Cote d'Azur
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Off to find the hilltop villages of the Pays Mentonnais!

Gorbio, Sainte-Agnès, Castellar… A host of villages ensconced on their rocky outcrops, with the sky their only neighbour. In these backgrounds of lush greenery and history with breath-taking views, discover the signs of old medieval life, and the secrets of the alleyways and buildings in their villages perched above Menton, during a getaway to the Côte d’Azur or through fascinating guided tours.

Sainte-Agnès, the highest coastal village in Europe!

What better to start the journey than a trip to Sainte-Agnès.

Listed among the “Most beautiful villages in France”, its breath-taking plunging views offer visitors an authentic glimpse of the Mediterranean coast.

With its cobbled alleyways and intertwined houses, the village has been able to retain its medieval charm.

In order to preserve its authentic heritage, the village has converted the Maginot Line Fort and its tunnels for guided tours.

Located four kilometres from the border, this was the military fort that served to repel the Italians in June 1940.

The Notre-Dame des Neiges (Our Lady of the Snows) Church, which dates to the 16th century, and the medieval garden on the site of the chateau give an unusual and charming character to this little jewel listed among the most beautiful villages in France

The village of Castillon

Perched just 7 km from Menton, its name means “little castle” and its history is far from humdrum.

Originally named Castillon-le-Vieux in the 12th century, it was destroyed in 1887 by a terrible earthquake that shook the region. The village was then rebuilt a little lower down the mountain. During the second world war, the bombings destroyed the site once more, before being rebuilt at the start of the 1950s.

Today, it comprises two parts: one old, with Provencal-style stone houses and their green shutters, which won it the title of most beautiful village in France in 1952, and the other more modern, where houses rub shoulders with artists’ workshops and galleries in a congenial setting.

The starting point for several hiking trails, the village also offers unforgettable walks towards the Col de Castillon , the 15th century Saint Antonin chapel, the Caramel viaduct where the old tramway used to run and the Ubac Foran forest, where a viewpoint indicator offers a panoramic view over the Bay of Menton and the surrounding mountains.

The village of Gorbio

Between Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and Menton, Gorbioenjoys an authentic charm, with its porticoed houses, vaulted passageways, ribbed gate and three hundred year-old elm giving it all the charm of a warm and welcoming village.

At the end of the cobblestone alleyways, the Chateau des Comtes Alziari de Malaussène, still lived in by the family, dominates the village.

Its construction dates back to the 17th century and it gives the village a true “eagle’s nest” aspect.

The old chateau of Lascaris and its defence tower are the oldest structures of the local heritage.

With its exceptional panoramic view, it has become a cultural location that hosts an exhibition every summer.

Other charming elements in Gorbio are the “Fountain in the square” and its elm tree, planted in 1713 and listed among the two hundred remarkable trees in France.

Beautiful hiking trails also await you.

The village of Castellar

The last French hilltop village before you reach Italy, Castellarstands out because of its layout.

In fact, its streets all run parallel, allowing its inhabitants to cross the entire length rectilinearly, but also to move from one street to the other thanks to the transverse passages or “traverses”.

The oil mill , which is still in operation today, is evidence that the cultivation of olive trees has always been one of the location’s riches. And a visit here is made with passion and multitude of fun facts. The old fortified square, currently Place de l’église, retains the ruins of the old Lascaris-Vintimille seigneurial palace .

In addition to the parish church of St-Pierre [Saint Peter], the village boasts 6 chapels. In the medieval village, the 17th century Saint-Esprit [Holy Spirit] Chapel (White Penitents), and Notre-Mère des Miséricordes [Our Mother of Mercy] Chapel (Black Penitents) host exhibitions all year round. Strolling along the walking trails in Castellar,

you can admire splendid panoramic views, from Italy to the Menton coast and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, and as far as the Esterel. Among our favourites: the Roc d’Orméa .