What to see in Mandelieu-la-Napoule | EUROtoday

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I think about, while you hear the phrases French Riviera, you conjure pictures of heat sandy seashores and sunworshippers, night walks via heat surf, stunning blue skies and wonderful sunsets, wine and succulent seafood. Maybe Marseille involves thoughts, the most important port in France and a bustling fishing and seafood heart. Or Saint-Tropez with scorching days below intense blue skies the place celebrities, fashionistas and luxurious yachts abound. Perhaps Cannes, with its large pristine seashores, well-known promenadeat Croisetteunique outlets and personal golf equipment going through the bay, le Souquet excessive above town providing an unobstructed view of paradise, and the Lerin Islands solely 18 minutes offshore. Or Nice, with its day by day markets which embrace meals, flowers and antiques, and eating places specializing in Provençal meals.

But there are and cities alongside the French Riviera that supply a slower tempo of life, and maybe much less conspicuous consumption, akin to Mandelieu-la-Napoule,spositioned west of Cannes, a comparatively unknown coastal treasure.

My buddy Frank and I had accomplished afternoon lessons in a French language faculty in Cannes and determined that we would have liked a break. We have been in our third week, a part of a month-long-study of French. Since Frank had studied within the faculty over a number of previous summers in Cannes, he was accustomed to among the lesser-known Riviera cities. “This is where,” he stated, “we can relax, unwind and enjoy less-crowded beaches and late dinners with some rosé or pastis and bouillabaisse!” I readily agreed.

The title Mandelieu means a spot of command, referring to the seat of energy of the rulers within the Middle Ages. The Château de la Napoule, a fortified fort constructed within the 14th century was constructed over an historic Roman basis, and have become the medieval fortress of the Counts of Villeneuve. The fort was destroyed in the course of the French Revolution, solely a Roman Tower from the 14th century and an eleventh century Saracen Tower stay of the construction.

In the Twenties, Henry Clews Jr (son of rich New York banker, Henry Clews) and his spouse Marie, designed and completely renovated the château and turned it into their dwelling. Today, the château boasts a cloister, Gothic fashion eating room, modern bedrooms, a chic terrace going through the Mediterranean Sea with a non-public tearoom, and Henry Clews Jr.'s studio. A reasonably profitable painter, sculptor and architect, his artwork is displayed all through the rooms. His stays – and people of Marie – are interred in separate tombs which Henry designed and sculpted, presumably with Marie's approval! She designed the gorgeous gardens exterior the chateau which embrace a topiary of sculpted timber and vegetation and a number of other small ponds. The chateau is now a museum and a nonprofit arts basis administered by Henry and Marie's descendants.

Mandelieu-la-Napoule is the mimosa capital of the world, supplying a lot of the perfumeries of close by Grasse and each winter, from January to March, shiny, blooming mimosa timber cowl the hills of Mandelieu. Initially dropped at the world from Australia within the nineteenth century, Mandelieu-la-Napoule now has the most important variety of mimosa timber in Europe. Because of its significance to the native tradition and economic system, the mimosa flower has its personal pageant, inaugurated in 1931. La Fête du Mimosa (the Mimosa Festival) is a ten-day celebration held every February, with weekend parades, marching bands and floats adorned with or made out of mimosa flowers.

San Peyre

Feel like strolling? San Peyre park, 131 meters (430 toes) above sea degree, overlooks three areas: Argentière, the plains of Siagne and la Napoule. Its unobstructed views supply spectacular sights of the Estérel massif, Iles de Lérin often called Ste. Marguerite and St. Honorat, and the Bay of Cannes. A gently sloping path leads you thru pine and mimosa timber, and on the summit, the ruins of the previous fortress await.

Get in a spherical of golf

Opened in 1891, Mandelieu's golf course is likely one of the oldest and busiest in Europe, and the primary course in France. There are literally three programs to problem completely different ranges, overlaying 74 hectares, every with over 4,000 umbrella pines. During your spherical of golf, you’ll cross the Siagne Riviere on a ferry boat…an uncommon characteristic! If you play in the course of the winter season – as many do – you’ll be enveloped by the scents of pine timber and mimosa flowers.

Diving Sites

Underwater diving is a superb option to uncover and benefit from the unique richness of Mandelieu's marine life. Diving golf equipment supply protected coaching and excursions year-round.

The Esterel Massif

The Mediterranean coastal mountain vary is a wealthy purple coloration due primarily to the presence of rhyolite within the volcanic rocks. Deep ravines and oak forests cowl the rugged massif. Beware: The highest level of the massif is Mont Vinaigre 618 meters (over 2,000 toes), a problem to many guests.

The massif covers an space of ​​320 km² (123.5 sq. miles) of which 130 km² (50 sq. miles) are protected by the Forêt domaniale de l’Esterel (National Forest). Hiking and mountain biking trails are plentiful. If you favor a beach-level highway, take the Corniche d'Or which connects the coast and Île d'Or, Saint-Raphaël and Cannes.

Local Beaches

In Mandelieu-la-Napoule, you will see that 9 public seashores, that are small and barely crowded. Rague and Raguette unfold earlier than a rocky spur and require following a twisted path via rock. The Plage de Robinson is the most important, spreading beside the mouth of the Siagne Riviere. This seashore, with pristine sand, is protected by breakwaters that block offshore currents. There are additionally three personal seashores the place you’ll be able to hire you loungers and parasols, and every seashore is near a restaurant.

Needle Point

At the headland simply previous Théoule-sur-Mer, the purple Estrerel slopes plunge into the ocean. This part of the shoreline is preserved as a park. No boats are allowed, making the coves wonderful for snorkelling. A pure rock arch stands on the west facet, created although millennia by the pounding of the ocean.


The fragrance capital of France, Grasse is the place a lot of the mimosa flowers from Mandelieu-la-Napoule are distilled and changed into extremely fascinating perfumes by professional 'noses'. Exclusive perfumeries like Fragonard, Molinard and Galimard share a few of their magical secrets and techniques and entice you into creating your personal private scent…yours eternally, for a value! The city can also be price a wander.

John Pekich is an writer, educator, actor and longtime francofile with a particular affinity for the South of France. He could also be reached at cal20j01@aol.com.

What to see in Mandelieu-la-Napoule