Saint Paul de Vence, France

Saint Paul de Vence, France
Saint Paul de Vence, France
★★★   38 votes

A medieval French hilltop village in between two deep valleys, Saint Paul de Vence is filled with quaint old houses, art galleries, boutiques, narrow winding streets, stone walls covered in vines, romantic fountains, majestic statues, cobblestones, and sidewalk cafes. Undeniably spectacular views of the mountain and the sea make this a top destination.

Because of its captivating beauty and laid-back atmosphere, an average of 2.5 million tourists visit the village every year so it is not exactly the place to go if you desire peace and quiet. It is also not the easiest place to get to since it is not accessible by rail. You can either go there by car or by bus from the major Riviera cities. Still, the trip is worth it for the stroll within the ramparts alone, allowing yourself the pleasure of simply "hanging out" with the locals.

Two of the best places to dine at Sain Paul de Vence is at the Le Colombe d’Or at the Place du General-de-Gaulle, or at Mas d’Artigny at Route de La Colle. La Colombe is where the stars eat and stay and where artworks by Picasso, Léger, Miró, and Roualt are displayed and can be viewed. Matisse, Picasso, and many other modern painters used to stay at the hotel and paid their bills with paintings. Mas d’ Artigny is off the beaten track located in the countryside in the middle of the forest.

Long a haven for the famous, Saint-Paul de Vence was a favorite destination of French actors in the 1960s including Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, and Lino Ventura. The poet Jacques Prevert also frequented the place. It was also home to Russian born painter Marc Chagall who is buried in the Saint-Paul-de-Vence cemetery. To get to his grave, which is a simple white tomb, take the first right from the entrance and then take the next left.