Saint Paul de Vence

An artists' village?

by Bert Schwarz

The medieval village of Saint Paul de Vence is situated on a green hill 15 minutes from the sea and offers an exceptional panoramic view that stretches from the coast to the foothills of the Alps.

Story, Camera, Editor : Bert Schwarz

© travel-magazine TV 2020

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For many years Marseille was the black sheep on the Provençal coast.
It used to be a village with olive trees, flower and jasmine fields for the perfume industry in Grasse.
is a real insider's tip, a gem that really deserves attention.
Sanary has been an insider tip in Provençe for over 100 years.
St. Paul de Vence
an artists' village?
If you're looking for bling-bling, you're wrong here.

Saint-Paul is a typical Provencal village, surrounded by its 16th century walls, built on the orders of King Francis I. The town has a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside.

Sanary © Bert Schwarz

When you arrive in Saint Paul, you first come to a parking house that is very well equipped and big enough for modern cars. Looking at the price board, we wondered if we had arrived in Monaco, because the price level is completely inappropriate.

Very well, then. We then saw the famous Auberge La Colombe d'Or, which hosted a number of artists such as Yves Montand, Chagall, Modigliani and Matisse as guests, and where still today many of their works can be seen.

Sanary © Bert Schwarz

We started our tour through the medieval town at the massive, arched King's Gate with its cannons. From there we hiked along the cobbled street «Rue Grande» past the tourist information shops and galleries housed in the medieval houses.

Sanary © Bert Schwarz

Before you leave, you should make a stop at the café. Some travel guides recommend that you have a drink there and watch the villagers. Fortunately, we had our provisions with us, which we plastered next to the south gate. We are not sure if we saw real villagers or only people who, like a German boutique owner, only come to work in the village. But we saw streams of mainly Asian tourists, where we asked ourselves how they found here and who did not behave necessarily appropriately, sparsely occupied restaurants and galleries, where tourists «only» looked.

Sanary © Bert Schwarz

Conclusion: Saint-Paul is actually a pretty and well preserved old village that - if one is already in the area - is definitely worth a visit. But your own expectations should not be too high. Anyway, at times we felt like we were in Disneyland, as we felt this place to be old, but not - anymore - authentic and totally overcrowded by tourists. It's an artists' village, we don't think, even if art is offered in the galleries.