Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (French pronunciation: ​[ʁɔk(ə)bʁyn kap maʁtɛ̃]; Occitan: Ròcabruna Caup Martin or Ròcabruna Cap Martin; Italian: Roccabruna-Capo Martino, [ˌrɔkkaˈbruːna ˈkaːpo marˈtiːno]; Mentonasc: Rocabrüna; Roquebrune until 1921) is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Southeastern France, between Monaco and Menton. In 2018, it had a population of 12,824. The name was changed from Roquebrune to differentiate the town from Roquebrune-sur-Argens in neighbouring Var.[3]

Ròcabruna Caup Martin (Occitan)
A view of the old village, with the Cape and the Bay of Roquebrune
A view of the old village, with the Cape and the Bay of Roquebrune
Coat of arms of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
Location of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin is located in France
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin is located in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
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
RegionProvence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
IntercommunalityCA Riviera Française
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Patrick Césari[1]
9.33 km2 (3.60 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2019)[2]
 • Density1,400/km2 (3,600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
06104 /06190
Elevation0–800 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.


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. From the middle of the 19th century, with the construction of the Marseille–Ventimiglia railway line, this stretch of coast also became a magnet for well-known personalities as a holiday home. Elisabeth of Austria spent several months of the last years of her life from 1894 to 1897 at the Hôtel du Cap Martin. Eugénie, widow of Napoleon III, owned a villa here. 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,[4] and Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici's E-1027.[5]

The Irish poet and Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats died in the Hôtel Idéal Séjour in the neighboring town of Menton on January 28, 1939. In a letter to his wife, Yeats expressed his wish to be buried in a cemetery in Roquebrune for one year and then to be exhumed and reburied in Drumcliff, County Sligo, Ireland. However, his exhumation was delayed until September 1948 at which point they could no longer locate his remains. According to one account, the French diplomat sent to oversee the reburial, Bernard Cailloux, said that it was "impossible to return the full and authentic remains of Mr Yeats" and proposed asking Dr Rebouillat, the local sworn pathologist, "to reconstitute a skeleton presenting all the characteristics of the deceased". The remains of several other individuals, including an Englishman named Alfred Hollis, were assembled in a coffin and sent to Ireland for reburial. The entire affair was handled with secrecy on both the part of the French delegation responsible for the burial, and the poet's family, so as not to elicit outrage from the Irish public. The incident was not publicly disclosed until the private archives of French diplomat Jacques Camílle Paris were turned over to the Irish Embassy in Paris in June 2015. The story was older than that, and was disputed by the family of the poet in a letter to The Irish Times in 1988.[6]

The literary couple Romain Gary and Lesley Blanch lived in Roquebrune from 1950 to 1957. Le Corbusier built a cabanon, a minimalist architectural design. He drowned in the sea there on August 27, 1965 and was buried in the local cemetery.


Roquebrune-Cap-Martin has 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.

The whole area has a major tourism industry, particularly during the high season from April to October.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 637—    
1800 884+4.79%
1806 644−5.14%
1858 836+0.50%
1861 844+0.32%
1866 887+1.00%
1872 828−1.14%
1876 847+0.57%
1881 1,068+4.75%
1886 1,135+1.22%
1891 2,157+13.70%
1896 2,588+3.71%
1901 2,744+1.18%
1906 3,304+3.78%
1911 5,337+10.07%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1921 5,318−0.04%
1926 6,462+3.97%
1931 6,888+1.29%
1936 6,133−2.30%
1946 4,610−2.81%
1954 5,279+1.71%
1962 6,529+2.69%
1968 8,345+4.17%
1975 10,996+4.02%
1982 12,450+1.79%
1990 12,376−0.07%
1999 11,692−0.63%
2007 13,177+1.51%
2012 12,641−0.83%
2017 12,639−0.00%
Source: EHESS[7] and INSEE (1968-2017)[8]


The local dialect actually is linguistically part of the Mentonasque of the País Mentonasc, 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 commune and not in Monte Carlo, Monaco. It is the venue for the tennis Monte-Carlo Masters.

International relationsEdit

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin is twinned with:

Honorary citizensEdit

People awarded the honorary citizenship of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin are:

Date Name Notes
3 March 1956 Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom[9][10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2019". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2021.
  3. ^ See name change history in article on the town in the French-language Wikipedia.
  4. ^ Elaine, Sciolino (7 June 2013). "Letter from Paris: The House that Coco Built". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Rawsthorne, Alice (24 February 2013). "Eileen Gray, Freed From Seclusion". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Yeats: Papers confirm bones sent to Sligo were not poet's". The Irish Times. 18 July 2015. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  7. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, EHESS. (in French)
  8. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  9. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL - HONORARY CITIZEN". YouTube.
  10. ^ "Emery and Wendy Reves "La Pausa" Goes on Sale". 8 September 2011.

External linksEdit