A Travellerspoint blog

A Day in Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Enjoying France.

sunny

Doorway in the Old Town Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France.

Doorway in the Old Town Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France.

We have now been to Nice three times, so while there's still more to see, and even revisiting what we have seen would be lovely, we wanted to visit a place nearby. I had been ranting on for weeks about Antibes and that was where we planned to go. The 620 bus to Cannes via Antibes left from next to our hotel, but when I looked it up, there were so many bus stops in Antibes, I started worrying that it would be way too big for Peter to manage, so at the very last minute I said we should visit Cagnes-sur-Mer instead. As it turned out Cagnes-sur-Mer is also big and the sights were far apart, but it still turned out to be a lovely day nonetheless. Antibes will just have to wait until our next visit.

We could have got to Cagnes-sur-Mer on the 620 bus but decided to take the train instead as it is faster. We walked to Saint Augustin Station which was near our hotel and took the train from there. The station was unmanned and everyone was having problems buying a ticket from the machines. It took me ages, but I eventually got the machine to work. It only took nine minutes to get to Cagnes-sur-Mer, less time than it took to buy the tickets. The train was really crowded.

As we had only decided to go here last minute, I hadn't researched it very thoroughly. When we arrived, we exited the station in the direction we thought faced the sea. We were right it did face the sea, but it was also the wrong direction for the centre. At first I was getting a bit frustrated as we just seemed to be wandering aimlessly through a never-ending residential area, but thankfully we eventually hit a main road where we could head towards the coast. Just like in Nice, there's a promenade along the waterfront. This made Peter happy as it was flat and had seats, though not as many as on the Promenade des Anglais.

Flowers on the walk to the waterfront.

Flowers on the walk to the waterfront.

There were quite a few people sunbathing on the pebble beach at the waterfront. If we had gone towards the right from here, we would have been heading towards Villeneuve-Loubet, yet another beautiful resort area we have still to visit. To our left we would have been heading towards Cros-de-Cagnes, which is the main resort area of Cagnes-Sur-Mer. We went left, but not all the way to Cros-de-Cagnes.

At the beach, looking towards Cros-de-Cagnes.

At the beach, looking towards Cros-de-Cagnes.

At the beach, looking towards Villeneuve-Loubet.

At the beach, looking towards Villeneuve-Loubet.

Peter at the beach.

Peter at the beach.

Peter at the beach.

Peter at the beach.

There were some fish sculptures and a seahorse sculpture by the front. The fish sculpture on the ground reminded me of getting kids to try and create artworks copying the style of Andy Goldsworthy.

Fish sculptures.

Fish sculptures.

And another kind of fish sculpture.

And another kind of fish sculpture.

Elegant seahorse sculpture.

Elegant seahorse sculpture.

Peter with the seahorse.

Peter with the seahorse.

There was also a very small marina filled with swans. There was a place to hire bikes and a court for playing beach games. A group of kids from a primary school were having a bike, scooter and roller skate race along the waterfront

Peter by the small marina.

Peter by the small marina.

The small marina.

The small marina.

Swans in the marina.

Swans in the marina.

Peter by the small marina.

Peter by the small marina.

Bike hire on the waterfront.

Bike hire on the waterfront.

There were several lovely restaurants by the waterfront. It must be incredibly relaxing sitting there eating and drinking while listening to the waves crash onto the shore.

Restaurants by the waterfront.

Restaurants by the waterfront.

Restaurants by the waterfront.

Restaurants by the waterfront.

We walked for a while and sat down to enjoy the sea breeze and coastal views every now and again.

Peter on the waterfront.

Peter on the waterfront.

The waterfront.

The waterfront.

Waves breaking on the waterfront.

Waves breaking on the waterfront.

Waves breaking on the waterfront.

Waves breaking on the waterfront.

Then we crossed the main road next to the River Cagnes and headed to a restaurant for drinks and snacks. We chose a Lebanese restaurant called Lebanon by Allo Liban. Peter had beer, I had Schweppes lemon and we shared some rakakat, which are Lebanese cheese rolls, rather like Turkish börek. The waiter was very friendly and it was a pleasant place for a break.

The River Cagnes.

The River Cagnes.

In the Lebanese restaurant.

In the Lebanese restaurant.

