Welcome to... St Paul de Vence
Saint Paul de Vence is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in France with its spectacular setting and outstanding views.
The brilliant light quality of the area has, over the years, attracted a large number of artists, the great ones being Matisse, Soutine, Chagall, Renoir, Signac, Modigliani, and Dufy. Poets and writers also flocked to the village enjoying the benefits and privileges of a French lifestyle. With this artistic heritage it is little wonder that there are a number of superb museums and art galleries. The rich and famous of France have always considered Saint Paul de Vence a perfect retreat and later, it became the turn of film directors and actors, the like of Yves Montand, Lino Ventura, Simone Signoret, Romy Schneider, Roger Moore and Tony Curtis.
There is art everywhere in Saint Paul de Vence, from the imposing ramparts of the village, rearing out over the Provençal countryside, to the main fountain at its centre, one of the famous in France. Walk down the street between Porte Sud and Porte Royale and you will see a number of gloriously carved stone façades from the16th-18th centuries. Follow in the footsteps of Picasso and Matisse and visit the restaurant, where they dined regularly, to see a series of their works. The beauty, location and appeal of Saint Paul de Vence owes much to its history.
The village was founded in the 9th century with the Saint Paulo, the château of Saint Paul, dominating its surroundings. Of this castle, only the dungeon survives today. In the Middle Ages Saint Paul became a city worthy of note after the Count of Provence granted many privileges and franchises, and formed a market. The Queen subsequently established the right to use the waters of the Malvan. She is said to have had a romantic dalliance with her page, named Aubépin (meaning hawthorn in English), later stabbing him to death. From that day, a hawthorn bush bearing red flowers marks the very spot. Ramparts as a means of fortification were built around Saint Paul de Vence in the Renaissance period but were abandoned, and, in 1872 were purchased by the mayor of the commune. He deemed them of public importance and today they are a listed monument. Rising up towards the light, the ramparts cast their munificent gaze across the expansive horizon. Today, the flower growing industry surrounds Saint Paul and the weekly flower markets are a delight and favourite attraction for residents and tourists alike.
Saint Paul de Vence is a popular location for those wishing to purchase a second home in the south of France. Smaller and less populated than some of its more famous siblings it never the less is a truly inspiring part of the region, walk around the narrow cobbled streets of the village and you could not fail to feel the history of the place. Take in the floral delights of the gardens and diminutive shady squares and delight in the peace and serenity.