Headquartered in Monaco we consider ourselves extremely lucky to be located so close to some of the prettiest and most picturesque villages on the Riviera. Our doorstep is essentially a never-ending supply of backdrops for dreamy, romantic photoshoots. This week we grabbed our new travel bags and set off in search of the famous sunsets over the charming hilltop town of Saint Paul de Vence.
Whilst visiting St Paul we discovered some of the historical delights this Côte d’Azur gem has to offer. Here’s our guide to making the most of a day’s visit (which we thoroughly recommend you do) and we reckon we’ve got the best bits covered…you’ll have to discover it for yourselves to let us know if we’re missing any!
Get there early! During the high season of July and August, we recommend you get to Saint Paul de Vence as early as possible to ensure you find a good parking spot, ideally you want to be located very close to Café de la Place, just off Route des Serres. Once you’ve ditched the car and grabbed the essentials… GKS Leo duffle, children, dogs, camera equipment…we suggest a quick coffee break! Head straight to Café de la Place, located at the entrance to the old town, where you can experience quintessential French village life, sat amongst the plane trees, watching the locals play petanque, sipping on a ‘café crème’ whilst devouring a freshly baked croissant.
Once energised for your day of exploring, make sure you head to the Office de Tourisme to pick up a map, or, download it here and keep it on your smartphone. A well-guided tour will help you discover both the history and artistry of Saint Paul de Vence. Trace the footsteps of Marc Chagall, the famous artist who spent nearly 20 years living in the ancient town and you will come across the same vistas and ‘rich greenness’ that inspired many of his illustrations.
Group tours start at €7 per person and private tours €14 per person (minimum 2 people).
“The fountain’s silvery murmur plays on.”
From a walk on the ramparts, to the independent art galleries, to the ancient church who’s bells mark the rhythm of village life…there is so much to discover. At the heart of the village, the old fountain plays musically all day long, described by the poet Verlaine “The fountain’s silvery murmur plays on.”
A morning exploring can help you build up quite an appetite and St Paul does not disappoint on the food front either. From Michelin starred restaurants to snack shops, there is something for all tastes and budgets.
The place to go if you are searching for a charming family run style restaurant serving up some of the best food you can get your hands on in the Côte d’Azur. The fillet and duck for main and apricot desert are highly praised by the restaurant’s regulars. Be sure to book if you don’t want to miss out.
A restaurant in an authentic chapel dating from1885, where you can enjoy “brasserie”-style cuisine in a verdant setting with a beautiful view of the valley
Saint Paul de Vence is most famous as the home and inspiration to many of the most well known artists worldwide and the streets are lined with gallery windows displaying works by Chagall, César, Koons, Niki de Saint-Phalle and a host of other talent. For a unique experience take a stroll along Rue Grande, itself just like an open-air art gallery.
‘With anti-conventionalism the order of the day, this gallery exhibits a unique collection of photography and fine art alonsgside sculptures and creations. Our favourite works from local photographers Pierre Turtaut, whose photos you can also find featured throughout our very own website 😊’
Pierre Turtaut, Antoine Graff, Matthieu Faury, DiDariel, Lee Berthille.
‘Artion is an international art gallery based in Geneva which host emerging artists as well as renowned.’
Hiro Ando, Fabienne Arietti, Isa K., Lirone, D. Martinis, D. D. Moreres, A. Accardi; C. Palumbo, C. Tsoclis, A. Fassianos, A. Tsalagka, Emmanuelle Rybojad
A cultural and artistic association that has been around for 25 years exhibiting furniture, china, earthenware and glassware.
Arno, Brizepierre, Castex, Chagall, Léger, Lucchi, Matisse, Miro, Picasso, Scarton, Tobiasse, Zanoni.
Late afternoon/ early evening
A trip to France would not be a trip to France without trying your hand at a game of pétanque. And what’s more, you can even have a lesson and play on the most famous pitch in the world for just €7 for 1 to 1½ hours.
If petanque sounds like too much hard work take a relaxing afternoon tea break with a panoramic view on the sunny terrace or under the shade of the old lime tree.
Known for the best view and Aperol Spritz in the village: Chez Andréas is Provençal in style, designed by Stephan Woelk and offers a panoramic view of the countryside and the Mediterranean.
If there is one place that any traveller to Saint Paul de Vence must see, it’s the Colombe d’Or. This famous hotel, once Picasso’s favourite watering hole, houses rare works of art, gifted by the likes of Picasso himself and Matisse. Reserve well in advance for dinner and make the most of it whilst there, it’s very likely you will be rubbing shoulders with celebrities and artists staying in this 5 star hotel.
La Brouette has just celebrated forty years of authentic and creative cuisine, a scandinavian touch that attracts gourmets from the region and further afield. An amazingly rustic setting: a warm fire and solid wood tables in winter, or the terrace and flower-laden garden in summer, offering an outstanding view of Saint-Paul de Vence.
Chef Emmanuel Lehrer invites you to discover his authentic cuisine. It’s simple, fresh and generous, based on seasonal produce from Provence. Share an unforgettable meal in a blissful setting, from the stone fireplace to the terraces embracing the hills.