St.Paul-de-Vence (Oct 2015)
Perched upon a hill top this charming walled town offers plenty of art galleries and souvenir shops. Once a hot spot for many renowned artists and international actors, nowadays a magnet for tourists. I’ve visited St.Paul several times in the past years during my trips to France. My most recent visit was on Saturday during my French Riviera trip. It’s always a treat to see this small medieval-looking Provençal town.
So what can you do in St.Paul? Well, you can’t get lost since it’s tiny but you can lose track of time while perusing its shops and galleries on the main street Rue Grande. I once even bought a painting here that hangs on a wall in my living room now. Of course, you’ll pass by the urn-looking Fountain during your walk down the main street.
Then you could turn left and find yourself at the little square with the Collegiate Church (14-18th ct.) and the Town hall housed in the Keep (12&13th ct); a tower which is the only remnant of the once existing castle. Do you know who got married in the Keep? None other than the famous actors Yves Montand and Simone Signoret (she was the first French person to win an Academy Award).
If you like photography and architecture you’ll be able to take beautiful photos of numerous old stone houses (15-17th) and stone ramparts and walls (16 ct.). You can admire the view of the coast and the mountains from the viewpoint at the end of the main street.
Then, you can pay your respects at the tomb of the illustrious Marc Chagall who later in his life settled here at the French Riviera. He lived, painted and died in St.Paul.
James Baldwin, an American writer, also called St.Paul his home. You can even try to find the house of the famous French poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert who also lived here. Among his friends were Pablo Picasso and Paul Roux, the owner of the Colombe d’Or which is now a hotel but once was a meeting place for the likes of Miro, Braque, Chagall and many others. So, quite a name dropping don’t you think? Could you imagine being friends with such avant-garde artists? And they all had drinks and probably played boules or pétanque, a typical sport for the South of France, at Café de la Place at the square Place de Jeu de Boules.
I had a pancake there last week. It was just an ordinary no-frills pancake with sugar but it was so tasty. If you fancy something more contemporary then you should leave the old town and visit the Maeght Foundation; a museum which houses one of the biggest 20th ct. art collections in Europe.
So, basically you can walk around historic old town of St.Paul and explore its beauty and when you get tired of galleries and souvenir shops you can have something to drink and eat in one of its small cute tea rooms or restaurants.
Have you visited St.Paul? Would you like to?
P.S. St.Paul-de-Vence is only 20 km from Nice and 27 km from Cannes so it’s a perfect excuse to get your bum off the beach and explore the Provençal countryside.
pps. Can you find hearts in one photo?:)
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