High Art in the Walled Village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence

 

Visitors to the Cote d’Azur – the French Riviera – are spoiled for choice, as there are a countless number of destinations on the coastline that are picture-perfect for a luxury holiday. But while most know of destinations like Nice, St Tropez, Monte Carlo and Cannes, there are still some off-the-beaten-path spots that are not entirely overrun with jet-setters. One such place is the small village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence.

The historic buildings are merely fronts for the contemporary art galleries that can be found throughout the village.

The historic buildings are merely fronts for the contemporary art galleries that can be found throughout the village.

Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a hilltop village that’s situated in a valley just off the coast and only a few miles outside of Nice. Inside its historic walls, a small labyrinth of cobbled lanes closed to traffic connect the town’s many wine bars, art galleries, boutiques and cafes. At the edge of the town, near the walls, visitors are treated to excellent views of the surrounding valley that stretch all the way to the sea.

Saint-Paul-de-Vence is one of the best preserved Medieval towns in all of France.

Saint-Paul-de-Vence is one of the best preserved Medieval towns in all of France.

Not far outside the village walls, the Maeght Foundation is the town’s main attraction. This private art museum has a world-caliber collection from some of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists like Vasiliy Kandinsky, Joan Miró and Marc Chagall. The foundation’s collection is housed in a pleasant site that is surrounded by wooded hills, and it is one of the top art destinations in the entire region.

Vibrant pieces of contemporary art inside the Maeght Foundation.

Vibrant pieces of contemporary art inside the Maeght Foundation.

Back in the village itself, famed local artist Christian Choisy has two galleries in the town where visitors can purchase one of his masterful minimalist pieces for display in their home.

Need a more immediate thrill than art collecting? Well, La Colombe d’Or is one of the village’s highly acclaimed restaurant and its interior décor that includes masterpieces from Picasso and Miró is certainly fitting with our artful theme. The cuisine is a delightful combination of modern French and rustic, and the locals just can’t get enough

After dinner visit the La Petite Cave de St-Paul, which is a wine shop housed in a 14th-century wine cellar that has some really great local wines on offer.

The village church and its bell tower rise above the other buildings in the village.

The village church and its bell tower rise above the other buildings in the village.

Want to stay a while in Saint-Paul-de-Vence? Well, while the French Riviera is the headquarters of super yachts and luxury chalets in France, Saint-Paul-de-Vence is more of a B&B type of place. One interesting choice is the Hotel Le St-Paul, which offers rooms in a 16th-century residence that’s right in the heart of the walled village. Guests can spend their days and nights relaxing on the hotel’s shaded terrace or enjoying the views from the balconies of the guest rooms, and rest peacefully knowing that the only thing visitors to Saint-Paul-de-Vence have to worry about is never wanting to leave!

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