On the top of the hill, we found the Sanctuary de la Garoupe (an old holy place with chapel and monastery). This place has been a spiritual place since the 5th century, when the Sainte-Hélène worship started. The small but very interesting church of Notre Dame de La Garoupe was built in the 16th century (it is also called Nôtre Dame des Amoureux).
The church has several nice icons, including a 14th century Russian icon (captured in Sevastopol during the Crimean war in 1854). The church also has a collection of votive offerings. It has been the traditional fisherman's church for centuries, so there are memorials to ships throughout it. Service on Sunday 11am is great, except an electronic organ which sounds a little bit out of place here.
The view from the terrace next to the church entry is breathtaking. The Orientation Table on the terrace contains the markings pointing to the important places (Nice, Antibes, Cannes etc). You can enjoy a panoramic view on the cape and the Mediterranean sea, going from the Lérins islands, the bay of Cannes, Juan les Pins, the old Antibes, the ramparts, and the Garoupe bay. For €1 one gets 5 minutes viewing time through the spyglass. Using it you can see for example the Baie des Anges resort, where we stayed.
Nearby is the Phare de La Garoupe. The Lighthouse is one of the most powerful of the Riviera, it dominates the Cap and is to be seen from miles around. It is open to public and it is possible to climb on its top to enjoy a great view of the Cap at 3pm every afternoon. Locals say that the old lighthouse was destroyed in World War II and rebuilt by the Americans.
March 27, 2005
From journal Antibes, a Historic Town on the French Riviera