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The Village of Mougins - Guided Visit

Place du Commandant Lamy : From the Lavoir, go towards the fountain that has marked the intersection of avenue de la Victoire and avenue du Commandant Lamy since 1894. On the left, you will notice the restaurant “Au Rendez-vous de Mougins” (the former Hôtel de France.) Its first floor contains a room with vaulted
ceilings which served as a court room in the 15th century, in accordance with the Charter of 1438, stipulating that the inhabitants of Mougins would be tried in their village. On the right, next to the restaurant “Le Bistrot” is the old post office. The building first served as a stable which housed the
horses that worked for the mill at “rue du Vallat.” The last olives were pressed in 1918 and the site was then converted into a house, whose most famous occupant was Christian Dior. At the far end of the square, you can see the City Hall (which is not to be confused with the administrative
Center), built in 1618 as the chapel of the White Penitents, it has been the meeting hall for weddings and city council since 1954. It also houses the Espace Culturel and Gottlob Museum. The museum also hosts travelling exhibitions throughout the year. From the City Hall, if you walk towards the rue du Badier, you can see the facade number 41 decorated by the talented painter and portraitist Paul Daemen, who spent his last years in Mougins.

Rue du Badier : Henry du Badier was the Treasurer General of Provence. This small street “outside the walls” begins at the Saint-Bernadin chapel (City Hall) and ends at the covered passage way of the former Saint-Jacques hospital. Here there is a flour mill, as well as an oil or “blood” mill facing one of the last bread ovens in the village.
At the corner of this street and the rue des Migraniers is what used to be the home and ceramics workshop of Maurice Gottlob, who was a rural policeman and well-known painter in the region. Take this path and you will come to rue Maréchal Foch, discover the local History Museum. It contains Roman artefacts, 15th and 16th century parchments, a relic of Saint-Honorat, and a series of portraits of the mayors of Mougins. On your right, at number 78, you will see a statue of Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur in the wall of the former hospital adjoining the home of Général Catroux.
Then follow the wall around to come to the place du Lieutenant Isnard.

Place du Lt Isnard : Formerly known as the place des Peyroues, it was where the distilleries were located which produced an alcohol called “l’aigue ardent”.
There was also one of the village fountains and a water trough for horses.
At number 26, magnificent frescos depicting the white penitents were recently discovered which date back to 1510. On your right is the rue de la Glissade or “Slide” for those who are tempted.

Rue de la Glissade : This passage way used to lead all the way to Le Cannet, Antibes, Valbonne and Vallauris. The people of Mougins had given it the name of “Roumpe Cuou” which means “botton bumper” in Provençal because of its steep drop. The tunnel on the left used to lead to the first chapel of the penitents. Inside there is and old pressing screw that was part of an oil mill which is now rue des Vanniers.
Turn left on to the rue des Isnardons, which is flanked on its west side by the hotel “Le Vaste Horizon”, Cultural centre of Mougins city hall.

Vaste Horizon : It was in this former hotel that one morning in 1936, Picasso arrived with his bags, and it was here that he fell in love with Mougins. Paul Eluard, Jean Cocteau, Man Ray, and Rosemonde Gérard soon followed his example, and together, overlooking the beautiful islands of Lérins, they shaped the future of artistic expression.
The story is told of the night Picasso painted every wall of his room, only to face the wrath of the hotel owner who made the unknown painter cover over his work with white paint the next day. This did not discourage Picasso, who settled permanently in Mougins next to the chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Vie, where he lived out his last days. Today this well preserved building hosts the cultural centre.
Continue your visit by going up toward the village to the place des Patriotes. At the fountain, take a left on to the rue Commandeur.

Rue Commandeur (inventor of the medical imaging) : This street was incorporated into the fortifications that surrounded the village. You can admire one of its art galleries while making your way once more toward the place du Lieutenant Isnard.
It is from this square that one used to come into the city through the Porte Sarrazine and Porte des Isnardons entrances. The latter was located at the top of what is now rue du Colonel Roustan, but it was destroyed during the 18th century.

Rue du Colonel Roustan : During the Middle Ages, this was the end of a path that came from Grasse and passed by the old fountain. Later it was named after Colonel Roustan, a Mougins hero who lived in the “Santa-Lucia” villa. This villa was also home to such celebrities as Roland Petit, Zizi Jeanmaire, Yves Saint-Laurent, and Paul Anka. Going up towards the place des Mûriers, you will walk along beside the remains of a rampart and watchman’s round to arrive a the square.

