Wander the Streets and Arts of Saint Paul de Vence

Wander the Streets and Arts of Saint Paul de Vence

Saint Paul de Vence in the south of France is nestled on a hilltop in the area of the Alpes Maritimes.

This charming fortified village has numerous art galleries and artist’s ateliers that populate the narrow cobblestone streets.

Le Cafe de la Place is on your right, as you enter the old village. It has been there forever.

 

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sisters in square saint paul de vence
Place du Cafe, Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

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“La place” is a square where locals play the game of petanque daily. The French in the south take their game extremely seriously as it’s also a social “rendez-vous” to catch up and spend an afternoon together.

Across the way is the chic hotel and restaurant  La Colombe d’Or. 

Over time many famous artists have come through here and have left behind their work on display.

Enjoy a very unique meal if your budget allows it!

 

hotel colombe dor saint paul de vence
La Colombe D’Or. Photo Urban Pax

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The village itself has also had memorable guests and residents.

Famous writers like Sartre and James Baldwin, musicians, actors, sculptors and other well-known people like the painter Marc Chagall.

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courtyard with black sculpture saint paul de vence
Courtyard Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

 

You are 1 minute from the official “door” leading into the 16th-century fortified ramparts.  Let the winding cobblestone paths take you back on a medieval journey.

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stone archway saint paul de vence
Entrance Medieval Village Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

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As you pass the archway, the path to the right leads to a breathtaking view of the countryside filled with olive trees and native plants.

 

saint paul de vence view of hill sculpture
View Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

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Take a stroll through the cemetery, where Marc Chagall is buried. He spent his last years in Saint Paul de Vence surrounded by many other artists such as Matisse, Leger, Chagall, and even Picasso.

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saint paul de vence cemetery
Cemetery Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

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Rue Grande is the main street with some 16th-century homes as well as certain details dating from the 14th century.

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view saint paul de vence buildings
View stone houses Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

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This street is also filled with many galleries, art studios and boutiques of all kinds niched side by side.

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view from top small alley st paul de vence
Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

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In the heart of the village sits a beautiful fountain.

Many gather here for a refreshing break. Make sure to also see the “lavoir”, a long rectangle concrete basin where women came to wash their clothes back in the days.

They would gather not only to do the washing chore but also to take advantage of the opportunity to socialize. (Might as well make the best of it right?)

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concrete wash basin saint paul de vence
Lavoir Village Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

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The path next to the fountain leads to the church but before making your way up, stop at number 2, Montee de La Castre, this house is where  Simone Signoret and Yves Montand lived together.

Saint Paul’s Church was built between the 14th and 16th century. It’s the highest point in the village and a good way to get some exercise 🙂

Saint Paul de Vence has several points of interest.  Explore and wander through the cobblestone maze and take it all in.

Try to deviate from the main path and get lost in the small alleys and hidden courtyards.

That’s what makes Saint Paul special..

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sisters wood door saint paul de vence
Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

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Some streets can be a bit steep and may be slippery, so take care going up and back down.

The actual local population of the village can be counted in hundreds. But when tourists come here, and they do come here a lot, this number rises to thousands!

Shops and galleries are even open on Sundays to cater to tourists. Just be aware that you won’t be alone.

Quite the contrary, unless you visit in the dead of winter, early morning or late evenings be prepared to share space.

But if you can’t make it off-season, it’s still a charming place and really worth the stop.

 

narrow alley blue lantern saint paul de vence
Narrow alley Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

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Be sure to stop at the Tourism Office for more information about events or special things going on at the time of your visit. It’s located on the right after you pass the old village archway.

 

office tourism saint paul de vence
Office du Tourism Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

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How to Get to Saint Paul de Vence

 

drinking fountain saint paul vence
Small fountain Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

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By car: It is the easiest way! It’s roughly 20 km from Nice or Antibes. There are several parking garages, some underground and open lots.  Parking is a problem in high season, so be patient.

By train/bus: The nearest train station is Cagnes Sur Mer. From the station take Bus number 400 and it will take you the 7 km to Saint Paul in about 20 minutes.  From Nice, you can take the 400 near the airport for 1h or so, depending on traffic.

Uber: it is a very expensive Uber ride, about 50-60 euros.

 

alley with yellow tones saint paul de vence
Saint Paul de Vence. Photo Urban Pax

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This village differs in that you won’t find the regular staple shops like butchers, small markets or the traditional “boulangerie”. But if you like old stones, the feel of charming fortified villages, great views, and love art, then Saint Paul de Vence is a great place to discover.

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view of saint paul de vence from far
View Saint Paul de Vence Village. Photo Urban Pax

 

Make a day out of it by having lunch in the sun or by visiting the Foundation Maeght nearby which exposes an amazing collection of 20th-century art.

 

 

white concrete sculpture eyes saint paul de vence

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ART. TOGETHER.