Our rakakat.

Our rakakat.

We were joined by a little friend.

We were joined by a little friend.

Artwork in a nearby restaurant.

Artwork in a nearby restaurant.

I really wanted to see Haut-de-Cagnes which is the old town in Cagnes-sur-Mer. This involved walking from where we were for over twenty minutes. Our route passed lots of lovely restaurants, serving a wide variety of cuisines including Vietnamese, Chinese and Italian.

To explore Haut-de-Cagnes it's necessary to go up a steep hill, apparently there is a free number 44 shuttle bus up, too, but I didn't know this at the time. Peter isn't really able to walk up steep hills anymore, so I found him a park to sit in and I went off to have a look on my own. I couldn't really do my usual wander down every single alleyway, as I couldn't leave Peter too long. It was just a quick visit. Haut-de-Cagnes is extremely beautiful with lots of brightly coloured buildings and beautiful plants.

Colourful houses.

Colourful houses.

Colourful buildings.

Colourful buildings.

Colourful houses.

Colourful houses.

Colourful street..

Colourful street..

Colourful houses.

Colourful houses.

Colourful street.

Colourful street.

Impasse de Clapier.

Impasse de Clapier.

Pretty house.

Pretty house.

Street with flowers.

Street with flowers.

The settlement here dates back to the fourteenth century when Rainier Grimaldi, an ancestor of the current royalty family of Monaco, built a fortified castle at the top of the hill. Nowadays the castle is a museum. It has exhibitions on olive trees and portraits of French actress and singer Suzy Solidor, the world's most painted lady, who lived in Haut-de-Cagnes for twenty-five years. The outside of the castle was being renovated on my trip, so I'm not sure if it was open or not.

Haut-de-Cagnes Castle.

Haut-de-Cagnes Castle.

The Castle from a different angle.

The Castle from a different angle.

The square behind the castle.

The square behind the castle.

The square behind the castle.

The square behind the castle.

Near the castle there's a wide open square called Place du Chateau. On one side this was lined with several restaurants. There were quite a few people eating and drinking under the shade of sun umbrellas here.

Place du Chateau.

Place du Chateau.

Restaurants in Place du Chateau.

Restaurants in Place du Chateau.

Restaurant, Place du Chateau.

Restaurant, Place du Chateau.

There were a group of men playing boules here. It was hard to think of anything more typically French than this.

Boules.

Boules.

On the edge of the square there were several seats looking out over the surrounding hills and countryside The views from here were very beautiful.

View from the terrace.

View from the terrace.

View from the terrace.

View from the terrace.

View from the terrace.

View from the terrace.

View from the terrace.

View from the terrace.

I didn't realise it, but there was a free entry contemporary jewellery museum here, which was founded by Suzy Solidor. The lady in charge of it approached me and wanted me to go in. She kept on chatting to me in French and inviting me in to take a look, but I didn't really have time. The strange thing was that I told this woman repeatedly that I didn't understand French, but she just kept on talking to me in French anyway. To my surprise I actually could understand some of what she said, but not all. I did actually study French in school years ago, but have largely forgotten it. If I try to speak it noone can understand me as my accent is terrible. When I finally got across that I didn't want to visit the jewellery museum, the woman there suggested I take a picture of a tree that seemed to be growing out of the museum building.

Jewellery museum and talkative lady.

Jewellery museum and talkative lady.

Next to the jewellery museum.

Next to the jewellery museum.

Tree.

Tree.

There are still several fortifications in Haut-de-Cagnes including Le Pontis Long, a covered passageway leading to a square with the oldest house in Haut-de-Cagnes. There are also several fortified gateways.

Fortified gateway between Place du Chateau and the square with the oldest house.

Fortified gateway between Place du Chateau and the square with the oldest house.

Porte d'Antibes.

Porte d'Antibes.

More gateways.

More gateways.

Long passage.

Long passage.

Square at the end of the long passage.

Square at the end of the long passage.

I also visited The Church of St Pierre et St Paul. Rather strangely people enter the church from above. From here there's a good view over the interior of the church and its stained glass windows. This church was first built in the fourteenth century, but was enlarged in the sixteenth century and then again in the eighteenth century.

Entrance to the church, Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France.