Place des Mûriers : In the house where Commandant Lamy was born (number 36) the old tower was the home of a weaver who was also the village barber. He had the honor of shaving, among others, the famous outlaw Gaspard de Besse who was eventually found in Maurin des Maures and beaten in Aix-en-Provence before the greif-stricken public. Now an artist has his studio next door. Ramparts surrounded the place des Mûriers, once called the place Saint-Pierre. To the right, on the rue du Moulin, is the old oil mill, which was once called the “Moulin Isnard.” It was later converted into a restaurant by the master chefRoger Vergé. The decorator Roger Vivier, who also designed the shoes worn by the Queen of England when she was crowned, did the restorations. In the blind alley are the old wine cellars and storage tanks of “La Salle”, which was the church of the Abbots of Lérins who were the lords of Mougins. At the far end of the square is the old bread oven called the “four de Béranger” where the inhabitants had to come to make their bread.

Placette de l’Eglise : Further along, on the placette de l’Église you will find the only entrance to the village, which is still standing today, called the Porte Sarrazine.
The adjoining house has also been the City Hall and a school. One of the rooms on the ground floor was also a prison at one time.
Today it has become the museum of Photography, thanks to the donations of André Villers. Temporary exhibitions are shown on the first floor.
On the second floor you will find a permanent collection of antique photography equipment, as well as photographs taken of Mougins in 1900. The third floor houses a collection of photographs of Picasso taken by the great contemporary photographers J.-H. Lartigue, R. Doisneau, E. Quinn, D.D.
Duncan, S. Roth, L. Clergue, Otero, Denise Colomb, and of course André Villers. Temporary exhibitions are regularly on display.

Place de l’Eglise Albicocco : This was once the ground of a cemetery inside the city walls. It was then dug up and transfered to the place Sainte-Anne so that a reservoir could be installed which was fed by a “fire pump” that brought water to Mougins from a spring called “les Horts de la Salle.”
This was the first aquaduct in Mougins. On the right is the church, which was built before the revolution on the site of a sewer and an oil mill. Facing it is a tower, which was once joined to the ramparts and served to defend the village.
Now take a few moments to pause in the church of Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur. The oldest part of the church, which includes the door to what is now the sacristy with a stone cross overhead, was probably the former lordships’ chapel of Sainte-Marie. It was built in three phases, starting in the 11th century during the term of Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur. A second wing was added at the beginning of the 19th century.

Eglise paroissiale de Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur : The sacristy dates from the 11th century. Additions were built during the 18th and 19th centuries and the bell tower was raised even higher.
You can also see the statues of Saint-Joseph and Sainte-Marie in gold leaf from the Grasse chool of the 18th century, and a crucifix from the 15th century. The baptismal was built in the 18th century and the altar stone was cut in the 11th century.

Rue des Orfèvres : This was once a small street that ran along the ramparts inside the village. There were many artisans, especially the goldsmith Bernardin Bareste. In 1666, he was the only craftsman of his kind in the region and made gold coins for the abbey of Lérins. Today you will still find many artisans here and a gold leaf artist has taken the place of Bernardin Bareste.

Rue des Lombards : You will notice on your right, about thirty steps ahead, the entrance to the courtyard of the abbey church of the abbots of Lérins. Number 71 is where Jacques Brel stayed while he was studying for his pilot’s licence. The rue Honoré-Henry will take you back to the starting point of the tour.

Rue Honoré Henry : This street takes its name from a former mayor of Mougins. After the place du Commandant Lamy, continue towards the place des Patriotes.

Place des Patriotes : The “Lavoir” or public washhouse, built in 1894, is still used by some determined laundresses. However, it also serves as an art gallery which hosts exhibitions year round and the provençal nativity scene in December. On the rampart across the way is what was once the municipal slaughterhouse. There is now an art gallery and a bar with a vaulted ceiling that is worth the visit. The square itself was constructed on what was once Sainte- Anne’s cemetery. There was a chapel of the same name, which stood across from “L’Amandier” restaurant, but unfortunately it was destroyed.
From the panoramic table next to the statue of Commandant Lamy (famous Mougins citizen who gave his name to the capital of Tchad, “Fort Lamy,” which is now “N’djamena”) you can admire the view, which spreads from the Esterel to the bay of Cannes and includes the Grasse countryside and
the Mercantour mountains.

This is the end of our hilltop promenade. We hope it has allowed you to relive a bit of the history of Mougins.