Executive summary by Darmansjah
In modern times, Mougins has been frequented and inhabited by many artists and celebrities, including Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Fernand Léger, Francis Picabia, Man Ray, Arman, Yves Klein, César Baldaccini, Paul Éluard, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Winston Churchill, Catherine Deneuve, Édith Piaf and Jacques Brel, to name but a few. Pablo Picasso spent the last 12 years of his life living in Mougins (1961–1973), where he died. He lived in a 'mas' (farmhouse) at Notre-Dame-de-Vie, which is a small hilltop just beside the old village of Mougins and next to the 12th-century chapel of the same name.Picasso's studio was in the old village in a building that is now the tourist office, while the studio of Fernand Léger was above what is now the village wine shop, next to the rear of the Mougins Museum of Classical Art (MMoCA).
Mougins has a strong culinary history with such great chefs as Roger Vergé and Alain Ducasse having managed restaurants in the village. Both were synonymous with the restaurant L'Amandier, which is situated in the heart of the old village. This restaurant still exists today and is housed in an important ancient building, as during the Middle Ages this was the court house of the Monks of Saint Honorat, before becoming an almond mill in the 18th/19th centuries. Denis Fetisson, who received the Jacquart Trophy for the Rising Star in Gastronomy in 2006, now manages L'Amandier and is also the manager and head chef at La Place de Mougins (previously Le Feu Follet, regularly frequented by Picasso) which is another important restaurant in the heart of the old village. Fetisson moved to Mougins in April 2010 having just been the head chef at the two-Michelin Star restaurant, Le Cheval Blanc, in Courchevel just prior. Like Ducasse, Fetisson worked at L'Amandier in his early career before returning to Mougins again in 2010.
Mougins hosts the annual 'International Gastronomy Festival of Mougins', or 'Les Étoiles de Mougins', an international gastronomic event taking place every September in the village.
Given its close proximity to Cannes, Mougins is also often the tourist destination for Hollywood stars during the Cannes Film Festival. Dame Elizabeth Taylor hosted the 'amfAR' AIDS Charity dinner for the Hollywood elite for almost 10 years until 2008.
The hilltop of Mougins had been occupied since the pre-Roman period. Ancient Ligurian tribes who inhabited the coastal area between Provence and Tuscany, were eventually absorbed into the spread of the Roman Empire and then became part of an official Ligurian state that was created by Emperor Augustus (X Regio). The Ligurian area withstood several invasions during the Byzantine period, before the City of Genoa took firm control over the Ligurian region and dominated it between the 11th and 15th centuries. Much of the centre of the 'old' village dates back to this period.
In the 11th century the Count of Antibes gave the Mougins hillside to the Monks of Saint Honorat (from the nearby Îles de Lerins just off the coast of Cannes) who continued to administer the village until the French Revolution. During this period, Mougins was a fortified village surrounded by ramparts and parts of the medieval city wall still exist as well as one of the three original ancient gate towers (Porte Sarrazine). During the 18th century War of the Austrian Succession, the village was plundered by the Austro-Sardinian armies and damaged by fire. Following this, some of the ramparts were deconstructed and several new little streets of early 19th-century houses were built.