Entrance to the church, Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France.

Inside the church.

Inside the church.

Inside the church.

Inside the church.

Painting inside the church.

Painting inside the church.

Stained glass windows.

Stained glass windows.

Many artists have lived in or visited Haut-de-Cagnes, but the most famous is Pierre-Auguste Renoir who moved here in 1907 in the hope of improving his arthritis. He died in Haut-de-Cagnes in 1919. I didn't have time to visit Renoir's estate, Les Collettes, but it's one of the most famous sights here and has gardens filled with olive trees. In some places around the old town there are pictures of works of art that were painted in Haut-de-Cagnes. These are located at points that show the view in the picture or at least the view as it is now.

Another famous resident of Haut-de-Cagnes was Belgian writer, Georges Simenon who created the fictional detective Commissaire Jules Maigret.

I came across many scenic doorways and windows on my explorations.

Doorway.

Doorway.

Doorway with plants.

Doorway with plants.

Window.

Window.

Window.

Window.

I wandered along many of the village's narrow streets enjoying the beautiful surroundings. I discovered narrow alleyways, fountains, interesting street signs, beautiful buildings, flowering trees and much much more. I would happily have spent hours here, but I couldn't.

Building with ivy.

Building with ivy.

Flowering tree.

Flowering tree.

Covered entrancway.

Covered entrancway.

Archways.

Archways.

Building in the old town.

Building in the old town.

Fountain.

Fountain.

Fountain.

Fountain.

Narrow alleyway.

Narrow alleyway.

One way down.

One way down.

Unicorn sign.

Unicorn sign.

Rise of the town.

Rise of the town.

Street with sign.

Street with sign.

Church in the old town, Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France.

Church in the old town, Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France.

Hotel de Ville.

Hotel de Ville.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

As I wandered back down the hill to the park where I had left Peter, I caught several tantalising glimpses over the town and the Mediterranean Sea beyond it.

Seaview.

Seaview.

Seaview.

Seaview.

Seaview.

Seaview.

We had thought we might have dinner here, but it was a bit of a walk back to the area filled with restaurants and we were both tiring, so we decided to return to the station. Of course we were going a different way from the exit we had left it by and I struggled to find it, adding lots of unnecessary walking to the day. Eventually I asked a very pleasant French lady for directions. She explained it was hard to find due to renovations that were being carried out and took us to it. The funny thing was she didn't speak English, but understood a lot of what I said. I don't speak French, but understood a lot of what she said. Obviously French and English have similar roots. In Hong Kong if someone insisted in speaking to me in Chinese, I wouldn't understand a word. This lady told Peter he was very brave for exploring a new place when he had sight and mobility problems.

What this lady told us was accurate; the area all around the train station was being renovated and the station office itself was closed. Once again it was a struggle to get tickets, but I eventually got them. It was just as well I did as there were three tickets inspectors on the train. They were all trying to fine a French lady who didn't have a ticket and she was protesting that she had tried to buy one but couldn't. I was on her side trying to buy tickets for transport in France is hell on Earth. I'm sorry but Europe is so inefficient compared to Asia.

Back in Nice, we decided just to eat in the hotel again as we were tired and hungry. We actually ordered the exact same meal as the day before, except with more beer. It had been a lovely day, but after five weeks of travel we were reaching a state of exhaustion, or at least I was.

Peter with our reine pizza.

Peter with our reine pizza.

Our pizza.

Our pizza.

Taking advantage of the all day pain au chocolate.

Taking advantage of the all day pain au chocolate.

Next day we were flying back to Hong Kong. I asked for a free late checkout till twelve, as checkout time was eleven. The man on reception very kindly gave me one until four pm, as Peter has an Accor gold card. Unfortunately, we really did have to leave at twelve, but if we hadn't, it would largely have given us an extra day.

We took a tram to the airport, after yet another fight with ticket machines. At the airport we checked in. We were then sent off to wait for a wheelchair. I suddenly realised we didn't have Peter's rucksack anymore and rushed off to find it. It had fallen off my trolley and I hadn't noticed. Security had already found it and they gave me a row for leaving it unattended. I explained it had fallen off my trolley and then they were much nicer about it and said that was ok and that it wasn't my fault after all.

