visiting st paul de vence – my must-see list

by Sharon Santoni

st paul de vence my french country home

Last week we spent a couple of days in the beautiful  fortified village of St Paul de Vence, soaking up the atmosphere, dining out, visiting galleries and stopping at the little boutiques.

st paul de vence my french country home

The village looks gorgeous at this time of year, so well-tended with bougainvillea and plumbago climbing the stone walls.  Visitors from all over the world come to see this lovely village, and I took great pleasure wandering around early before the streets got busy, and I even popped inside the beautiful old church.

church st paul de vence my french country home

Our days were spent out and about along the coast, but late each afternoon we were pleased to drive back up the hill to our little stone house within the ramparts, relax and change for dinner before walking out to wine and dine.

st paul de vence my french country home

I hadn’t been to St Paul for quite a few years, and it was fun rediscovering the village.  I thought you may like to see my list of must-see’s.

We started each day with breakfast at the renowned Café de la Place.  The croissants are delicious, the service a delight, and it was fun to watch the village wake up around us.

We actually returned to the same café each evening for a glass of champagne or wine, before going out to dinner.    It is lively, and the perfect place to watch the locals play boules in the shadows of the tall trees.

cafe de la place st paul de vence my french country home

We sometime dined at the legendary Colombe d’Or, just two steps from the village square.  How I love this hotel and restaurant, an icon of the Côte d’Azur for the past century.   It is frequented by some of the world’s biggest stars, and its walls are literally studded with original paintings by Picasso, Miro, Dufy and more, but despite the glamour it has managed to keep an elegant, simple style and atmosphere.   The food is good, but not too fancy, and the service kind and attentive.

la colombe d'or st paul de vence my french country home

The reason for the art collection is that La Colombe d’Or was originally created as a café and bar by the artist Paul Roux.   The café evolved into a hotel.  Gradually he started attracting other artists, writers and actors …. and sometimes the artists paid for their stay with a painting!  In the summer I love to dine in their leafy courtyard, and in the winter indoors surrounded by masterpieces!

st paul de vence my french country home

Another favorite restaurant is Le Tilleul, perched up high on the ramparts with a beautiful terrace that catches the evening light.

le tilleul st paul de vence my french country home

The food is excellent and this is another popular table where you need to reserve.   The owner Nathalie, made us extremely welcome, and we enjoyed her recommendations from their wine list.

le tilleul st paul de vence my french country home

When the weather is cooler they have cosy restaurant space indoors, recently redesigned by Jacqueline Morabito.   I had great intentions about eating carefully during the holidays, but their dessert presentation is so beautiful that my willpower proved inadequate.

st paul de vence my french country home

If you prefer to buy food to take home, then your best bet is the well stocked little store and fromagerie, tucked beneath a vine.  It’s called Le Fromager de St Paul and Magdi  takes great care of his clients, sharing his favourite wines, olive oils and cheeses.

st paul de vence my french country home

Here you’ll find a choice of cured meats, cheeses, and dried fruits, perfect for an aperitif with friends.

st paul de vence my french country home

There are many art galleries in St Paul, each with their own speciality, and I was happy to meet Isabelle de Botton at her gallery Casa d’Amor Design.    Her eclectic choice of paintings, watercolors, lithographs and sculptures are more than tempting, and reflect her years of accumulated knowledge in design and art.   In the basement of her store she also carries a range of fine porcelain decorated by great artists, as well as some furniture.

It was a joy to meet Isabelle, and honestly I know that I’ll be back in her store in the near future, to take another look at her astounding collection.

Not far from where we were staying, was a charming boutique Godet Parfums.  In today’s world, an artisanal perfume maker is a rare thing, and I was delighted to discover this address.

So delighted in fact that I’m saving the rest of my pictures and information for a separate story later this week!

st paul de vence my french country home

And right next door to the perfumery is the most delightful small shop known as Revolv’Air, where Patricia Rémus creates hand made fans.

