Chateau Grimaldi may take you somewhat by surprise if you are expecting the usual historical museum experience - it also holds regular exhibitions of contemporary art and isn’t afraid of displaying bizarre and sometimes challenging installations. The artworks are incongruous in such a traditional context and the collection changes regularly, so you never know quite what you’re going to get when you visit!
Built in 1300 by Rainier Grimaldi as a military stronghold, this castle dominates the small medieval quarter of Haut de Cagnes and can be seen from miles around. Chateau Grimaldi was transformed in 1620 by Jean-Henri Grimaldi into more of a palatial residence than a defensive fort. Acquired by Cagnes-Sur-Mer in 1937 it was turned into a museum and declared a historic monument in 1948; as well as retaining many original architectural features it also houses a small museum dedicated to olive farming, with traditional tools on display.
As well as the ever-changing contemporary art exhibitions there is also a permanent collection dedicated to Suzy Solidor - singer, muse and actress extraordinaire of the 1930’s. She set out on a mission to become the most painted woman of all time and amassed a collection of over 200 portraits of herself; in a not-at-all-narcissistic gesture she kindly donated 40 of them to the chateau on the condition that they never be separated and that they remain on permanent display in a room of her choice.
Once you’ve perused the olive museum and art exhibitions you should make your way up to the tower; the views stretch out for miles in all directions from mountains to sea across the red-tiled rooftops of Cagnes-Sur-Mer and beyond. The tower is sometimes closed in windy weather but if it’s open, it’s worth a look.
- "The Chateau has several interesting art expositions (as well as a couple of history exhibits) but in addition to that make sure to climb upstairs and enjoy the fabulous view of the town and its surroundings from high above!" - Trip Advisor
- "This is a beautiful old Grimaldi Chateau. My favorite time of year is May when is it decorated with flowers very historical and surrounded with a place filled with cafes!" - Trip Advisor
- "I'm not a frequent visitor to art galleries but really enjoyed this place! The art was interesting and bizarre in equal measures! We were never sure what we were going to see next! Some exhibits may not be suitable for young children. Views from the top of the castle are great!" - Trip Advisor
The easiest way to get to Chateau Grimaldi is on the free shuttle bus (number 44) that leaves every 10 minutes or so from Square Bourdet in the centre of Cagnes-Sur-Mer. There is plenty of paid parking at the bus station, or you can connect from the 200 bus that runs between Nice and Cannes.
When to come
The castle is open year-round from 10:00 to either 17:00 (October to March) or 18:00 (April to September). Please note that it is closed for lunch from midday (or 13:00 in July and August) to 14:00, and all day every Tuesday.
How to get passes
Entry is 4€ per person (concessions available) but you can get a joint ticket for 8€ that includes the nearby Renoir Museum. Free for people under 26.
- Haut-de-Cagnes - place du Château