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The charming village of Mougins is just 6km from Cannes and its hilltop location and picturesque medieval old town make it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. One of the most prestigious villages of the French Riviera, it has attracted artists, celebrities and the rich and famous for decades. The meandering little streets and filled with art galleries, antique shops and restaurants as well as beautifully kept houses with flowers filling the windows.
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The Story of …
Dating back to pre-Roman times Mougins is steeped in history. Its name comes from the Latin Mons Ignis, mountain of fire. The area was originally settled by a Ligurian tribe who planted vines and olive trees
The oldest buildings in the village date back to the middle ages. In the 11th century the village was handed over to the monks of the Lerins Abbey by the Count of Antibes, it remained in their possession until the revolution. Over the years countless battles in the Provence region lead to more and more fortifications being added to the village which created its enchanting spiral streets.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the village was a centre of floral production, producing lavender, roses and jasmine for the perfumeries in nearby Grasse.
Artists were originally attracted to the Riviera because it naturally offers fantastic light, year round. Hilltop villages like Mougins and Saint-Paule de Vence charmed and inspired famous names including Pablo Picasso, Paul Éluard, Jean Cocteau, Fernand Léger, Christian Dior and Man Ray. As with many areas that became fashionable as creative, bohemian strongholds, more recently it has been overtaken by celebrities and international wealth. Not all of its original charm has been destroyed but you are unlikely to find struggling young artists toiling in rustic ateliers any time soon!
The surrealist painter, Francis Picabia introduced Pablo Picasso to Mougins in the 1930s when the artist reputedly drew and painted on the walls of his hotel room in the Villa Vaste Horizon the manager was so furious he insisted Picasso repainted the whole room white! The former hotel is now owned by the town of Mougins. Picasso returned many times to Mougins during his life and lived here for the last 15 years of his life and died at the dinner table of his villa, Le Mas Notre-Dame-de-Vie, which was previously owned by the Guinness family.
Eating well is as much a part of the heritage of Mougins as its creative history. Restaurants are plentiful in the old village and its suburbs, many of which offer an outstanding dining experience. For many chefs, having a Mougins restaurant on their CV is a huge boast.
Mougins gastronomical heritage is unrivalled for a relatively small village it has over 40 restaurants. Celebrity French chefs have all plied their trade in and around the village and celebrities and investors clamour to own the infamous eateries. Since the 1970s the restaurants have been breaking their own records of Michelin stars.
Since 2006 the annuals food festival, Les Etoiles de Mougins brings together the finest suppliers and most talented chefs from around France. With cookery demonstrations, tastings and live entertainment it has become one of the most important weekends in the Mougins calendar.
From the preserved old village there are stunning views over the city of Cannes to the Lerins islands and back over the rolling hills to the famous perfume city of Grasse.
Mougins village itself is a relatively small area on the hilltop, however the extended 06250 postcode zone is rather more sprawling. The administrative definition of Mougins Centre comprises Village, Le Val, Tournamy and Notre Dame de Vie.
To the east, bordering Valbonne and the business park of Sophia Antipolis are the Devens, Font-de-l'Orme and Bréguières areas, known as Mougins Est. This includes the areas or Saint Basile and the renowned international school, Mougins School.
Mougins Sud lies between Cannes, Le Cannet and Mougins Centre. Cabrières, Aubarède, Campelières are the principal areas in this ‘quartier’ where the Cannes Mougins autoroute exit provides access to both towns. A number of commercial and industrial businesses are locates in this area.
West Mougins, Pigranel, Saint-Martin and Grand Vallon less hilly than the eastern Valmasque region and stretches out to the neighbouring town of Mouans Sartoux. It is home to the famous Royal Mougins Golf Club and Spa.