Saint Paul de Vence, France

Thursday, March 7, 2013

After the wonderful stay Cannes, the next stop of the Cote d'Azur travel was Saint Paul de Vence which is one of the top travel destinations in France with more than 2 million of visitors.

Just imagine an old medieval town perfectly conserved, a place where time has stopped by and a private atmosphere: this is Saint Paul de Vence
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer
Not far from Antibes and Nice, Saint Paul de Vence is located upon a hill: became important for its trade during the Middle Ages and especially in the 16th Century when, because of its strategic position, an impressive system of fortifications and ramparts was built.
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer

Now Saint Paul de Vence is known to be town of ateliers, art galleries and painters. Why this happened? Because Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Signac, Renoir, Dufy, Soutine and Chagall came here ( not all together) to the Cafè Robinson, the only existing restaurant. The owner, Paul Roux, accepted their paintings as compensation and day by day, year by year he could build an extraordinary art collection.

Here you find 64 art galleries (ehm... the woman over there is just a tourist):
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer
If you walk along the walls you can see the narrow streets that lead you to the town centre
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer
the other gate to the city
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer
Cote d'Azur travel, France
and if you come back to the city you feel breathless when you see one of the typical flourished Saint Paul de Vence houses with one of the 64 art galleries like this:
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer
and enjoy one of the fabolous landscapes from the top of the rampart!
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer
Going back to the city centre there are also houses with the typical Venetian arcs,
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer
particular "cave" shops like this,
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer
the stunning Grande Fontaine, in Place de la Fontaine, built in 1850
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer
Once approached to the central Place de la Mairie, the highest place of the town, with its highest tower, the Donjon, part of the ancient castle, and now part of the town hall.
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer
In this square there are the most interesting sites of Saint Paul de Vence, especially the Gothic Eglise Collegiale, built in the 12th Century with precious frescoes and with the Baroque St-Clement Chapel.
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer
Another landmark is the Museé d'Histoire Locale, the Local History Museum, located in front of the church: if you have time and you're into history, this is the place for you.

Do not also miss the Pontis, the medieval bridge above Rue Grande, the "main street" of Saint Paul de Vence.

Coming back to the main gate, you can find many interesting art expo shops where to admire the creativity and great art souvenirs. 
Cote d'Azur travel, Diaries of an explorer

However the real art expo shop I want to recommend you is definitely By L'Ateliér, in Rue Grande 80, where to find affordable and nice art souvenirs, reproduction of pictures, little and big panel canvas and much more. 

In Saint Paul de Vence you can find everything you want about art, paintings or sculptures, but most of them are quite expensive so this place was great to buy a quality art souvenir if you are on a budget. 

Going out of the main gate you can see the Lacan Cannon, whose name was the one of the captain that defended the city from external attacks. As there were too many people there, I will show you an old picture of the main gate with the famous cannon.
From Saintpauldevence.info - all rights reserved
This is how it is right now!
From: yourstarsareyou.wordpress.com - all rights reserved

Travel tips:
  • Go there by car; it's easier and faster;
  • There's a great art expo, called Fondation Maeght, outside the ramparts: do not miss it if you're into art (art collection with Picasso, Matisse, Leger, Chagall, Calder and Giacometti). The main attraction is Joan Miro's labyrinth.
  • One day is enough, if you are in a hurry even half a day, but I would recommend to spend a night, have a nice dinner and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of an old medieval town;
  • It's quite expensive to stay and sleep there, but it's really worth the visit;
Where to sleep:
  • For budget travellers: La Victoire, at 2.3 km far from the town centre - approximately 87 Euros per double room and night.
  • Mid-range budget: Aux Olivier de Saint Paul, apartments at 2.5 km from the town centre - approximately 125 Euros per night.

The Cote d'Azur travel is coming to its end: the last stop was in fact Monte Carlo.

4 commenti:

Irene S. Levine said...

Wonderful pictures that really capture the spirit of this lovely place.
Thanks!
Irene

Marco Zannin said...

Thanks for the nice comment Irene! Yeah Saint Paul de Vence is incredible and it has this particular atmosphere that really impresses you! :-)

Cocoa and Lavender said...

Marco - I think at some point I want to spend a week there - it is so relaxing and beautiful. I haven't been in years, and really love all the memories your writing and photos brought back. ~ David

Marco Zannin said...

Thanks for the comment David! Well that's nice...I think that this area and especially Saint Paul de Vence are really a great vacation spot and I'm not even a sea lover, but I have to admit that sometimes in your life holidays like these holidays are really worth! :-)

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