A Brief Overview of Mougins
One of the prettiest hillside villages on the French Riviera, Mougins is an ideal holiday destination. Built in Medieval times, the old part of the village dates all the way back to the 11th Century. Back in those days, Mougins belonged to the Count of Antibes, but he gifted it to the monks of the nearby Iles de Lérins, and it later became a village in its own right. Unusually, the old town of Mougins is shaped like a snail shell, with cobbled streets winding their way up to the top of the hill in a circular pattern. For centuries the villagers lived a peaceful life amongst the olive groves, but then celebrated surrealist painter Francis Picabia came to town. On holiday in the area, Picabia fell in love with the glorious golden light in Mougins and decided to move from Paris to the South of France. His friends quickly followed and in the 1920’s, and 30’s Mougins played host to the creme de le creme of the art community. Picasso, Man Ray and Jean Cocteau have all lived in and immortalised Mougins during their careers. After becoming known as the perfect place to summer on the French Riviera, Mougins attracted a host of celebrities over the years including Yves St Laurent and Christian Dior, Winston Churchill, Edith Piaf and Elizabeth Taylor. Now it's your turn to spend time in the garden-city of Provence and discover this beautiful little village for yourself.
The old town of Mougins is a lovely place to explore. Thanks to its location, the higher part of town has some fantastic views over the bay of Cannes and the Esterel mountains behind. Leave the car at home though as the old part of town is strictly pedestrian-only.The little streets are full of art galleries and boutiques, and there seems to be a fountain or statue on every corner. The many hanging baskets and floral displays you’ll see all over the village are a small nod to the town’s heritage as the main supplier of flowers to Grasse for the perfume industry. Shopping fans will love the charming boutiques dotted all over the old town selling everything from wicker baskets to ceramics. And for some serious browsing, Tournamy, in the newer part of Mougins has a modern shopping centre with lots of clothing and accessory stores. Famous for its connection to the art world, there are several art museums in Mougins, plus dozens of ateliers and workshops to visit. And of course, Mougins is not just known for art. It’s also the home of gastronomy and as such, has over 40 restaurants and bistros, many of which have coveted Michelin stars. If you love food, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Mougins has so many excellent places to eat that you could easily try a different restaurant every day of your holiday! No wonder the town’s unofficial motto is ‘eat your art out’!
About 50% of Mougins is made up of parks, gardens and forests and there’s no shortage of greenery in and around the town. The Parc de la Valmasque to the east of Mougins is a huge pine and oak tree forest which stretches out for miles. This is the perfect spot for leisurely afternoon strolls and picnics thanks to its shady trees and 20km of footpaths to explore. The nearby La Brague park is another lovely space for hiking or jogging, and also has a bridle path for pony trekking through the forest. Sitting between the parks is the Etang de Font Merle, an enormous natural pond. The pond is home to Europe’s largest collection of lotus plants, a real must-see in August when the flowers look and smell heavenly. Mougins also has a large man-made conservation site called Eco’Parc with an indoor/outdoor exhibition space which hosts regular shows. And it’s not just the parks that offer outdoor activities in Mougins. With not 1 but 2 golf clubs, a tennis club, skate park and much more besides, this is the ideal place take advantage of the Mediterranean climate and spend your holiday outdoors in the sunshine. Mougins is only 15 minutes away from the coast if you fancy spending time at the beach or testing the wide range of exciting watersports down in Cannes and Antibes. And in winter your nearest ski station is less than an hour away, meaning you can have breakfast at home and still be up on the slopes in time for a full day’s skiing.
With so much to see and do in such glorious surroundings, you’ll love holidaying in the idyllic little village of Mougins. A word of warning though, it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with such a beautiful place, and we predict that one visit to Mougins will most definitely have you coming back for more.
Must See and Do in Mougins
There’s so much to see and do in the area around Mougins, that you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to holiday activities. In the town itself, you’ll find dozens of art galleries and workshops to explore, plus some excellent art museums. And of course, this is the perfect place for food-lovers, thanks to the town’s reputation as the capital of gastronomy. The hills around the village are ideal for soaking up the French Riviera sunshine, spend a morning hiking or pony trekking through the forest or play a round of golf at one of Mougins’ two beautifully-kept courses. Here are a few of our recommendations for fun things to do while you’re in the area:
Get Masterchef ready
Mougins is famous for its incredible restaurant scene and gastronomic cuisine. And now it’s your turn to get in on the action and whip up a gourmet French meal. Book one of the exclusive packages at the cookery school of L’Amandier de Mougins and spend the day with their celebrated chef Denis Fétisson. L’Amandier is situated in the heart of the old town of Mougins in a former olive oil mill, the perfect Provençal setting. During the class, you’ll learn how to cook classic French dishes and get tips directly from the chef about menu ideas and presentation. L’Amandier uses seasonal and local produce as much as possible, start with a carpaccio of locally caught scallops, then follow up with a tart made from Menton lemons. Once the cooking is over, you’ll have the chance to taste your dishes and follow a session with the sommelier about the best wines to pair with your menu. This is one class where you definitely won’t mind doing your homework!
