I discovered this charming serene boutique hotel tucked away in the medieval hilltop village of Haut de Cagnes last December. This hidden gem was the venue of our fairytale inspired photo shoot for the Spring-Summer 2013 Collection of Le Hatchery, an Australian sustainable fashion brand. Since then, I fell in love with the beauty of le Cagnard and I am so thankful that I’ve been invited once again to really get to know this romantic place, its history, its magic…
Le Cagnard is not an easy hotel to find. I remember looking for it for the first time with my friend, who was the hair and make-up artist for Le Hatchery’s shoot. We couldn’t take the car further due to road works and apparently our GPS stopped working! So we had to carry all our bags with two suitcases thru the narrow streets going up the hill. Thank God for the friendly local who showed us the way (don’t worry Mark & I were able to drive all the way to the hotel and parked across during my next visit). But, once you’ve found the small stairway that leads to its door, you then realise that you’ve stumbled upon a rather special, unbelievably romantic, spectacular home in the heart of the French Riviera.
Here are the top three reasons why you’ll fall in love with the magical le Cagnard:
1. It is historically known for its luxury and high class. The history of le Cagnard is closely related to the village’s historic Grimaldi Castle: in particular Salle de Garde with its fireplace and vaulted archway, dating back to Medieval times where the Knights protected the village and its castle. In this magic place Mrs de Maubeuge, owner of le Cagnard in the beginning of last century, commissioned Emile Wéry to create the famous ”Elephants” that was restored to its former glory in 2012. Already in the 1930’s le Cagnard was known for its luxury and high class.
In 1960 Mrs and Mr Barrel purchased le Cagnard from Mrs de Maubeuge and in 1970 the hotel became a member of Relais and Château. The famous and unique ceiling of the restaurant, which is composed of 200 hand painted panels and opens to reveal the mesmerizing azure sky, was painted in 1986 by the renowned architect Philippe Roberti.
(Guests can enjoy the Riviera’s sun at the hotel’s restaurant. Thanks to its brilliant handpainted sunroof)
In 2011 a new chapter began when le Cagnard changed hands and the Ivarsson family became the new owners. After a complete renovation and renewal, the hotel reopened its doors to the public and continues to run as a luxury family owned boutique hotel. Le Cagnard operates with the same passion and dedication that guests enjoyed with the previous owners.
2. It is an ultimate hideaway destination. You can enjoy a glorious feeling of the Mediterranean breeze with the breathtaking view of the Riviera’s blue seas and skies from the hotel’s extraordinaire windows or right at your suite’s terrace away from the busy touristic areas of Cote D’Azur. Il est parfait if you want an intimate getaway that is 3-5-min drive from the beach and train station, 10-15 mins from Nice International Airport (public buses are also available).
Le Cagard is a Provençal term meaning “the sun everywhere around”. Each room attracts natural light and has incomparable character featuring hand-picked furniture, super comfy beds (sleep like a king or queen!), chic bathroom with stone sinks, earthenware pieces and radiant heated floors, and the rooms are finely decorated with Trompe-l’œil paintings by different artists in the region.
As you walk through the hallway, you’ll find beautiful hand-painted details, lovely staircase (it has a cute elevator too) and seriously, a lot of doors!
Trivia: Did you know that Bono’s private villa in South of France has similar stairs and tile finishing like le Cagnard?
In addition to the top class service by its delightful staff, the hotel boasts a gastronomic experience with Château Le Cagnard’s Head Chef Stephane Francolino.
Moroever, the hotel arranges unique activities such as ‘Get your hands dirty with the Chef’ and ‘A True Love Story’ that you can enjoy with your partner or whole family. That’s something to look forward to!
3. It is a haven for the Stars. Its location has been a source of inspiration for numerous painters such as Renoir, Soutine, Kelin, Foujita, Modigliani, Derain, writers and artists such as Georges Simenon, John Lewis, Brigitte Bardot, Greta Gardbo and others who have had homes and villas here. At le Cagnard, you will discover twenty six Provençal-style signature rooms and suites named after some of these world-renowned artists. I’ve been to Renoir, Matisse, Tusselda and Picasso and these rooms are G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!
Across the centuries, the Château has welcomed famous guests from many various backgrounds, including Knights, Governors, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Rock Stars. Among those that have enjoyed the hotel’s charms one can cite a few names: The Beatles, John Mayor, Jacques Chirac, Olof Palme, Robert De Niro, Simone de Beauvoir, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Marcel Pagnol, Foujita and Soutine.
Book your magical experience at le Cagnard, room rates starts from €150 per night, suites from €270. For booking and reservation, please visit: http://www.lecagnard.com.
54 RUE SOUS BARRI, CAGNES-SUR-MER
HAUT-DE-CAGNES, CÔTE D’AZUR
RECEPTION: +33 (0)4 93 20 73 22
RESTAURANT: +33 (0)4 93 20 73 21
FB Page: Hôtel & Restaurant Château Le Cagnard (www.facebook.com/lecagnard)
Le Cagnard is also featured in my previous blog, Dine in Style.
P.S. Special thanks to Sophie Baystream for the tour and photos.