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Monday, September 15, 2014

by Prouzet

Sainte-Agnès is a French commune located on the Alpes-Maritimes in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. Its inhabitants are called Agnésois. The village has the highest Mediterranean coastal of Europe at an altitude of 800 meters. It was declared one of the most beautiful medieval villages of France.

According to an old legend, an Italian princess named Agnes fleeing a violent storm had found refuge in a cave in the village. Located about 800 meters on a rocky promontory there is a medieval castle that excavations made in 1993 dating it to the late of tenth century or early of eleventh.

The history of the town decanted into a perennial fight and resistance against neighboring city of Peille. It's amazing, it seems having enemies and spend life fighting with them was the only distraction and way of life of these medieval towns.

More recently, in 1691 to be exact, the chevalier de la Fare, governor of the county, by instructions of Louis XIV, ordered the destruction of the fortress. If the same energy employeed in destroying was invested in building the world would be really much better. But the destruction was not complete and the fortress played again an important role in the War of Austrian Succession from 1740 to 1748. Another war. They look like cartoons of Daffy Duck and Marvin the Martian.

The village was also claimed by various characters and noble families of the region. The Counts of Ventimiglia, the Counts of Provence, the House of Savoy and even the House of Grimaldi have expressed their dark desires that the village belongs to them, could not tell if by divine right or earthly law. The truth is that the coveted town that originally belonged to the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia was finally annexed to France in 1860.

In 1932 France started building one of the most formidable works of military engineering, the Maginot Line. In Sainte Agnès was built the last link of this chain, carved into the rock having a formidable artillery (see below). Its firepower made possible to contain the Italian troops. The rest of the line did not run with the same fate against German troops. So silly to invest considerable resources to make war and then destroy them one to each other. John Lennon was quite right. My God, something went wrong you in creating this bug. They lack intelligence to prevent wars and violence. And it costs a lot to them to learn.

Well, forget about wars and let's go. Surely we're going to make love and being happy. Much as we can. It's better by train. Driving to Sainte Agnès is not easy. The road winds a lot and rises steepily. Not me, thanks. Rather take a train from Paris (Gare d'Austerlitz, 85 quai d'Austerlitz, Paris 13, Metro Lines 5 and 10) to Menton (Gare de Menton) changing in Nice. Here the timetable. Being in Menton you have to book a taxi. Here some options to book by phone: Taxis Radio du Soleil and Azur Taxis Menton. Trip is 8.5 km, 27 min, from Menton.

For a place to stay do not forget that you should have booked in advance. It's very important and never I will be tired to insist on this. Hotels and places to stay are very requested. By the way, seems there are not hotels in Sainte Agnès. You have to stay at Menton. Here at you will find many options close to Sainte Agnès. Select what you like and do not hesitate to book. If something goes wrong you will have plenty of time to cancel your reservation without paying a cent. You can also have a look to Trip Advisor that always has very good recommendations. Here you have: Hotels, Vacation Rentals and a Travel Guide. It's a must to visit the Tourist Office. They always will have the most trusted and updated info about Sainte Agnès. Also I found this information about two places to stay in Sainte Agnès in the Tourist Office site.

Good time to begin to see what could we do. Well, do not think you are in Paris. Sainte Agnes is a very small town. Do not live there more than a thousand souls. It is a mountain village with its traditional customs of tranquility and country living. The first would be to understand that we came here looking for some peace and quiet. Take a walking tour of the village. It's beautiful. No, there are no guided tours or anything like that. But the people are friendly and will do whatever is in their power to make you feel comfortable. Relax, take your time and let's start our virtual tour looking at this video that will give us a clear idea of ​​what we'll find if we go to Sainte Agnes. I'm trying to convince you. Escape from that crazy city where you live and come enjoying a calm and peaceful days in this wonderful place. Do it before you go crazy with so much stress. Take advantage and visit the medieval castle and its garden and see what the French did to protect their territory creating the last link of the Maginot Line (photos above).

On a second thought there is really a guided tour in Sainte Agnès. Even better: a guided tour with a civilian, a villager. The problem is that visit is virtual, but a visit at all. And the other problem is, as you can imagine, that tour is in French. That would be too much to ask it in English. But in any case it is nice to feel, even not understanding anything, that a person who lives in the town welcome to you having a tour with him later. French does not care, like my wife shopping at any store in any language in any country, where she talks to the clerk, she feels immensely happy, she understands perfectly and makes her purchases without any problem. Let's go with these beautiful people. Language is not a barrier if the desire to have fun is more important.

Finally the best. Made for the brave. The new Attila, Hannibal, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, Napoleon, Bolivar. The new "iron ass". A two-day activity in which you should be in good physical health because you will become, with Dennis Longfellow, in a shepherd, in a rough mountain shepherd . An experience where the pain in the ass and the incredible landscapes you will see you can never forget. Join us in this virtual tour to feel what you can expect when you decide to come. Do not forget, we are waiting for you. You will not be a city dweller, you'll be a man of the field. In this video you will see how Dennis collects his troop of horses and prepare them for us for this unforgettable trip. We will travel on horseback through the mountains and will camp in huts where a splendid cook will serve a scrumptious lunch.

Well my friends, that's all for today. But have before a complete list of the best restaurants in Sainte Agnès according to Trip Advisor. Enjoy your meal. Au revoir!

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