The village of Saint-Paul de Vence is a medieval village full of charm located only 30 minutes from Nice and a few kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea. Situated on the heights of the Côte d’Azur, this village has everything to please nature lovers as well as art and culture enthusiasts. To visit Saint-Paul de Vence is to take the time to live and contemplate the beauty of what surrounds us. It is also a well of culture with the vestiges of the past scattered in the village which sheltered some celebrities.
In the footsteps of yesteryear
The oldest element still present in the village is the keep of the medieval castle of Saint-Paul de Vence. This was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. The village was then established around the first tower of the castle.
The castle is not the only medieval vestige of the town. On a walk you can see the remains of the city walls on the outskirts of the old town. There are also two other elements not to be missed during your excursion: the square tower of Esperon and the machicolation tower located a few metres away. The machicolation tower is also known as the “Porte de Vence”.
The church of the conversion of Saint Paul is also a site to visit. This magnificent Catholic church is located in the centre of Vence. The visitor’s eye is immediately drawn to the impressive religious paintings on the walls. Wooden statues dating from the 15th century tower over visitors from the upper floor of the church. The more experienced will notice the different styles of construction. This is due to the fact that the church was built over several centuries.
Like any tourist site, the village of Saint Paul de Vence has places that every tourist is delighted to visit. Amongst these, there is the boules pitch made mythical by the games of pétanque played by Lino Ventura and Yves Montand. The Café de la Place is located on this square. This way, visitors can easily enjoy the southern atmosphere.
Walking along the ramparts towards the Porte de Nice, you will have the opportunity to discover the countryside of vineyards and olive trees. Then you will arrive at the village cemetery where the famous painter Marc Chagall is buried with his wife Vava.
The place of the great fountain is one of the places not to be forgotten on your journey. Looking at the fountain in the middle of the square, one can imagine the inhabitants of the past going to this fountain to wash their clothes, others to give their animals a drink or to stock up on water.
The Rue Grande is a must. It is dotted with painting galleries, artists’ studios and craft shops.
The village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence had its own oil mill powered by water from the aqueduct. Its oil production was one of the main economic resources of the village. Indeed, the oil was used for the operation of oil lamps or for the manufacture of Marseille soaps.
The garden of the Maeght Foundation is very pleasant to discover. The foundation has one of the most important collections of paintings and sculptures in Europe. It also has many graphic works from the 20th century. The Maeght Foundation encourages interest in culture by organising regular exhibitions on different themes.