Dance the night away
Mougins might be a small village, but its social life is just as sparkling as any of the larger resorts down on the coast. For a fun evening out with friends, reserve dinner and a show at the Saint Petersbourg dinner theatre and enjoy an evening of cabaret and music in the heart of Mougins. You’ll know you’ve arrived at the Saint Petersbourg when you see the huge Russian Matryoshka dolls which have become a bit of a landmark in the village. Before dinner, order a house cocktail while singers and magicians perform on stage, and the cabaret host keeps you entertained with a stand-up comedy routine. Then sit back for the main event, a Russian-themed dance show performed as you enjoy your dinner. And once the show’s over, it’ll be your turn to kick up your heels when the cabaret’s resident DJ turns the theatre into a dancefloor for the rest of the evening. As the song goes, life is a cabaret old friend, so come to the cabaret.
Sample gourmet street food
One of the best known specialities from the French Riviera is the famous Pan Bagnat, a tasty tuna salad sandwich drenched in olive oil . Created in nearby Nice sometime in the 19th Century, the Pan Bagnat was originally a snack eaten by fishermen in the port but has since become a popular dish all over the French Riviera. La Place de Mougins restaurant has decided to take the humble Pan Bagnat upmarket by creating a fabulous gourmet version filled with delicious lobster, rather than the more usual tuna fish. Celebrated gastronomic journalist Élodie Rouge was so taken with the Mougins version she listed it in her latest book as one of the specialities everybody should try at least once. With such a good write up you know this is one sandwich that won’t disappoint, so make sure you pop into La Place de Mougins while you’re in town to try it for yourself. That’s one more thing you can cross off your French Riviera bucket list!
Take in some modern art
One of Mougins’ most famous attractions is the MACM Classic Art Museum. Works by former Mougins residents Picabia, Cocteau, Man Ray and Picasso draw thousands of visitors to the former Medieval townhouse all year round. But the village also has another museum, ‘Le Lavoir’ or ‘The Washhouse’. While it might not be as well known as the bigger MACM, Le Lavoir is most definitely worth a visit while you’re in town. This charming little museum which was indeed a former washhouse dates back to the 19th Century, but the art on display is refreshingly modern. The pieces are beautifully staged around the washhouse’s original stone basin and the artist is often in residence to chat about his/her latest exhibition. This is the perfect place to discover upcoming young talent from the local area and beyond. So this summer, beat the crowds heading for the Picassos and stop off here instead while you’re in Mougins, we promise that you won’t be disappointed.
If you’d like more ideas about things to do in and around Mougins, please contact our concierge team. They’ll be delighted to give you recommendations for your next vacation.
Luxury Villa Rentals in Mougins
Some of the most luxurious villas in the area can be found hidden away in the hills around Mougins. This is the perfect spot for a laid-back holiday in one of our exclusive rental properties. Get away from it all and enjoy a slower pace of life in this pretty little village, where art and gastronomy combine to create a unique vacation experience.
If you’re travelling with friends, this stunning domain would make the perfect vacation house. With 5 ensuite bedrooms and a spacious living area, you’ll have more than enough room to holiday in style. The house has a fully-equipped kitchen and wine cellar for dining at home, and a cinema room and gym to keep you entertained. The outside space is made up of an outdoor kitchen and dining area, a beautiful overflow pool with a sun terrace and a petanque court for those lazy summer afternoons. Relax on one of the terraces and then crank up the outdoor music system to get the party started, this house was made for the summer season on the French Riviera.
Full of Provençal charm, this lovely Mougins villa located in a quiet residential area was recently refurbished by a renowned local architect. You’ll love waking up in one of the villa’s 3 ground floor bedrooms surrounded by beautiful olive trees. Upstairs, the villa has a modern open plan living area and kitchen overlooking the old village and the Esterel mountains. With 3 covered terraces, a breakfast patio and 2 poolside eating areas, you’ll be able to soak up the French Riviera sunshine all day long, the vacation starts here.
