French commune
Main square
région=Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
canton=Le Bar-sur-Loup
maire=Marc Daunis
intercomm= Sophia Antipolis
alt moy=200 m
alt mini=75
alt maxi=302 m

Valbonne is a commune near Nice in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.


There are traces of prehistoric human settlement in the area that date back to the Iron Age, the first days of agriculture. Many prehistoric artifacts such as Neolithic stone axes, funeral urns from the bronze age, and fragments of amphora, oil and grain jars (dolia) have been excavated. The remains of an aqueduct constructed during Roman settlement in the 3rd century A.D. are also present in the area of Clausonne.

In the late 12th century, a monk named Guillaume discovered St. Mary's abbey which had originally been founded by the Chalaisian Order in 1199 but which had subsequently been deserted. The abbey was located in a small valley watered by the rivers la Brague and le Merlet. At the time, this area was called "Vallis Bona", meaning "the good valley." Later, it became known as Valbonne.

The village of Valbonne, however, was not founded until 1519, by Augustin de Grimaldi, bishop of Grasse and abbot of Lérins. Augustin de Grimaldi commissioned the worker-monk Don Taxil to construct the village adjacent to the abbey to attract colons. The aim was to use exclusively local labour to build a community that would lead to the repopulation of the region, which had suffered greatly in the Black Death in 1351. This was accomplished by the importation of Italian artisans, to work the clay found in the nearby villages of Vallauris and Biot. The village is laid out along a grid pattern, under the influence of Roman military camps, with two principal avenues, arranged perpendicular to one another, and the forum at the intersection. Arcades were added to the central square in the 17th century and it became known as la "Place des Arcades". Originally, the grid consisted of ten streets crossing ten streets but the village has progressively expanded around the center. The architectural plan of the village of Valbonne differs from that of many other villages located in the South of France which typically spiral around a hill.

In the last century, a surrounding municipality of Valbonne has been constructed around the ancient village. Although the population of the town of Valbonne has greatly increased in recent years, the village itself has remained intact, retaining much of its 16th century charm.


While the village has been preserved in its original condition, nearby is the high tech centre of Sophia Antipolis, constructed in the 1970s along the same lines as La Défense near Paris. The name was adopted from the ancient Greek colony of Antipolis which resided in the nearby village of Antibes. This plateau was one of the few remaining vast sections of land that had remained untouched in the French Riviera. Initially, investors interested in Sophia Antipolis were mainly oil and mining companies. The park, however, took a different turn when the university of Nice decided to move parts of its campus to the plateau in the 1980s. As a result, Sophia Antipolis became an important site of research and development. Today, Sophia Antipolis has evolved into a highly recognized international community, with more than 1,000 companies hiring more than 25,000. It now has an area of 2,500 ha spreading over the municipality of Valbonne and its surrounding municipalities, Antibes, Biot, Mougins, and Vallauris. The community continues to grow day by day, with the recent establishments of the municipalities of la Colle-sur-Loup, Roquefort-les-Pins and Villeneuve-Loubet.

Famous residents

*Israeli film director Eytan Fox lives in Valbonne with his partner.Têtu, July-August 2007 issue, page 24 ]


External links

* [ Official website]

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