Small and large stories of Villeneuve-Loubet

The first traces go back to Antiquity when our territory had already seduced the Romans...

The site of Villeneuve-Loubet belonged to the territory of the city of Antipolis. In Vaugrenier, archaeological excavations have brought to light the remains of a Greek sanctuary from the 2nd century BC as well as the remains of a large temple built in the centre of a Roman agglomeration established along the Via Aurelia in the 1st century BC.


A city founded by Romeo

It was at the beginning of the 13th century that the seigneury of Villeneuve was formed by aggregating the territories of three fiefs: Le Gaudelet, Le Loubet and La Garde.

Originally, the warlike expedition was led by Romeo da Villanova, a Catalan nobleman in the service of the Count of Provence. Around 1230, Romée, as a victor, built a castle (of which the keep remains), founded the village and created the new seigneury, giving it its name: Villeneuve.

Romée de Villeneuve, Seneschal of Provence, was a considerable character, he played the role of "first minister" within the count's court.

He even became a legendary character celebrated by Dante Alighieri in "The Divine Comedy".


The medieval fortress, a remarkable historical monument

Built around 1230 on the territory conquered by Romée de Villeneuve, it is one of the rare examples of medieval architecture in the Alpes-Maritimes.

It has kept its magnificent pentagonal keep, 33 metres high. The surrounding walls that protect the fortress are pierced with large gun ports from the early 16th century.

The dwelling was redesigned over time after the castle lost its military function and became a holiday resort.

The latest modifications date from the end of the 19th century, as does the park, planted with Mediterranean and exotic species, which is also listed as a Historic Monument. It is a private property belonging to the family of the Marquis de Panisse-Passis since 1742.

 


At the time of the Renaissance

In the 16th century, the Lascaris, lords of Villeneuve, managed to rebuild and repopulate the village, which had been deserted due to epidemics and food shortages.

It was at this time that Villeneuve-Loubet encountered the History of France, by being at the heart of the Italian wars which opposed the Emperor Charles V to the King of France.

Occupied in 1524 by the Constable of Bourbon, at the head of the imperial armies, then in 1536 by the Emperor Charles V in person, the castle will know its hours of glory in 1538 when the King of France, François I, will come to stay there to negotiate the Truce of Nice with the Emperor at the request of Pope Paul III.


The " Belle Epoque " of Villeneuve-Loubet

During the Belle Epoque (1870-1914), with its shops and craftsmen, the commune, which had a thousand inhabitants at the time, was a lively little town.

Its main vocation was agricultural, thanks to the land irrigated by the Loup, where market gardening flourished. Wheat, vines, olive trees and perfume plants (mint, geraniums, rose of May) are also grown for the perfume factories of Grasse.

Silkworm breeding, which illustrates the coat of arms of the commune, has disappeared and it is the production of tobacco, which is highly regulated, which provides a considerable additional income.

It was at this time that excursion tourism was born in Villeneuve. People from Grasse or Nice got into the habit of coming to relax on Sundays on the banks of the Loup. Hotel-restaurants were established, guinguettes were set up on the shady banks, people went for walks in boats or horse-drawn carriages...

And the arrival of the tramway at the beginning of the 20th century definitively anchored the tourist vocation of Villeneuve-Loubet.

It is worth noting that after the First World War, Marshal Pétain took up residence in a superb property on the Ginestières side, which has since been destroyed.
 


The birth of the present-day residential city

After the Second World War, numerous development projects transformed the small agricultural village into a coastal, residential and tourist town.

At the time when the Côte d'Azur became a choice destination for summer holidays, Villeneuve-Loubet was the French capital of campsites, with some thirty plots of land established on the seafront as well as in the village.

Then high quality real estate programs (Hauts de Vaugrenier, Hameaux du Soleil, Domaine Saint-Andrieu) were built.

The most emblematic is Marina Baie des Anges, built between 1969 and 1993. On land acquired by Lucien Nouvel, the architect André Minangoy designed a real tourist complex around a marina. Jean Marchand is the dynamic promoter who succeeded in bringing this ambitious project to fruition, classified in 2001 as "architectural heritage of the 20th century".