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Roquebrune Cap Martin - Riviera magic

Roquebrune Cap Martin is a perfect little piece of Riviera magic. The old town sits atop a hill above the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, basking in the Provencal sunshine and oozing historical character and charm. The mediaeval houses present all the colours of Provence, burnt ochres, rich, red terracottas, mellow stone and creamy stucco, offset by brightly painted shutters and pots of flowers. Down below, beside the sea, the Belle Epoque villas call to mind another era, one when the town was a favourite destination for such luminaries as Winston Churchill, Coco Chanel and Jacques Brel.

Explore the old town

Starting your exploration of Roquebrune Cap Martin from the top, you find a delightful, higgledy piggledy collection of mediaeval houses and streets, dominated by a very impressive fortified chateau. The chateau dates back to the 10th century, and is open to visitors for most of the year. Take a look at the Sainte Marguerite Church, constructed in the 18th century, which has several interesting features including a trompe l'oeil shadow of a statue painted onto the wall above the door. Also worth seeing is the 11th century Basilica.

Ancient drinking fountains and pretty squares

The village's real appeal, however, lies less in its monuments than in its character. The narrow streets that open onto pretty squares, the "step streets", ancient drinking fountains, houses that arch over the street, colourful window boxes, all are bathed in that special quality of light which only this part of France seems to produce.

Don't miss the olive tree

Roquebrune is also notable for its lovely olive tree, said to be one thousand years old! Meanwhile the shops in the old town have become somewhat tourist orientated, but many are fascinating, selling arts and crafts, souvenirs and local specialities. There are also cafés, bars, restaurants and hotels.

Belle Epoque villas - reminders of days gone by

As you move down the hillside you will find a good number of luxurious, if slightly fading, Belle Epoque villas, reminders of the town's days as a popular holiday retreat for the rich and famous, the glitterati of the roaring twenties. Roquebrune Cap Martin has now spread to include several villages within its boundaries, and reaches down to the very edge of the Mediterranean Sea.

Delightful beaches and a deep blue sea

Down at the seaside there is a much more modern ambience, with many holidaymakers taking to the beaches, bars and restaurants that are found in any Riviera resort. The beaches are pebble rather than sand, but none the less delightful for that, with rocky outcrops and deep blue waters.

Out and about

With the entire Riviera on your doorstep you will certainly never be at a loss for places to go and things to do. Visit Nice, Cannes and St Tropez, take in Menton and even pop across to Monaco. The area is packed with entertainment of all kinds, so whether you enjoy dancing the night away in nightclubs, sipping cocktails under the stars or dining on fabulous seafood beside the Med, you won't be disappointed. Sports fans will be spoilt for choice too, as near Roquebrune you will discover opportunities for golf, horse-riding, sailing, water skiing, swimming, walking and just about everything you can imagine.

How to get there

Fly to the large international airport at Nice, which is served by a variety of airlines including British Airways, Air France, easyJet, Flybe and Ryanair. Or you can let the train take the strain and travel by the super efficient TGV to Nice, and then continue on by local train. There is a railway station below the old village, beside the sea. If you are driving, Roquebrune is easy to find after leaving the A8 auto route, from the D2564.

Property prices and availability in and around Roquebrune Cap Martin

You are unlikely to find cheap property here, or indeed, anywhere on the Riviera. If, however, you have plenty to spend, there are few places more delightful than Roquebrune Cap Martin, and there is a great variety of wonderful property on the market.

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Roquebrune Cap Martin AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Roquebrune Cap Martin?

Roquebrune Cap Martin is located in the south-east of France, in the south-east of the Alpes-Maritimes department.

Roquebrune Cap Martin Property Map


Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Guide

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Property Map


Alpes-Maritimes Guide

  Alpes-Maritimes Map

Population: 13,313

Access: By air: Fly to Nice. By rail: Take the TGV from Paris to Nice, and continue by local train. By road: The town is located near the D2564, accessed from the A8 auto route.

Economy: Tourism is now the driving force in the economy.

Interesting fact: Roquebrune Cap Martin has a long list of famous visitors, including Winston Churchill, designer Coco Chanel and singer Jacques Brel.


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