommend it highly enough!
  • Review Submitted: Dec 07, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Sep 2017

Perfect place to unwind

5 of 5
My family had another lovely stay at Scoubidou (our third time there). This was our first late-season visit, but even in October the weather was gorgeous and the outdoor pool was still lovely and warm – a very welcome antidote to grey, rainy London. We didn't go on many day-trips this time out – there's a largeish supermarket just a few minutes' drive away in town, so we mostly just loaded up on provisions and lounged around the villa. But we're happy to report that Beaulieu-sur-Mer has lost none of its charm. We ventured out to St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat for lunch one day (about a 20-minute drive away) and got some superb photos of the beautiful views along the coastline. We'll definitely be back next time we need to get away from city life and decompress!
  • Review Submitted: Nov 27, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Oct 2017