PeillonVillage de Peillon dans les Alpes-Maritimes
©Village de Peillon dans les Alpes-Maritimes|A.Varanishcha - Adobestock

The most beautiful hilltop villages

You can see them from a long way, overlooking a valley or emerging from a forest. A selection of our favourite hilltop villages on the Côte d’Azur.

An excursion to Coaraze, the village of the sun

Head for Coaraze, nicknamed “The Village of the Sun”: This charming village which is typical of the South is nestled in an amphitheatre of mountains. There is a mix of influences here: Mediterranean nature reigns and the southern Alpine landscapes are breathtaking. Take to the heights from Coaraze, which is also listed as one of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France”, standing proudly over the Paillon valley in Contes, at over 650 metres. Are you wondering what time it is? Try reading the time on one of the village’s sundials, some of which were made by Jean Cocteau. As you look for them, wander around the sunny little streets and you’ll find some cool shade under the pontis and along the majestic stone walls. Breathe in the palette of scents of the mimosas, pine trees, chestnuts and olive trees. After having gently set the scene, it’s now time for an adrenaline rush: go for a canyoneering outing from Coaraze with its succession of leaps and natural toboggans.


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Take to the heights from Sainte-Agnès

One of the Most Beautiful Villages in France and the winner of a title in the competition for the “Villes et villages fleuris”, in the Nice back-country, this is Sainte-Agnès . Sitting high up at 800 metres, Sainte-Agnès overlooks the coast and this has earned it its nickname of “Balcony of the Côte d’Azur”. Lulled by the legends of Princess Agnès and Haroum the Saracen pirate, Sainte-Agnès is well worth a visit and the view is breathtaking! A former strategic post on the Alpine Maginot Line, the village has returned to a gentle warmth. Wander along the Medieval streets, take a picture under an archway spanning the passageway, sit down at a table to have a drink or set off on the paper chase specially designed to help you discover the village.

An exceptional panorama in the Pays de Gourdon

Continue your holidays in France with the discovery of the hilltop villages near Gourdon, listed among the “Plus Beaux Villages de France” and “Village fleuri”. The site surrounds its medieval fortress hanging on the cliff, with a view over the Mediterranean. You can visit its gardens: a great opportunity to recognise the work of Le Nôtre who designed its layout. With rucksack and walking shoes, hikers join up with the GR51 and the Gorges du Loup while the more daring go to the takeoff site for a memorable paraglider flight from Gourdon.

Which will your favourite hilltop village be?

Continue your escapade between land and sea and discover the most beautiful villages of the Côte d’Azur. A stone’s throw from the sea, between Nice and Cannes, here is the charming flower-filled village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup with its medieval character. Take to the heights from this little piece of paradise perched on a rocky spur, between fields of violets, fig trees and aloes. Next, you head for the village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence . Wednesday morning is the delicious and picturesque producers’ market. And after the colourful stalls, you can admire the works of Chagall at the Fondation Maeght. A bit further on, between Monaco and Menton, the village of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin has beaches with a slightly exotic note. For a beautiful finale, head for Èze and its 2 flowers in the Flower-filled towns and village listing. You’re more medieval towns or exotic gardens? Have an ice cream and admire the clear view to Saint-Tropez before making up your mind!

Stop off to discover the secret villages of the Côte-d’Azur

More private, more confidential, these are nonetheless some of the most beautiful villages of the Côte-d’Azur. Head for the lands of Peillon , where the village looks as if it’s hanging from its rocky promontory. In Cagnes-sur-Mer, go up to the Haut-de-Cagnes quarter which has the “Village fleuri” label. At the top of the castle hill, it reminds us of what Cagnes-sur-Mer must have been like. It’s quite a climb on foot but the atmosphere and the view are well worth it. In the Mercantour, Discover the Monastery of Saorge, at 800 metres from the village of the same name, lying on the edge of the cliff opposite the Roya valley. As you go further north, life is good in Saint-Martin-Vésubie and rhymes with afternoon hikes, skiing or walks along the Lac du Boréon. Lastly, come back down to the coast and stop off at Biot, which is well-known for its remarkable glassworks .

To discover