Last year when we visited Haut-de-Cagnes the Grimaldi Castle Museum was closed so this week we returned, making certain beforehand to take note of its opening hours!
We've discovered many shops and establishments such as tourist information offices, museums, etc. close at noon and reopen at 2:00 PM. The Grimaldi Castle Museum adheres to this schedule giving us ample time for an outdoor lunch at Le Village Restaurant.
|Le Village Restaurant|
|View from our table|
Add a glorious sunny day to the mix (the best of this entire winter IMHO), plus a bottle of wine, tasty food and an incredible view - and voila - life is good!
|Outdoor area of Le Jimmy's Restaurant (where we had lunch last year)|
Meanwhile some residents of Haut-de-Cagnes were busy decorating the square with a flower covered castle tower replica for the Fete des Mai (May 1st festival).
The castle proper is built on the site of an earlier fortress occupied first by the Greeks and later the Romans.
Around 1300 Rainier Grimaldi built the existing castle although it was only used as a fortress of supervision and defence in case of outsider attacks. In 1620 Baron Jean-Henri Grimaldi transformed the fortress into a more comfortable domain. This room includes his portrait as well as the House of Grimaldi family tree of which Prince Albert of Monaco is a distant relative.
The museum is multi-purpose and on the main floor there is an olive tree museum with oil making equipment and memorabilia.
Moving up to the second floor via the triangular courtyard staircase one cannot help but focus on the tree on the landing and the blue sky overhead.
Upon closer inspection one sees the tree is laden with strands of natural beads.
The rooms on this floor are dedicated to contemporary artists and art.
|View of Haut-de-Cagnes by Emile Lejeune, 1928|
|La Maison de Modigliani by Marie-Madeleine de Rasky, 1963|
|Portraits by Suzy Solidor|
The third floor is all about architecture and how royals decorate to impress.
The detailing of the hallways on the upper floors appears to be relief sculptures, but is in fact painted and quite flat AND impressive.
These coat of arms are also painted.
I was transfixed by the magical creatures that adorn each column. No two are alike.
In all we spent about 90-minutes exploring the Grimaldi Castle Museum and are so glad we were finally able to see it in all its glory.
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