The old village, the cape and the bay of Roquebrune

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 43°45′46″N 7°27′47″E / 43.7628°N 7.4631°E / 43.7628; 7.4631Coordinates: 43°45′46″N 7°27′47″E / 43.7628°N 7.4631°E / 43.7628; 7.4631
Country France
Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Department Alpes-Maritimes
Arrondissement Nice
Canton Menton-Ouest
Intercommunality Riviera française
  Mayor (2008–2014) Patrick Césari
Area1 9.33 km2 (3.60 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 13,515
  Density 1,400/km2 (3,800/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 06104 / 06190
Elevation 0–800 m (0–2,625 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (Ròcabruna Caup Martin in Occitan, Roccabruna-Capo Martino in Italian) is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France between Monaco and Menton. The name was changed from Roquebrune to differentiate the town from Roquebrune-sur-Argens in the neighboring Var Department.[1]


In pre-Roman times the area was settled by the Ligurians. Traces of their language can be still found in the local dialect. The commune (originally known as Roccabruna) was founded in 971 by Conrad I, count of Ventimiglia, in order to protect his western border.

In 1355, Roccabruna fell under the control of the Grimaldi family of Monaco for five centuries, during which time the castle was strengthened.

In 1793, Roquebrune became French for the first time, changing the name from the original Roccabruna, but it was returned to Monaco in 1814. In 1804 Napoleon built a road along the coastline. This road connected the village to the rest of the Côte d'Azur, and eventually led to its merger with the smaller town of Cap-Martin.

In 1848, there was a revolution related to the Italian Risorgimento, with the result that Roccabruna and Menton became free cities under the protection of the Savoy Prince. They hoped to be part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, but this did not occur, and the towns after two years of independence were put under Savoyan administration (but nominally still under the Prince of Monaco). They remained in a state of political limbo from 1849 until they were finally ceded to France by a plebiscite in 1861.

Map of the territory of the "Free cities of Mentone & Roccabruna" in 1848

Giuseppe Garibaldi, who promoted the union of the County of Nice to Italy, complained that the plebiscite was not done with "universal vote" and consequently Roccabruna was requested by Italian irredentists.

As a consequence of these irredentism ideals, during World War II all the coastal area between Italy and Monte Carlo was occupied and administered by the Kingdom of Italy until September 1943.

The area became fashionable in the 1920s and 1930s leading to the construction of several notable buildings including Coco Chanel's La Pausa on Cap Martin,[2] and Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici's E-1027.[3]

The Irish poet William Butler Yeats died in the neighboring town of Menton on January 28, 1939. Yeats's body was buried at a cemetery in Roquebrune until September 1948, when it was exhumed and reburied in Drumcliff, County Sligo, Ireland.

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin today

Today Roquebrune-Cap-Martin comprises several villages and towns: St.Roman, practically a suburb of Monaco (but not part of Monaco proper, as it does not lie within the borders of Monaco), the residential areas of Cabbé, Bon Voyage and Serret, Roquebrune with its perched village and château, the posh Cap Martin peninsula and the modern seaside resort of Carnolès with its long pebble beach bordering Menton.

All the area has a huge tourism activity, mainly from April to October.


Historical population


The local dialect actually is linguistically part of the mentonasque of the Païs Mentounasc, a cultural area between the Ligurian dialects and the Occitan language.

Since 1861 the use of the French language has increased enormously in the city, and now only a minority of the 11,692 inhabitants still speaks the original dialect of Roccabruna.


Despite its name, the Monte Carlo Country Club is located in the municipality. It is the venue for the tennis Monte-Carlo Masters.

International relations

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin is twinned with:

See also


  1. See name change history in article on the town in the French-language Wikipedia
  2. Elaine, Sciolino (7 June 2013). "Letter from Paris: The House that Coco Built". The New York Times.
  3. Rawsthorne, Alice (24 February 2013). "Eileen Gray, Freed From Seclusion". The New York Times.
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