One of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera, Haut-de-Cagnes is well known for its modern and contemporary art museums and galleries such as Fondation Maeght which is located nearby.
The village is located just 15 minutes’ drive from the coastline on top of a large mound known as the Plateau du Puy, on top of which a Roman oppidum was built, followed by a medieval castle, which was then known as the castrum, dominated in the Middle Ages by the Counts of Provence. The village got its big break in 1388 due to its proximity to the Var river when the County of Nice was seceded to the Kingdom of Savoy and Saint Paul was upgraded to bordertown garrison level – in the 16th century, repeated attacks from Charles V of Spain and his Habsburg dynasty that dominated most of Europe at the time lead French King Francis I to build the mighty city walls and fortifications that still stand today.
In the following centuries, the village developed its Baroque religious architecture and in the 19th century, the artists started to arrive, attracted by the light and the beautiful architecture of the village. One of the local hotel entrepreneurs, Paul Roux, owner of the future Colombe d’Or Hotel (the best place in town, at the entrance to the village), decided to lodge some artists for free in exchange for some of their paintings, which still adorn the hotel.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.