There would be few who would have blamed us if we had never left the sensational tranquility which can be found within the stone walls of La Colombe d’Or. And yet the hotel is itself nestled against the ancient stone walls of the tiny village of St-Paul de Vence in the South of France, and within those mighty ramparts can be found a tiny little village so utterly picturesque that it was worth the struggle of leaving our well-appointed loungers beneath La Colombe’s Calder mobile.
While Saint-Paul is visibly ancient and utterly medieval with its maze of cobbled steep streets nestled within large protective ramparts, its reputation ballooned largely owing to the fame of La Colombe d’Or and the increasingly famous jet set of artists and intellectuals who stayed there. What then followed was the opening of the Fondation Maeght, one of Europe’s most significant collections of modern art installed in a museum created by Marguerite and Aimé Maeght just up the road from La Colombe d’Or. Consequently, with some of the most important art of the modern era on its doorstep, it is no wonder that the fame of St-Paul has magnified, nor indeed that the village itself has become a mainstay of art. For besides the usual offerings of Provençal soaps and local olive oils, the village is crammed full of art galleries.
St-Paul is a tiny village with a little church located at the peak of the hill, and the remainder of the streets spiralling around downwards from that centre point. It was a place in which to stroll, and photograph; to soak in the ambient shady streets filled with little shop signs and flowers; to peruse the little shop windows and the multi-coloured offerings of the art galleries; and to breathe in the local perfumes of lavender and soap. And with the village right on our doorstep, we made good use of St-Paul as a destination to shop, stroll and dine. Here are some of the photos I made during our time in the town.
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