St Paul de Vence is felt by many to be the loveliest of the perched villages in the south of France. Perhaps, but I do love Bonnieux! St Paul de Vence, an attractive, compact village became a magnet for artists and art lovers in the 1920’s, when a group of impressionist painters rediscovered this sleeping neglected village. Still, today it is very much a place that thrives on its artistic connections. Please take care of your wallet, unpriced art is displayed that way for a reason, so if you afraid to ask don’t go in. Even if you are not prepared to buy there is some stunning art on display and the village itself could be considered one whole work of art.
The photo above was taken on our last visit to the village around 2014. Recently I was watching a BBC documentary about a painting by Sir Winston Churchill of this very scene. The object of the programme was to prove the authenticity of the painting and this they achieved to about 99% satisfaction of the experts. What was interesting was that it was established for certain that Churchill did paint from this very spot and was friends with the artist owner of the studio in this square. It was fascinating to lose yourself in the history of a place you knew well and will no doubt add to the enjoyment of our next visit.
Today the village is not only home to a large artist community but a favoured place of celebrities that have homes here. You may not see any but the locals will provide some names.
The village can be exceptionally busy but we have never found it overwhelmingly so. There are plenty of places to wander away from the main street and the views from the top of the village are spectacular. As in most villages in the South of France you can with care eat very well but also there are one or two tourist traps to avoid. On our last visit we had a lovely baguette and fruit tart for alight lunch by the village walls. Perfect.
St Paul de Vence is one of the Cote d’Azur’s most famous and beatuful treasures, and one you should definitely visit.