Musee de la Castre Cannes Museum of the Castre French Riviera

Everyone associates the city of Cannes with glamour as film stars, the rich and famous and the usual crowd of hangers-on and press flock here once a year for the world's largest film festival. If you can pull yourself out of this world, there is so much more to Cannes. Churches and castles populate the French Mediterranean coast. There are certain points in Cannes from which to view the bay, one of these is the Musee de la Castre located in the Cannes Castle. One of the unique points of its artistic collection is that the paintings are all about Cannes.

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Cannes Castle is the home to this lovely museum

Roman influences persist in the old town, which was built on the site of a Roman military camp. Cannes began as a fishing town as many cities did along the Mediterranean coast. The museum is in the Castre tower of Cannes Castle at the top of Le Suquet hill. The Lerins order of monks, who were the owners of Cannes, built this citadel in the XIth Century to protect themselves against the predations of pirates. These became more common between the XVth and XIXth as competing European and Muslim powers sponsored them and let them raid coasts.

So many museums have been founded on a few private collections and interests. Interest in non-European nations and cultures rose quite dramatically in the XIXth Century leading many young hopefuls on trips around the world to discover the next strange thing. In this particular case, two men, de la Coche and Lycklama, amateur archaeologists, collectors and students of exotic lands, such as the Marquesas Islands, pre-Colombian America, and Middle East, had amassed a varied collection of pieces. The latter donated what he had to the city helping create the first museum of Cannes in 1877. Their artistic interests became the museum's philosophy. The Damien donation of Mediterranean artefacts was the second big piece. Over time, pieces from Africa, Asia and North America were added. Unsurprisingly, space became an issue with such gluttony of art, so the collections of Museum of Cannes were brought to the Castle of Cannes in 1952. About 30 years later, the Museum of Fine Arts was amalgamated into it. A look at the building and the tower that you have to climb up to get views of Cannes to die for!

There is a great variety of art on display: XIXth and XXth paintings from Cannes and the surrounding area mixing with statues from Oceania. Make sure you walk through and listen to the sounds of hundreds of instruments from Africa and Asia in the Sainte Anne Chapel. On a fun note, a treasure hunt has been developed and you might get roped in. Once you have finished looking at everything, make your way to the top of the tower for a spectacular view of Cannes.

A look from the tower will give you an idea why this was the towns fortification so long ago. It is quite breathtaking.

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