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Revive on the Riviera this summer

Discover the captivating beauty of the French Riviera, from mountains to sandy coves. Revive in the naturally beautiful surroundings and be inspired by the history, art and culture of this region.
Within a short drive of Château Saint-Martin & Spa are many towns with their own special reason to visit.

Eze’s exotic garden high in the hilltops, or the Biot manufacturers of their unique "bubble glass"; Cannes, Monaco and Antibes which need little introduction.

Below we offer a presentation of the history and highlights of a visit to ten towns of individual character.

Ten Nearby Towns To Visit

Vence – City of art

Vence is the home of Château Saint-Martin & Spa; the historic centre of town is only five minutes away for our guests. With much of the original walls intact one enters Vence through the "portes" which date from the 13th and 14th century, while the cathedral itself dates back to the 4th century. Known as "City of Art" it has been an inspirational place for some of the world’s most renowned painters including Chagall and Matisse. 

The Chapelle du Rosaire is a magnificent feature, set against a backdrop of the Baou des Blancs, with its extraordinary stained glass windows. There is also the Fondation Émile Hugues, contemporary art museum, housed in the ancient castle. As a long established market town, the narrow streets are often filled with an abundance of flowers, fruits, spices, honey, local produce and patisserie.

Vence is located 3km away (5 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa. 

More details on www.vence-tourisme.com

St-Paul de Vence – City of ramparts

St-Paul de Vence is one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera and certainly the most popular, making the cobbled streets invariably crowded. Medieval walls encircle its narrow streets and capture the heritage of more than a thousand years. Famous writers, poets, actors and other notable personalities flocked to the charming town, some of whom made it their permanent residence. Chagall died here, and is buried in the St-Paul de Vence cemetery. 

The town is an open-air gallery with artists staging original and lively exhibitions. The creative highlight, with one of the foremost contemporary art collections in Europe, is the Maeght Foundation. This extraordinary private foundation was developed with the enthusiastic collaboration of leading artists, and many original works were conceived as part of the building and gardens such as Miró’s sculptural labyrinth and mural mosaics by Chagall. 

St-Paul de Vence is located 7km away (11 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa. 

More details on www.saint-pauldevence.com

Biot – City of glass

Biot is a charming Medieval town perched on a hilltop, amidst delightful countryside. It has a remarkably turbulent history destroyed by war and abandoned during a plague but in the 15th century it was repopulated by 50 families from Italy, which is still evident in the particular dialect of Biot. A pottery and ceramics industry evolved, and the town thrived, becoming famous for the large Biot jars. 

The streets of Biot are filled with fascinating reflections of its craft history. You can visit La Poterie Provencale, the last traditional jar maker in the town or one of the glass blowing houses for which Biot is renowned today. In particular La Verrerie de Biot, a luminous glass with bubbles encapsulated between two layers of glass. It originated around 1950 when a young chemical engineer developed "bubble glass" by introducing sodium carbonate to the glass melting process. You can visit the legendary studio and discover how to blow glass yourself.

Biot is located 22km away (31 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa. 

More details on www.biot-tourisme.com

Mougins – City of gastronomy

With panoramic views from its hilltop and surrounded by fragrant pine forests, the town of Mougins is not just beautiful but has long been of strategic significance in the region. It was a fortified medieval town, with ramparts, some of which exist today. From the 11th century, as a gift from the Count of Antibes, Mougins came under the administration of the winemaking Monks of Saint Honorat. It was damaged in the 18th century during the War of the Austrian Succession, but throughout the 19th century it flourished to a new prosperity.

Today it is a gastronomic stronghold and also renowned for its artistic influence, Picasso settled here for the final fifteen years of his life. The Mougins Museum of Classical Art is a private collection which shows the influence of the neoclassical on contemporary works exhibiting antiquities alongside Picasso, Warhol and Damien Hurst. Each year the world’s gourmands gather in Mougins for the International Gastronomy Festival, while La Place de Mougins and L’Amandier are the town’s most important restaurants, where Roger Vergé and Alain Ducasse honed their talents.

Mougins is located 32km away (31 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa. 

More details on www.mougins-tourisme.fr

Eze – City of views

With its strategic hilltop location Eze had a chequered past of occupation; Ancient Greeks, Romans then Moors until the Count of Provence despatched them in 973 BC. In the 14th century the Italian House of Savoy ruled Eze, valuing its proximity to Nice, then came the Spanish succession and Louis XIV destroyed the fortified town. It wasn’t until 1860 that the inhabitants voted to become part of France, along with Nice and more steady times ensued.

Eze is perched on a 420 metre high hilltop with absolutely spectacular views. You enter the walled town through the single postern gate to discover a village of diminutive proportions, with narrow stepped streets and low archways. Charming stone houses are draped in plumbago and jasmine. At the top of the town is the Jardin Exotique planted with giant cacti that pierce the sky and exotic palms that fringe the sweeping panorama of the Côte d’Azur. The exotic flaura make an intriguing contrast to the traditional Riviera surroundings and terracotta roof tiles of this historic village.

