A Provence walking tour: discovering the alpine village of Sainte Agnes
A walking holiday in Provence through the history of time
The first inhabitants of Sainte Agnès date back to around 1 000BC. Due to its strategic position, the Romans used it as a fort and many Counts then requisitioned the village over the centuries. During the 14th century, the old walls were left to ruin and the village was slowly built in their place. Sainte Agnès officially became French in 1860 when the counties of Nice and Savoy joined the French Kingdom.
From 1932 to 1938, a fort was built along the Maginot line as a way of defending France from coastal attacks. During the Second World War, this fort in Sainte Agnes played a strategic role in the fight against the Italians with the artillery fire preventing them from entering Menton.
Why should you visit Saint Agnès on your self-guided Provence walking tour?
Today, Sainte Agnès is considered one of the most beautiful medieval villages in France. Perched at 780 metres above sea level, you could never bore of the incredible panoramic view that opens out to the bay of Menton and the Mediterranean Sea! It is overflowing with history and is a prime example of a French fortified and medieval village.
The hilly back country of the French Riviera is a hikers’s paradise. You pass through remote villages, over hilltops and low mountains, through deep valleys and along fairly rocky terrain. It is a very quaint and charming part of France, where time seems to have stood still.
But perhaps the main reason for visiting Sainte Agnès on your self-guided walking stay in Provence is to stay at the unforgettable Hotel Saint Yves. It is the only accommodation in the village and is very welcoming, serves heaps of comfort food for dinner, and hosts many other walkers such as yourselves, it is essentially a clean backpacker’s hotel. It is intentionally unpretentious. Nothing fancy, and certainly no bells and whistles. We still receive hand-written faxes from the Saint Yves as means of communication. Seriously! Even though the hotel may not conform to the ‘goûts du jour’ it is a real highlight of this Provence walking trip and we are certain that you will feel the same.