Discover Saint Paul de Vence
The village of St. Paul de Vence has seen many important personalities pass through its streets and eat in its restaurants, like Picasso, Roger Moor and Jean Paul Sartre. Perched on a hill surrounded by valleys, St. Paul de Vence is both a village and artist’s commune, featuring a number of ateliers (workshops) and art stores. It’s an ideal excursion if you love history and art.
What to Do and See in St. Paul de Vence.
A historical village that’s beautiful all year round, with small paved streets and fountains are typical of Provence. There are a number of small cafés and restaurants along the ramparts that afford superb views of the Var Valley and Provence.
The village is quite small; it takes only a few minutes to cross from one side to the other, but you can spend a full day here discovering the fantastic views off the ramparts, the medieval architecture, amazing and numerous art galleries, museums, and some excellent restaurants.
Art Galleries of Saint Paul de Vence.
St. Paul de Vence is full of galleries and artist’s workshops, plus public statues and works scattered all throughout. You can see artists at work in their studios and staging exhibitions while you wander the cobble-stone streets.
Folon Chapel (or the Chapel of the White Penitents).
The Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon was a great admirer of Saint Paul de Vence. The chapel is his last work, created in homage to the Brotherhood of White Penitents in 2005. The chapel is painted from floor to ceiling in pastel coloured motifs showcasing some of the artist’s best work.
The Maeght Foundation is one of the most well-known and renowned art museums in the south of France, as well as one of the largest collections of paintings, sculptures, drawings and graphic works of modern and contemporary artists in Europe, with more than 13 000 artworks. An appreciation of modern art is not essential: the architecture and great variety of canvases and images is astounding in itself, as are the beautiful gardens and water basin.
Lunch Spot: La Colombe d’Or
Located at the entrance of the village before the ramparts gate, La Colombe d’Or has a very particular character, showcased by the mix of foliage and art that adorns its patio. The owner of the restaurant was a patron of the arts; artists would often come here and exchange their work against a few meals – so now the restaurant is a veritable art museum.
To continue your visit, you can go to Vence, a chic village in the hinterlands and next to St. Paul de Vence. The town is located at the foot of enormous boulders called Baous and at the confluence of three rivers. It’s a little piece of paradise that has seduced many for centuries.
Away from the glitter of the Côte d’Azur, Vence has attracted many renowned artists who quietly drew their inspiration here, like Marc Chagall, or Henri Matisse who built the famous Chapel of the Rosary. Today, workshops and artists’ galleries are present throughout Vence.
The Vence Old Town has many excellent restaurants as well, so it’s a great place to stop for lunch or dinner after exploring Eze. Just be sure to catch the last buses back to Nice before 7PM.
local guide tips
- Wander through the streets of the village and drop in to some of the many art galleries.
- The village is a great place to eat because there are many great little restaurants . Eat lunch at the famous Colombe D’or restaurant.
- After visiting the village, head to The Fondation Maeght art gallery set in beautiful gardens and contains one of the biggest 20th-century art collections in Europe.
- Take the bus one stop to Vence and wander around the maze of cobbled alleyways in the historical centre.