By Tuula Rampont
At the intersection of some of the most dynamic, and glamorous, cities along the French Riviera, you’ll find the artistic town of Mougins. A cultural and gastronomic enclave sandwiched between the southern cities of Cannes and Nice, Mougins is home to both a traditional Provençal-style village and a series of modern, well-serviced neighborhoods. With its appealing location, the town is an attractive option for those looking to live the south of France lifestyle on a smaller, more accessible scale. At the last census count, the population of Mougins totaled near 20,000. The city center is around a 30-minute drive to Nice airport, with an important freeway axe (leading along the Côte d’Azur) just on the outskirts of town.
A favorite escape of artists and celebrities, Mougins has been home to some formidable personalities who have helped forge its close ties to traditional and culinary art forms. It’s said that Pablo Picasso fell in love with the town at first sight, buying a stunning hilltop villa there (Notre-Dame-de-Vie) where he lived from 1961 until his death in 1973. The artist’s impact on the local culture was substantial, instilling a focus on the world of art and fostering the creation of a series of renowned galleries and museums within the city limits. The Classical Art Museum of Mougins (MACM) can be found in the historic center, and features works by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Cézanne, Rodin, Dali, and Andy Warhol–to name a few.
Artists and creative types have continued to visit Mougins over the years, seeing the quaint, cobblestoned center as an escape from the limelight of bustling Cannes (about a 10-minute drive away). Fashion designers Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent were frequent visitors, as well as Edith Piaf and Catherine Deneuve. Famous also for its culinary heritage, Mougins hosts the International Festival of Gastronomy every June. Over 100 chefs, from around the world, share their recipes and tips during cooking demonstrations for the general public.
Retire in Mougins, France
Mougins likes to position itself as a town of luxury and prestige. If you’re planning to retire to this pretty corner of the south of France, you’ll find that prices are in line with what you’d expect from a French Riviera lifestyle. Since the region is such a sought-after retirement spot, for the French and foreigners alike, retirees can expect a wealth of services catering to their every need.
The town has top-notch healthcare facilities, including a private hospital, Arnault Tzanck, which includes an onsite retirement home. Five additional retirement homes are found around Mougins–a list of admission dates and prices is posted on the town hall website.
Retirees in Mougins can also take advantage of in-home medical and personal assistance. Through the town hall, residents can request check-up visits, help with shopping and errands, and housekeeping services. The association Temps Libre (Free Time) is a club for seniors which offers cultural activities, trips, game nights, and holiday events. Most events are free or at a reduced price. Past programs have included a dinner and wine night to celebrate the arrival of the latest vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau wine, a day out to the local nature reserve Monts d’Azur, and an afternoon watching the horse races at Cagnes-sur-Mer.
Trips to the local outdoor markets, board game nights, and Nordic walking along local trails, are other popular activities in the Temps Libre association. Enrollment is free, and seniors also receive discounted rates on public transportation once registered.
Lifestyle in Mougins, France
Much like Picasso sought to flee the crowds at nearby Cannes, residents of Mougins appreciate a calmer pace of life while still having access to all of the attractions of the French Riviera. Beyond the numerous cultural activities, the town is known as being an “oasis of green” in a larger urban setting. Given the excellent south of France weather, retirees can expect to be spend a lot of time out-of-doors at any of Mougins’ local parks, central cafés and restaurants, or strolling along the Siagne canal —a picturesque waterway which runs adjacent to Picasso’s former home, Notre-Dame-de-Vie.
In the historic center, you’ll find a local history museum, a photography museum, and numerous smaller art galleries. Of course, one of the nicest activities is to “flâner”, wander casually along the town’s cozy medieval streets and charming fountains. Take a moment to pause and enjoy the panoramic views of the Bay of Cannes before settling in to lunch at any of the center’s over 40 restaurants.
Sports enthusiasts will appreciate Mougins varied associations and clubs—everything from basketball to judo is represented. On the outskirts of town, a larger theater, Scene 55, hosts concerts, plays, and dance productions throughout the year.
Cost of Living in Mougins, France
Living on the French Riviera isn’t for every budget, and a retirement in Mougins will be more costly than other areas of France—keeping in mind that the combination of top-level services, an agreeable climate, and exceptional natural beauty will have an effect on real estate prices.
The good news is that healthcare prices are consistent across the country, so you can expect to save a significant amount on insurance costs as compared to the U.S. Likewise, prices for food and utilities will be similar to other parts of France.
Renting an apartment can be a great option when first moving to the area. A two-bedroom, one-bathroom, 820-square-foot apartment will average around $1,430 per month in Mougins. In a modern residence, you are likely to have a pool and a tennis court onsite.
As purchasing a home can be quite pricey (count around $600,000 to start), most retirees look to buy an apartment—of which the town has multiple offerings, with new developments currently under construction. For $376,000, you can purchase a two-bedroom, one-bathroom, fully equipped apartment in a secure residence with a pool, tennis courts, gardens, an enclosed parking spot, and a large balcony. Apartments can be found at lower prices outside of the city center.
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