This sumptuous contemporary property is just waiting to welcome you to Mougins. Inspired by Japanese zen design, the 5-bedroom house is comfortable and luxurious both inside and out. Enjoy the massage room, home theatre and sauna inside, and admire the beautifully landscaped gardens outside. The house has stunning views over the village and the Mediterranean, which are best enjoyed while relaxing in the enormous heated pool or lounging on the sundeck with a cocktail. Who could ask for anything more in a French Riviera vacation?
For a family holiday with a difference, consider this beautiful contemporary villa set in the Mougins countryside. There are 5 large bedrooms and a great living/dining space, ideal for relaxing and enjoying long lunches. Downstairs all the rooms open onto a sunny terrace which leads to the beautiful garden. The kids will love hanging out by the pool with its summer living room, while you fire up the BBQ ready for dinner. A summer spent in this house will be one they’ll never forget.
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When is Best to Visit Mougins?
Mougins is a year-round destination. The pretty village square is absolutely charming during the long summer evenings with its magical golden light, but you’ll also love visiting during the cooler months when you can sip a vin chaud in the winter sunshine. Like the rest of the French Riviera, Mougins is lucky enough to enjoy hot summers and mild winters, the perfect climate for visiting this idyllic little town at any time.
Peak season in the area tends to be from May to September when the nearby Cannes Film Festival signals the start of the summer. The lovely countryside around Mougins is the ideal place to escape the heat down on the coast, and the olive groves and pine trees provide some much-needed shade for summer strolls or picnics outdoors. Cannes and Antibes are only a 15-minute drive away if you fancy a day at one of the exclusive beach clubs or an evening out watching the annual fireworks competition over the Iles de Lérins. Make the most of being so close to the coast, before heading back up to your holiday home in Mougins to enjoy the peace and quiet of village life.
In Autumn and Spring, the village celebrates its Provençal heritage with festivals dedicated to flowers and local food. Christmas is a particularly good time to visit as Mougins puts on a fabulous Christmas market. There are always tons of food and drink stands, gifts galore, an outdoor ice rink and concerts in the village square. Mougins is also just a couple of hours from some of the region’s best ski resorts, so you’ll be able to hit the fresh powder while you’re in town. Just remember to take your suncream as every day is a bluebird day in the Southern Alps. With so much going on in the region throughout the year, Mougins is the perfect base for a fabulous holiday on the French Riviera.
Top Events in Mougins
No matter what time of year you decide to visit Mougins, there’s always something fun going on in the village. Take part in a traditional festival, listen to jazz under the stars or get your Christmas shopping done at the outdoor market. Life in the hills of Mougins may be laid-back, but the town’s social calendar is always full. Here are a few of the year’s highlights which we think you’ll enjoy:
- Un hiver en musique ~ January -February
- Printemps des poetes ~ March
- Ecopark floral art show ~ March
- Urban trail race ~ March
- Ecopark Eden Festival ~ May
- International festival of gastronomy and lifestyle ~ June
- Fête de la musique ~ June
- Les nocturnes concerts ~ July-August
- Pour l’amour du Jazz~ August
- Halloween Festival ~ October
- Christmas market ~ December
How to get to Mougins?
Travelling to Mougins is simple. Just 15 minutes away from Antibes and Cannes, drive up into the hills and take in some of the beautiful Provençal countryside along the way. We’ve put together a list of suggestions to help make your journey to the French Riviera as smooth and comfortable as possible.
- By plane: Fly into the Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport just down the coast from Mougins
- By car: Drive from Nice to Mougins in under 40 minutes
- By helicopter: Hop on a helicopter in Nice and arrive in Cannes 5 minutes later
- By rail: Take a train to Antibes or Cannes
- By yacht: If you would like to reserve a berth on the coast during your stay, we have partnerships with local yacht brokers
If you’re based not to far away, we can arrange for a private car service to pick you up and take you directly to Mougins. Save all the hassle of renting a car and let our drivers get you there in style. For more information about this service or to book a transfer, please contact our team.
So, you’ve read all about the area and checked out our luxury rental properties in and around Mougins. The next step is contacting us to book your French Riviera vacation today. Get in touch with our team by email or by phone to organise your stay in beautiful Mougins. We’re ready and waiting to find you the perfect home away from home for your next holiday.