Roquebrune Cap Martin

Roquebrune Cap Martin has welcomed some of the most distinguished visitors in Europe. These include political leaders, artists, royalty writers, and other celebrities. A short list of Roquebrune Cap Martin’s famous guest includes Winston Churchill, Coco Chanel, Sacha Guitry, Jacques Brel, Silvana Mangano. Many visitors will find their minds boggle at the thought of how many great people have passed here before them.

The village of Roquebrune Cap Martin sits between Menton and Monte Carlo and still has many beautiful elements that bring visitors back into its medieval past. Here one will find winding, narrow streets and walkways, steps carved in stone and artfully designed decorative fountains, squares, wrought iron balconies, and even a fort! The town is both a tourist Mecca and a residential centre, but its grace is in its history and people: both ancient and modern. The newer residential centre is designed so that it blends in nicely with the older medieval parts of town.

When first mentioned in written records the town name is reflected Rocabruna. This record dates from 1157. The earliest evidence of civilization and human habitation here comes from a Bronze-age group tomb that archaeologists discovered. Animal bones and Palaeolithic remains discovered nearby give clues to the rich history. The Romans also left their mark on this place, though more subtly, with inscriptions and stone mile markers. It was during the medieval times that Roquebrune Cap Martin’s history starting to become very interesting, with a new regime nearly every generation. In the thirteenth century the rulers were the Lords of Vintimillia, though the Count of Genoa and the Counts of Provence disputed for it. Charles Grimaldi settled the matter in the next century by taking control in the name of the Count of Genoa and promptly declared it a possession of the Grimaldis. In 1848, Roquebrune became independent from the Grimaldis and everyone else. For a few years, it functioned as an independent city-state, until it finally attached to France in 1860.

What will catch your eyes in the village of Roquebrune? The most dominating, noticeable, and picturesque thing in the village is the tenth century fort and/or chateau. It has withstood many sieges, threats, wars and acts of violence. It now has a more peaceful life as a museum. It is open to the public with a reasonable admission fee.

Another site that will interest lovers of architecture is the newer, but still impressive, Ste-Marguerite church. Built in the 1700s, it is a carefully designed, built and restored little church with a lot of attention to detail. It contains many lovely and well thought out elements, reflecting a real love of both God and beauty on the part of its builder.

Other points of interest to tourist, visitors and guest include:

  • The millenaire tree is one of the oldest known, living olive trees in the world. At least one thousand (1000) years old, it has stood here strongly since the time of the Romans
  • The Museum of Medieval times is both interesting and entertaining
  • St. Martin basilica dates from the 11th century
  • The cave of Vallonet
  • Le Corbusier’s cabin
  • The statue of La France Triomphante

Roquebrune Cap Martin has a number of festivals, fetes, and celebrations throughout the year. These provide tourist with a chance not only to enjoy them, but also to become acquainted with the values of the local culture. In chronological order they are: the Gala du Mimosa in March, the Fete de la Musique and the Festin des Genêts in June, the Procession votive and the Fête de Roquebrune in August and the Foire à la brocante in September.

One of the cheapest and most beautiful delights of the village of Roquebrune Cap Martin is to watch the sun setting over Monaco from the Roquebrune Cap Martin village square (near the Chateau).

Of course there are the restaurants (35 of them) and beaches we associate with the French Riviera, as well as hiking with Roquebrune being on the famous GR51 hiking trail.

Where does one stay while visiting the village of Roquebrune Cap Martin? Several options range in price and level of accommodation. In the Cap Martin peninsula, there are several campsites. There are also hotels, furnished rooms, holiday rentals, and tourist residences.

Various neighbouring villages each offer their own delights to the day trippers. They include Menton 2 kilometres (just over a mile), Gorbio and Beausoleil are both 8 kilometres (5 miles), the famous Monte-Carlo is just 9 kilometres (5.5 miles), Sainte Agnès is 10 kilometers (6 miles), and La Turbie and Gorbio are both 12 kilometres (7.5 miles). Driving just a few kilometres one can find almost anything that one wants from art and culture, to religion to architecture, to stunning natural beauty.

Monte Carlo, the largest of these, is famous all over the world for its sophistication and nightlife. Many people may enjoy the opportunity to win or lose a fortune in a second, based on the turning of a wheel or the drawing of a card. Nearly every game known to gamblers is available in this place.