The (over ten centuries) history confers today a timeless charm with at his feet modernity under a new dimension, nurturing itself from a rich and unsuspected inheritance.
The village of Saint-Paul de Vence hides many treasures inside its ramparts. The pedestrian heart of Saint-Paul de Vence leads the walkers to discover its history and its inheritance everwhere: around the corner of a street, behind a fountain, passing by the bastion.
This walk begins as you enter the village, at the Charles de Gaulle square where the boules area is located. But pedestrian routes starting from the village also allow you to discover the saint-pauloise countryside and its small inheritance, without fearing of losing your way.If there is a feature that shapes the stones of the basins and curbs stones as much as the years, it is: water. To sit down next to a fountain for a while, listening to the murmur of the water which runs, testifying of a forgotten history and its secrets.
There is evidence that housing was being formed between the 10th and the 12th century around the old church Saint-Michel-of-Puy, in the South and near to the castle on the high part of the hill. The area is managed in the Middle Ages by the earls of Provence. During the 13th century, the earl Charles II grants several privileges to Saint-Paul, among which the duty of organising a weekly market (1285).
Saint-Paul acquires more and more autonomy and becomes a prosperous city of tradesmen and the dignitaries at the beginning of the 14th century. The city becomes the chief town of an important bailiwick on which Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Villeneuve-Loubet, le Broc, Cagnes or Bézaudun depend.
Saint-Paul ends up finding itself in a strategic position when Nice and its area are detached from Provence to be attached to the states of the earl of Savoy in 1388. The Eastern border of Provence is then redrawn to be materialised by the lower Var. This new context will confer on the city the status of strong frontier during five centuries. The first fieldwork begins in the second half of the 14th century: the Northern door of the city, known as ‘Porte de Vence’, which goes all the way back to this medieval wall.
Today, its hotels and its restaurants make of Saint-Paul de Vence an accessible place where it feels good to be in, between historical past and modernity of a vivid line-up. The temporary exhibition takes root in the Espace Verdet. Tobiasse and Paul Conte are already programmed there. Three new galleries are to be explored at the village: Riviera Gallery, Di Allure Art Gallery and ODD.
Saint-Paul de Vence also means products of Provence showing off the range of arts of the table, fabrics, dresses and hats. The shops welcome you seven days a week. For those wanting to meet ‘la France profonde’, engage on a culinary Provence treat by tasting the: Bagnaròtou (cold) and Bagna cauda (hot), tasteful and traditional recipes for the summer.
Next year Saint-Paul de Vence will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the vault Folon, last vault of artists of the Maritime Alps. It will nearly make a decade that the Belgian Jean-Michel Folon continues to burn brightly in the hearts and the spirits of the visitors. The main focus of the decoration orbits around the concepts of: sharing and love, while respecting the values of the white penitents.
Jean-Michel Folon discovered Saint-Paul de Vence in the middle of the seventies. His illustrations, paintings and sculptures convey the universal values of love and peace in the vault. Its central character is the man with the coat and the hat. He still lives in the memories of those who knew the poetic credits of Antenna 2. The vault has imposed itself as a masterpiece of the artist in the minds and hearts of the villagers.
Saint-Paul de Vence has been adapted for disabled people. The tourism office located at n° 2 Grande Street, only five minutes away of the Charles de Gaulle square, has an intercom on its flank which is intended for them. It can even propose a wheelchair-friendly trail for a guided tour. It should be known that inside the fortifications, the pedestrian precinct is cobbled (pebbles on the ground), which does not facilitate the free movement for a wheelchair. It is thus advised to be accompanied and to privilege the visit of the village by the ramparts tour (1 km of stroll with a view on the valley, the sea and the mountains).
The nights at Saint-Paul de Vence are as heady as its days. One of the highlights of the events of Saint-Paul de Vence is the fireworks, drawn above the village for the patron saint fiestas in honour of Sainte-Claire. It can be observed from the road leading to Saint-Paul while coming from Colle sur Loup. The festival ‘Nuits de la Courtine’, five minutes away from the Charles de Gaulle square, proposes each year concerts, theatre plays and one-man shows. The show (at Courtine square) is accessible to disabled people. Spots are even reserved for them.