HISTORY OF MONT AGEL
In the Middle Ages and until the 18th century, the territory at the foot of Mont Agel became a borderland disputed by France and the House of Savoy, with additional claims from the Principality of Monaco. In 1860 it was eventually reattached to France, and the summits were fortified to ensure the defence of the territory: Mont Agel is the cornerstone of the defence system, with fort Catinat towards the end of the 19th century, and fort Maginot in 1935, which gave Saint-Martin a cable car to bring ammunition to the plateau.
In 1911, however, the area becomes a residential neighbourhood with the construction of the Monte Carol golf course at an altitude of 860m; completely renovated and extended since the Belle Epoque, fitted with an automatic sprinkling system and an elegant clubhouse, it offers a unique course and hosts the professional open of Monte Carlo, attracting the best players in the world.
After the Second World War, the era of forts, or casemates, that still dot the mountain, came to an end; only Mont Agel has remained a military area, concerned with monitoring the air space by means of powerful radars. Airbase 943 remained operational until 2012, with a significant garrison stationed at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin; since that date, the radars are automatically commanded from Lyon, but highly modern installations are still in place to protect the airspace of the South of France. The partnership between the commune of Peille and the air force is a lasting one.
The Fontbonne neighbourhood on the southern slope of Mont Agel has known an original fate: in 1943, the Germans erected a building to create a radio station that could broadcast their propaganda: after the war, the facilities were taken over by France and Monaco, and turned into Radio Monte Carlo. When these facilities became obsolete, the land and the building were used to house an elephant adopted by Princess Stéphanie to save it from abandon in a park in Lyon.
In 1956, Prince Rainier III acquired, on the southern slope of the commune of Peille overlooking the Monaco arena, the huge Rocagel property, a stone’s throw away from the famous golf course. He visited the property often and started a farm with many animals. Prince Albert II also comes to his country farm often, where he can enjoy some rest and recreation with his family. In 2019, the commune of Peille gave honorary citizenship to HRH Prince Albert II and to Charlene, Princess of Monaco.