Visit Saint-Paul-de-Vence (Provence, France)
Saint-Paul-de-Vence is found on the French Riviera, a little way inland from Cagnes-sur-Mer and close to Vence. The 'correct' name for the town is simply 'Saint Paul' although 'Saint-Paul-de-Vence' has now been widely adopted (remember this if using a GPS to get here!)
St-Paul-de-Vence is small, and also one of the most beautiful and most visited villages in France. It is best summed up by the sign at the entrance to the village itself which reads 'authentic and touristy, quiet and buzzing, Saint-Paul is proud of its paradoxes - they are the key to its charm and identity'. I certainly couldn't put it better myself!
A tradition of modern art
A beautiful perched village of Provence, Saint-Paul-de-Vence has attracted many artists during the last century - starting with Modigliani on the 1920's - and now has a very high reputation as an artistic village, and as a place of great natural beauty. Picasso, Braque and Miro are among the well known artists who stayed at St-Paul-de-Vence.
This artistic tradition continued into the 1960's when the village was host to many renowned French film actors and directors. Many of the artistic community, when less well known, stayed and eat at the Colombe d'Or hotel - which frequently accepted works of art as payment in kind, and now has one of the finest private art collections hanging on its walls!
The village itself is entered through an original stone gateway through the defensive ramparts (16th century), then consists of one 'main' (narrow and cobbled) street that runs from one end of Saint-Paul-de-Vence to the other, with a couple of small side-streets to also explore.
You also get the chance to enjoy glimpses of the views over the surrounding countryside and the many attractive medieval houses and attractive facades. Be sure to pay close attention to the houses to see the interesting architectural features such as statues niched within the walls.
Not surprisingly there are a large number of cafes, boutiques and especially art and craft shops so you can take your own piece of Saint-Paul-de-Vence art home with you. The 'art connection' of the town means that a very high quality of art gallery are to be found here, especially along the first section of the main street and art enthusiasts will take great pleasure in window-shopping.
At the far end of the village is a belvedere where you can best appreciate the views, and also the cemetery where the artist Marc Chagall is buried.
Note: busy even by the standards of 'beautiful Provence villages' it is said that more than 2 million visitors come to Saint-Paul-de-Vence each year. This is a lot for a small village! Do try and get here early if possible.
The artistic legacy has also given rise to an especially fine art museum on the edge of Saint-Paul-de-Vence called the Fondation Maeght. The modern art museum (founded by a family of art dealers from Cannes) features an exceptional collection of painting, sculptures and artworks of the 20th century - the areas featuring Miro sculptures and Giacometti sculptures in natural settings are among the many highlights.
Photos of Saint-Paul-de-Vence
Click any picture to start the gallery
Address: Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Alpes-Maritimes, Provence || GPS: latitude 43.6972, longitude 7.12306
Map of Saint-Paul-de-Vence & places nearby
Highlights close by
See lots more places to visit nearby and a more detailed map at places near Saint-Paul-de-Vence.
See Provence and Alpes-Maritimes (the region and department for Saint-Paul-de-Vence) for more travel ideas...
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
- Baou de Saint-Jeannet - site of natural beauty (6km)
- Parc Phœnix - zoo or wildlife park (8km)
- Marineland d'Antibes - aquarium (9km)
- Jardin botanique - remarkable garden (12km)
- Gourdon - most beautiful village (12km)
- Nice - secteur sauvegarde (12km)
- Le Vallon du Brec - remarkable garden (12km)
- Jardin botanique de la villa Thuret - remarkable garden (13km)
- Parc zoologique du Cap Ferrat - zoo or wildlife park (16km)
- Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild - remarkable garden (17km)
The French version of this page is at Saint-Paul-de-Vence (Francais)