• Photo: Arthur R. / Shutterstock

Haut-de-Cagnes

Could this be the most beautiful village in southern France? Part-time residents Renoir, Soutine, Modigliani, and Simone de Beauvoir are a few who thought so. Although from N7 you may be tempted to give wide berth to the seaside town of Cagnes-sur-Mer—with its congested sprawl of freeway overpasses, numerous tourist-oriented stores, beachfront pizzerias, and the train station—follow the brown signs inland touting "Bourg Médiéval" and the steep road will lead you up into one of the most heavenly perched villages on the Riviera. Even Alice, of Wonderland fame, would adore this steeply cobbled Old Town, honeycombed as it is with tiny piazzas, return-to-your-starting-point-twice alleys, and winding streets that abruptly change to stairways. Many of the pretty residences are dollhouse-size (especially the hobbit houses on Rue Passebon) and most date from the 14th and 15th centuries.

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