Exploring Roquebrune will take about an hour. You can stroll through its colorful streets, which retain their authentic feel. Château de Roquebrune (tel. 04-93-35-07-22), was originally a 10th-century Carolingian castle; the present structure dates in part from the 13th century, although it was jazzed up by its wealthy British owner, Sir William Ingram, nearly a century ago. From the towers, there’s a panoramic view along the coast. The interior is open in February to May daily 10am to 12:30pm and 2 to 6pm; June to September daily 10am to 1pm and 2 to 7pm; and October to January daily 10am to 12:30pm and 2 to 5pm. Admission is 5€ for adults, 4€ for seniors, 3€ students and children 7 to 11, and free for children 6 and under.
Rue du Château leads to place William-Ingram. Cross this square to rue de la Fontaine and take a left. This leads you to the Olivier millénaire (millenary olive tree), one of the oldest in the world—it’s at least 1,000 years old.
Roquebrune and Cap-Martin have some truly exceptional guided walking tours. Each uncovers an attraction that few visitors will see. The most popular of the three is a 90-minute guided tour of the old town and castle, priced at 8€ for adults and 4€ for children ages 7 to 18, and free for children 6 and under. Tours depart whenever there are enough (at least five) participants to justify it.
Once the exclusive domain of Belgian despot King Leopold II, Cap-Martin is still a fabulously rich spit of land. At its base, you can see the ruins of the Basilique St-Martin, a ruined priory constructed by the monks of the Lérins Islands in the 11th century. After pirate raids in later centuries, notably around the 15th century, it was destroyed and abandoned. Privately owned, it is not open to visitors.
Le Corbusier and Eileen Gray on Cap Martin
Cap Martin is the fabulously rich spit of land between Monaco and Menton. Not as glitzy as Cap Ferrat or as fabled as Cap d’Antibes, its beauty lies in a 2-hour-long coastal trail that loops past the gardens of countless billionaires. This seaside path is as historical as it is beautiful. It was named after Le Corbusier, the zany French architect who built an urban utopia in Marseille (Unité d'Habitation) before constructing a coastal retreat here.
A coastal path, Sentier Le Corbusier, extends between Pointe du Cap-Martin to the eastern (meaning, the closest) frontier of Monaco. It is one of the most scenic walks along the Riviera, lasting about 2 hr. If you have a car, you can park it in the lot at avenue Winston-Churchill and begin your stroll. A sign labeled PROMENADE LE CORBUSIER marks the path.
Pride of place goes to Le Corbusier’s Cabanon log cabin. It was created by the architect to showcase his love of low-impact prefabricated living spaces. Even more fun is the row of five teeny-tiny Holiday Cabins nearby. Le Corbusier designed these 9 sq. m (97 sq. ft.) seaview escapes to prove that vacations should be about simplicity, not all-out luxury. Each one fits two beds, windows, storage, and sinks. Best of all is Villa E-1027, designed by Le Corbusier’s onetime muse, the furniture designer Eileen Gray. Splashed with frescoes and beset with period furnishings, it’s among the world’s finest visions of art deco design. The rooftop garden is pretty special too.
Guided visits to all three sites are compulsory for all visitors. Contact Cap Moderne (www.capmoderne.com; tel. 06-48-72-90-53; admission 18€ adults, 10€ children aged 7–17, 2€ for children ages 6 and under).
The scenic path ends at Monte-Carlo Beach and passes several secret sandy coves en-route. Walkers may then take the line no. 100 bus back to their rough starting point. An alternative is to return on foot from either Monte-Carlo Beach or Roquebrune-Cap-Martin train station, following the walking signs back through the Parc des Oliviers, which occupies the central spine of Cap Martin.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.