As I finalize this post, I am actually on the Cote d’Azur! I tend to base myself in Nice and then venture out from there to nearby towns and villages. I’ve discovered this hillside village is certainly not the only one that puts on a show in the Cote d’Azur, but Oh la la!, it’s a good one!
About a decade ago, I was invited to spend a week on a yacht…anchored in Antibes…and I politely replied, YES! I met my hostess in Paris, although she was from Australia…one of those unlikely happenings yet it came together in a flash.
The hostess and I spent time in Antibes and other towns on the sea but one of the days we decided to rent a car and tour up into the hills of the Cote d’Azur. By the way, the yacht did not come with a car, but the Captain was looking into the possibility, at the request of the owner, to see if this could be arranged.
It did come with a 3-seater jet ski (that we put to good use when I was offered another week on the yacht, along the Amalfi coast) and a couple of mopeds…but when I took the moped for a spin in the Antibes harbor parking lot, I kept confusing the accelerator for the brake and vice-versa…ahem. Something to do with right brain/left brain or right-handed vs. left-handed, I believe. But also, it would not have been the best transportation to climb into the hills.
Besides Saint-Paul-de-Vence, we wanted to make our way to Grasse to sniff some perfume and had a couple of other wanderings in mind too, so it was just a streak of a run through the village of Saint-Paul-de Vence. After our brief yet artistic-intense tour, this village hit my ‘must see’ list for yet another future visit, including at least a lunch at La Colombe d’Or or Hotel Le Saint Paul’s restaurant, if not an overnight sleep at one of these two hotels. Here is a link to videos of the village. https://www.saint-pauldevence.com/en/saint-paul-de-vence-video/#
These photos will give you an idea of just some of the detail this creative and inspiring village proudly presents to the public. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to venture into the various galleries and shops along the way.
Pablo Picasso and Jean Paul Sartre were known to be guests of the Hotel La Colombe d’Or and Marc Chagall lived there amongst other well-known visitors and residents. Here is what the Relais and Chateaux hotel, Saint Paul, wrote about the village: “Saint-Paul-de-Vence is one of the French Riviera’s most beautiful villages and has been home to a star-studded line-up of the world’s greatest artists, painters, sculptors and actors. Its authentic charm, white-stone houses and narrow winding streets fascinated and enthralled Matisse and Chagall through the special light that blossoms here, and was once the stage on which the Montand-Signoret romance was free to flourish. Unique beauty in a village where art is revered like a religion!”
As you can see above, artistic signage is ‘de rigueur’ in Saint-Paul-de-Vence.
There were points at which some of the cobblestoned pathways showed that each pebble had been carefully placed. The aesthetic detail resonated around every corner.