Saint Paul de Vence
Between the mountains of the hinterlands and the Mediterranean lies the village of Saint Paul de Vence, certainly one of the most beautiful villages in Provence. The beauty of the site, its lifestyle and its exceptional luminosity have inspired many artists, writers, poets and famous painters.
Located 40 minutes from Cannes, 15 minutes from the international airport of Nice Riviera, and just a few minutes from Cagnes sur Mer and Saint Laurent du Var, Saint-Paul de Vence hides many treasures inside its ramparts. It is a stroll around the street corner behind a fountain in the shade of a tree, that we discover the charms and history of this village.
The bowling lawn, the restaurant La Colombe d’Or, its barricades and its church are all part of the mythical elegance of this peace haven.
The square with the bowling lawn has witnessed the relentless matches of Yves Montand and Lino Ventura. With its century old plane trees, it represents perfectly the square of a small Provencal village as could be depicted by Santons de Provence.
La Colombe d'Or, whose origins date back to the 1920s', was originally a small ginguette (open air café) where you could taste a pissaladière or pain Bagnat, this is until 1932 when the inn frequented by so many artists, such as Matisse, Picasso and Chagall came to life.
Porte de Vence and its tower which date back to the sixteenth century, are reminders of the medieval origins of Saint Paul de Vence. Moreover, the walls were built at the request of François 1st, and have remained intact ever since.
Stroll along the Grande Rue, where charming houses have conserved all traces of their former glory days. Today it is full of artists' studios, art galleries, and boutiques and craft shops. You can also, at the turn of a street corner, bump into Bernard Henri Levy and Ariel Dombasle, or even the architect Jean Nouvel.
Saint Paul de Vence is known for its strong links with the art world. It hosted illustrious painters, sculptors, writers, and many have ingrained their fingerprints:
The Chapel of the Rosary, a true masterpiece of Henri Matisse who imagined it in its entirety, from the plans to stained glass windows, to the altar, religious objects, ceramics, etc.
Spurred on by the example of Matisse, Marc Chagall produced a cycle on biblical themes for a church in Vence from1955: twelve large compositions for the Chapel and five smaller tables for the sacristy.
In this cultural spirit, Saint Paul de Vence also retains the famous Maeght Foundation, thought of by gallery owners and art dealers Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, born from their friendship with the great names of modern art (Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Fernand Léger, Georges Braque, Alberto Giacometti, Chagall ...) inaugurated in 1964 by André Malraux: it has one of the largest collections in Europe of paintings, sculptures and graphic works of the twentieth century as well as contemporary artists.
Surrounding Saint Paul de Vence is the equally charming:
For example, the Colle sur Loup is nestled within the green lungs made up of oak, olive, pine, lemon trees and scented flowers. The peaceful banks of the 'Loup’ are true sanctuary of freshness. Ancient manor of the XVI century, La Colle sur Loup retains its medieval past, its castle and priory of the XII century.
The Saint Pauloise countryside is marvellous. Planted with vines, olives, and many Mediterranean species, in absolute serenity, enjoy spectacular views of the hills and towards the sea.
The properties are often authentic and luxurious - real 'country houses' of modern times, they generally possess a typical Provencal architecture, while enjoying all the modern day comforts. Contemporary homes are perfectly integrated into the surrounding landscape, playing with lights, transparency and lush vegetation.
Artists HQ whose contemporary works of art invite themselves into both the interior decoration and in the gardens of the properties - thereby respecting the essence of Saint Paul de Vence.