The Château Grimaldi at Cagnes-sur-Mer is built on the site of an earlier fortress occupied by the Greeks and then the Romans. The present castle was built in 1309 by Rainier Grimaldi (Lord of Cagnes and an admiral of France) - a distant ancestor of the present ruling house of Monaco. Later it became the residence of the Governors of the province. Following the French Revolution, it was used as barracks and later as a hospital. Now owned by the city of Cagnes, it is known as le Château Musée Grimaldi.
Built upon a hilltop, the castle towers over the town. Constructed in the local stone, it retains many of its original medieval features and motifs, it is machicolated with crenelations surmounting its towers and keep. The castle is built around a triangular courtyard. During the reign of Louis XIII (1610 to 1643) the castle was altered, and the principal rooms made more comfortable and redecorated in the contemporary taste. The great hall has a painted ceiling depicting the Fall of Phaëton, completed in the 1620s by the Genovese painter Giulio Benso, while the chapel has a ceiling painted with folk scenes.
Today the castle is an exhibition centre for contemporary art from around the world, and a museum of modern art.References:
9-18-2017, A SPLENDID PALACE WITH ANCIENT HISTORY DESIGNED BY "THE CREATOR" FOR GRACE PATRICIA KELLY/GRIMALDI AND HUSBAND, RANIER GRIMALDI, MARRIED 1956, THREE CHILDREN BORN TO GRACE AND RANIER. MANY, MANY GRAND-CHILDREN TOO!!!
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).