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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

Great location in the heart of the old town. Perfect for exploring Nice and surrounding area

4 of 5
The flat is on the top floor and although a bit of a climb still doable by an unfit over 50s. The living area is open and spacious with well fitted out kitchen lots of light and air from the three large windows. Bedrooms are good size. We did not make use of balcony which is off one of the bedrooms as it is small and overlooked although that adds to the charm of the old town but maybe more for Summer. Your day would start with the church bells and watch out for 12 o clock gun which is not for the faint hearted. If you want to experience the vibe of this wonderful city then this apartment is perfect. Martin and Chloe were excellent hosts very informative and accommodating in terms of a later checkout. Look forward to visiting Nice again as 4 days was not long enough.
  • Review Submitted: Sep 18, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Sep 2017

Super Apartment in a super city

5 of 5
We feel very lucky to have stayed in Laura's apartment which we found ideal from every aspect. It was spotlessly clean, spacious enough for 2, 4 could easily be comfortable there. It was quiet at night but literally 50 yards from the old town action. Great shower, comfortable bed, reliable and fast wifi, large screen TV, you couldn't fault it. Laura was a very friendly host who gave us guides and tips on how to make the most of our visit. Nice is wonderful, what a beautiful city. We were there for a week and made the most of the old town, the port area, the magnificent Massena Square, the promenade, the Russian Cathedral, the shops ..... best holiday we've been on. Also we visited Monaco and Monte Carlo, Cannes and Ville France. We really didn't want to come home as there were so many other things we wanted to do but didn't have the time for. It could be pricey, a pint is about 7 Euros and you will struggle to get a meal in a restaurant for under 15 Euros. However Laura's tips of buying lunch in supermarkets, taking advantage of the many happy hours there which generally run from 5pm to 9pm when a pint is reduced to 4 Euros made it more affordable for us. We are a couple in our mid 50s, reasonably fit so we walked everywhere in Nice. However there are very reasonable bus and tram services that can be used. I just want to thank Laura again for the use of her apartment, in a word, magnifique.
  • Review Submitted: Sep 17, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Sep 2017