Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hill towns of the Cote d'Azur

Haut de Cagnes and St. Paul de Vence were two hill towns which we visited. People have been seeking the shelter of these steep hills since at least Roman times.

They both have associations with the Grimaldi family - rulers of Monaco - but only Haut de Cagnes attained the importance to gain a castle.

As a child I read how Hannibal crossed the Alps with his Elephants to avoid a Roman army blocking the route to Italy. Given the terrain it would have been very hard to force a passage along the coast with plenty of places for the Romans to set up a strong defensive position.

Now the coastal hills are thickly littered with houses showing how many people are attracted to the scenery, climate and food.

Haut de Vance
town square from
the castle roof.

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