When we got through, we went to the airport lounge as we have silver status with Qatar. It was quite pleasant there. We had some snacks and a couple of drinks.

When we went to the plane, we noticed the weather had changed. The sky was black and the rain was pelting down. On the plane we heard an enormous clash of thunder, but fortunately we were still able to take off and the flight was only a little bit turbulent.

The plane was very crowded. Fortunately the flight was only around five and a half hours. I watched an Irish/New Zealand drama series called 'The Gone'. It was really good. It was in six parts. I managed to watch four on this flight and the rest on the next one.

In Doha we had a wait of eight hours in the silver lounge before our flight to Hong Kong. Fortunately, I managed to sleep for some of this or I'd have gone crazy.

Then, miracle of miracles, the flight to Hong Kong was almost empty. We managed to get three seats each and could actually lie down. I managed to get more sleep. I also watched the rest of 'The Gone' and ' Gone Fishing ' with Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse. I don't often watch programmes about fishing, but I like Bob Mortimer when he's on 'Would I Lie To You.' He's really funny.

Leaving Doha.

Leaving Doha.

Leaving Doha.

Leaving Doha.

Back in Hong Kong we got wheelchair assistance all the way to our bus and just made the second last one. It was pouring down. On the way to passport control I dropped Peter's i.d. card, but fortunately someone called out to me and I was able to retrieve it. I seemed to be dropping everything on this journey.

Back home, our building is still a building site and our flat was covered in mould. It was too late to do anything about it at that time of night. Next day I spent hours scrubbing it. We had hoped the scaffolding would be down by now, but it's not.

Overall it was a strange holiday. Peter did great on it. I enjoyed a lot of it, but could have done without getting the flu. Even when I got better, I was still very tired and run down. At one point I got masses of mouth ulcers, too. Fortunately, these have now disappeared. However, on the positive side, we managed to see family and friends and the last few days in Nice were a joy, so overall it was a success. I just need a bit of recovery time before our next long trip.

Posted by irenevt 18:17 Archived in France

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

We love Cagnes-sur-Mer. First went there to visit the Renoir home and museum. While walking through Renoir's garden, we saw the Grimaldi Castle on the opposite hill and decided to find it. Someone told us about a parking lot downtown so we left the car there and took a bus up to Haut-de-Cagnes and arrived at the castle just before they were closing for lunch. We said we just had the day so they let us in, advised us to go up to the top for the view and then visit the rest quickly on the way down. A docent accompanied us locking each floor as we left it and also being very helpful about what we were seeing. It was like having a private guide. Must admit running up the stairs winded me but I survived. When we left, they pointed us to one of the restaurants on the nearby square and it was friendly and excellent. We wandered around for a while then took the bus back to parking and rescued our car. It was a fun day. I'm glad you got there. There is so much to do around Nice. Have you been to Tourrettes-sur-Loup? It's our favorite place in the area and we stay at a little country Auberge nearby. You really need a car though for that. You'd have to stay in town.

by Beausoleil

Hi Sally, no I've never heard of Tourrettes-sur-Loup. I'd definitely go back to Cagnes-sur-Mer. It was a lovely place. I agree there are so many more places to visit around this area.

by irenevt

What a beautiful place!

by Maurizioagos

Hi Maurizio, yes it certainly was. If you ever get a chance to visit, go for it.

by irenevt

I really love the colourful buildings - such a pretty and welcoming place. Well done with your French too! I still remember “deux hot dogs 🌭” from our holiday in France when we were 18!

by Catherine

Haha I don't think I said anything in French all holiday except "Ou est la gare?" and "Merci bien." Even when I wanted to say two I kept thinking "iki tane" which is Turkish. It was just that I understood about one out of every ten words spoken to me.

by irenevt

So nice to read about your trip and I guess getting ill and traveling and walking the whole time gets you tired, but nevertheless, you enjoyed it. I am already looking forward to reading all about your next big trip! :)

by Ils1976

Haha, I'm hoping we will do a couple of small trips before the next big one. I'm thinking Macau, Thailand or The Philippines.

by irenevt

sounds interesting!

by Ils1976

Haven't booked anything yet. Still trying to fight off the jetlag. At least I have managed to get all the mould out of our flat. It's a start.

by irenevt

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login