A gem on the Côte d'Azur.

by Bert Schwarz

Between Cannes (~6km) and Grasse (~10km), in the Alpes-Maritimes department, the municipality of Mougins is only a few kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea. The famous route Napoléon, which connects Cannes with Grenoble, passes through it. Mougins is a real insider's tip, a jewel that really deserves attention.


Story, Camera, Editor : Bert Schwarz

© travel-magazine TV 2020

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Since its founding, the town of Mougins has had agricultural importance. Since the Middle Ages, this has been a place known for its production of jasmine, which is used as a raw material by perfumers, for example in Grasse. Mougins is divided into a medieval village and a modern part.

Situated on a steep hill, Vieux Mougins winds its way up the hill like a snail's shell and looks almost too perfect to be real.

Mougins Picasso © Bert Schwarz

Picasso discovered the medieval village in 1935 with his lover Dora Marr and lived here with his last love, Jacqueline Roque, from 1961 until his death in 1973. Many artists and other prominent personalities have also been seduced by Mougin's charm. These include Picasso Cocteu, Fernand Léger, Paul Eluard, Man Ray, Winston Churchill, Christian Dior, Catherine Deneuve, Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel and many others.

The spirit of Picasso lives on in the old town, which squeezes itself between the old city walls: during his lifetime he invited his friends to Mougins, and they all founded a community of artists who lived and worked here. The community has remained, survived and lives in an impressive way - different from what we found in Le Castellet or St. Paul de Venice.

Mougins Kunst- und Restaurantszene © Bert Schwarz

And Mougins is also one of the most popular places to eat in France. Among the many first-class restaurants are the two restaurants of master chef Roger Vergés Moulin de Mougins and Amandier de Mougins, the first of which is the most exclusive and expensive. Since we want to remain independent when collecting our stories and also pay our bills, we decided not to visit the restaurants, as we were afraid that our credit cards would be cancelled when we paid. Apart from that, we are so underdressed at work that even the dimensions of a TV camera don't compensate.

Mougins © Bert Schwarz

And we still had to work off the recommendation of our superior from the L'Oustaou de Mouins and visited his former employer in the restaurant "Rendez-vous de Mougins" and - for our traditional last dinner - "Le Bistrot de Mougins" opposite, a house with tradition.

In such a small, old place one should assume to have seen everything now: the lovingly maintained houses, the artists who live and work here, the hotels and restaurants, some of which (without envy) are outside our production budget. But this assumption is also deceptive. We visited the Musée d'Art Classique de Mougins, where more than 800 original exhibits from ancient Egypt, Greece, combined with neo-classical and modern artists are linked and exhibited in an exciting way. Here you can find names like Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Cézanne, Dali, Warhol and many more.

MACM © Bert Schwarz

The presentation of the works of art and, of course, the works themselves also cast a spell over the non-real-knowing of this profession.

Last but not least, a detail that, like the village itself, is exceptional: no matter on which route one approaches the old town, the road ends in a parking lot, because the village is car-free. The next surprise (especially if you've met St. Paul de Vence before) is that parking is free. And there are two electric golf carts driving around, picking up the confused visitor and dropping him off at the edge of the village. And that doesn't cost anything either. I think that the tip for the friendly young people who chauffeur you should be a bit more generous.

Mougins am Abend © Bert Schwarz

Conclusion: we come back on our next visit to the region, a little better planned, less spontaneous and provided with the time necessary to do justice to the artists living and working here alone and to visit a few more sights here for which unfortunately there was no more time left.