Eze is located 45km away (42 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa.

More details on www.eze-tourisme.com

The nearest towns to our Château, and not to be missed for the contemporary art. 

Antibes – City of sails

This historic coastal town has a naturally protected port with clear views as far as Italy. The Greeks recognised its strategic appeal, establishing a trading post in the 5th century, named Antipolis, and it was later seized upon by Napoleon who appreciated the vantage point for approaching galleons. By the 19th century the delightful Mediterranean situation attracted a glittering set from all over the world who established summer villas here and pleasure sailing. Today Antibes is one of the most desirable destinations on the French Riviera.

The charm of the city is in the narrow cobbled streets, Provencal market and museums. Château Grimaldi has a permanent exhibition of Picasso ceramics which he was inspired to create while staying here. There is a museum of Napoleonic memorabilia, largely the collection of André Sella, founder of Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. The marina is a flutter of white sails and clattering masts, and host to Les Voiles d’Antibes, the first major European event of the classic yachting season.

Antibes is located 23km away (33 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa.

More details on www.antibesjuanlespins.com

Nice - City of victory

The capital of the French Riviera, Nice has been occupied by Greeks who named it Nikaia, "City of Victory" and later the Romans in 14 BC. Subsequently Nice came under Italian rule until 1860 when it was officially returned to the French. Soon the English upper class on their "grand tour" discovered this gem on the Mediterranean. They stayed to enjoy the mild winter climate and so began the Belle Epoque, establishing Nice as a playground for the rich.

Stroll along the palm lined Promenade des Anglais which runs the 4 kilometre length of the Baie des Anges. Explore the labyrinth of narrow streets in Vieux Nice spotting red, yellow and ochre Baroque facades. Visit the daily flower market in Cours Saleya, which in summer evenings transforms into a craft market. Art lovers are spoilt with the Matisse and Chagall museums two kilometres north of the centre.

Nice is located 25km away (31 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa.

More details on www.nicetourisme.com

Cannes - City of Cinema

In the 12th century Cannes was just a small fishing village trading with the Lerins Islands across the bay. The transformation of Cannes into the centre of hedonism it is today began in 1834 when Lord Brougham, a former Lord Chancellor of England, fell in love with the place and built himself an Italianate villa. The British aristocracy followed him, and soon more villas, hotels and casinos sprung up, along with those iconic palm trees.

Today, the city is famed for film and fashion; hosting the glamorous annual Cannes Film Festival, while La Croisette, curving along the coast, is lined with chic shops and high class hotels. Pick a bar and sip a pastis enjoying the air of glamour and watching the sails bob over the Mediterranean. For some fabulous views climb up to the 14th century Tour de Suquet in the Old Town and cast your mind back to quieter times for les Cannois, when fishing not fashion was the centre of everyone’s life.

Cannes is located 33km away (38 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa.

More details on www.cannes-destination.fr

Monaco - City of wealth

Monaco has been a principality under the Grimaldi family, since 1297 when Francois Grimaldi seized the fortress in the dead of night, disguised as a monk; hence the robed figure on the coat of arms and statue outside the palace. Prince Albert’s great great-grandfather, Charles III, opened a casino in Monte-Carlo in 1863, establishing a firm economy based on high end gambling and first class tourism, for which the principality is renowned. The marriage of Prince Rainier III to American actress Grace Kelly completed the aura of glamour that surrounds this playground of the rich.

There are many things to see while visiting Monaco, including of course visiting one of the four casinos. The State Apartments at the Prince's Palace are built on the site of the fortress. The Oceanographic Museum has a superb collection and rather fabulous sea views, also true of the Exotic Garden after 75 years of planting. If you are visiting in May there’s the Monaco Grand Prix, established in 1929 it is one of the most prestigious motor races in the world.

Monaco is located 46km away (46 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa.

More details on www.monte-carlo.mc

Saint-Tropez - City of chic

The town’s name derived from Torpes, a victim of Nero, who refused to relinquish his Christianity, was promptly beheaded and set adrift with a dog and a rooster, however when they washed up on the shores neither creature had touched the body and so the local people adopted the martyred Torpes as their patron saint. This quiet fishing village with a picturesque port was transformed with the arrival of Maupassant, Signac and Bardot in that order.

Today the chicest travellers in the world flock to Saint-Tropez, mostly by super yacht and Ferrari and the shops are filled with haute couture. There are nearby vineyards to explore where you can sample some delicious Provence rosé and in September the seas are open for "Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez" regatta.

Saint-Tropez is located 112km away (1 hour and 32 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa.

More details on www.sainttropeztourisme.com

The nearest towns to our Château, and not to be missed for the contemporary art.

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