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Set high atop a 260 metre hill, the very attractive little village of Mougins dominates its surrounding, which form a typically Mediterranean landscape. From the church, it is even possible to see the sea and the whole bay of Cannes, as well as Grasse and the Alps. A southern ambiance presides here, a beautiful square with plane trees, olive trees, a cypress, and a superb fountain, the perfect backdrop for a game of boules. Numerous little alleys form a spiral around the church’s bell tower and the medieval village is encircled by the remains of ramparts. Full of charm, plush, tranquil and peaceful, this is a unique place to live, set back from the coast in an authentic Provençal setting – perfection!

Cafe in Mouginsphoto by Laborant / Shutterstock.com

Formerly, long ago in the middle ages, the village was even more important than Cannes, a gastronomic town nowadays with its many chefs, their excellent restaurants, and its international festival in June dedicated to food. It is also a town well represented by artists, to the present day in fact, with many art galleries and studios to be found here, and was frequented by the most celebrated painters of the past, such as Picasso, who lived here for the last 12 years of his life and died here in his property next to the lovely Notre-Dame-de-Vie chapel. A supremely beautiful place, with a typical Provençal hermitage, handsome cypress trees and a splendid view of Mougins.

Art gallery in Mouginsphoto by Fishman64 / Shutterstock.com

At the André Villiers Photography Museum, a good number of portraits of the painter Pablo Picasso are on show. Villiers was his friend and his official photographer. But other portraits of the artist can also be viewed, images shot by the most famous photographers of the day, masters of black and white.

Do not miss the Classical Art Museum of Mougins (MCAM), whose varied collection of antique and contemporary pieces, curated by Christian Levett, includes the largest private collection of ancient weapons and weaponry in the world. There are exhibits dedicated to the beauty of antique art such as works in marble, mosaics, vases and busts, but also modern works by renowned painters such as Matisse, Chagall, Picasso of course, also Rodin, Cézanne, Yves Klein, Dali, Warhol... Art from both past and present sit side by side in a beautifully renovated building, with a view to showing how contemporary art is influenced by that of past eras.

Nature lovers will find eight trails to follow in the Valmasque natural park, to discover its Aleppo pins and its holm and cork oaks, its water courses and its meadows. Similarly, the lake at Fontmerle will delight botanists, particularly with its giant Asian lotuses, also its water fowl and migratory birds who come here for winter, or to nest in the reed beds.

For a local market, go to Valbonne on a Friday morning, one of the largest markets in the region, held in this typical and very pretty Provençal village about 8km away. Notable features are its superb arcaded square, checkerboard street pattern, and a lovely 12th century abbey.