Patricia is a former costume designer, who worked in theatre, and today she continues to create by producing these pretty fans that are ideal for slipping into a handbag for a warm summer evening.

st paul de vence my french country home

I’ll be back later in the week to tell you about two extraordinary people who I met in St Paul.  In the meantime I hope you are enjoying some down time, be it in France or in your own happy place.

st paul de vence my french country home

 

35 comments

franki August 13, 2017 - 7:39 pm

Ahhh….I think I’d rather be in France…franki

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MARSHA August 13, 2017 - 7:40 pm

Ahhh, Sharon, this brings back so many wonderful memories of travelling with my wonderful husband, Ned. He loved the South of France, and we visited St. Paul de Vence many times. The little fan shop is enchanting, I would have brought back armfuls of those pretty things. Sounds like so much fun !! xx’s

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Ann Jones August 13, 2017 - 7:43 pm

My husband and I have been fortunate enough to visit France, Italy, Switzerland and several beautiful European destinations, and without a doubt, St. Paul de Vence was my all time favorite destination. The ambience, architecture, boutiques, flowers, all so incredibly charming. Thank you for sharing which brought back such fond memories!

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mary goldenberg August 13, 2017 - 7:45 pm

I’m amazed at all the new restaurants and shops that appeared since I was there last. Do you have any extra info on that hand made fan shop? I collect them and would love to know
Thank you

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Dottie Monta August 13, 2017 - 7:48 pm

What a perfect spot to visit! I suspect it’s lovely every season of the year. Fan of scents and would love Godet Parfums (have visited only Grasse). These photos are wonderful.

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Janice Rivenburg August 13, 2017 - 7:53 pm

Thank you for the beautiful memories, Sharon! I was there 20 years ago and found it to be a little bit of heaven”<3"

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Susan B. August 13, 2017 - 8:00 pm

It looks divine! I’m adding St. Paul to my list of places to visit in France. And I’m loving my “Holidays In Provence” My Stylish French Box!!

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Pamela August 13, 2017 - 8:27 pm

What a beautiful village, I so would want visit.

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Lory at Designthusiasm August 13, 2017 - 9:23 pm

What a lovely post! St-Paul-de-Vence is one of my favorite villages and I stopped at many of the same spots as you have pictured here. If you’d like a peek, and you don’t mind me leaving a link, I posted about it here: https://designthusiasm.com/prettiest-hilltop-village-france/

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Marilyn August 13, 2017 - 9:34 pm

Oh thank you for this lovely posting. I know I will never get over there but I can enjoy the pictures and dream. It looks like such a beautiful, relaxing place to visit and spend some time. Thanks so much for sharing. Marilyn

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Taste of France August 13, 2017 - 9:46 pm

Your photos are so charming and really capture the spirit of the town. These are the places that are the distillation of the French esprit.
There are few activities more enjoyable than watching a French town wake up, from the vantage point of a central café.

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audrey August 13, 2017 - 11:07 pm

Had been thinking of an interesting place to spend my birthday in October, while still staying in France, and your photos of St Paul de Vence have inspired me to take a trip down there. Have taken a note of your café, restaurant and shopping suggestions. Many thanks, Sharon.

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Linnda Brawley August 13, 2017 - 11:17 pm

Such an enchanting village.Thank you for sharing-I want the rosebud fan! and have always wanted to visit this beautiful village. Do you mind sending me,possibly in private, the info on the beautiful cottage where you stayed and the booking information. I assume that was the first picture with beautiful blue/gray shutters. Love your postings!!

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Donna August 13, 2017 - 11:24 pm

Loved Saint paul de Vence, charming and so pretty … I missed one of the restaurants you have highlighted! It looks so lovely…next time…
it really is a lovely part of the world.

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suzana August 13, 2017 - 11:57 pm

brings back such great memories of my time there, think it’s time to get back!

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Leslie in Little Rock August 14, 2017 - 1:13 am

I have never heard of this charming spot and now I want to go! Thanks so much for sharing this lovely post! As always…

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Janet - Shabbyfufu August 14, 2017 - 2:03 am

Thank you for sharing your relaxing moments with us Sharon. A spot to visit on my next trip to France.

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Jane August 14, 2017 - 2:44 am

My “forever” husband took me to St. Paul de Vence and to all of Provence – fabulous. From here we bought a lovely hand made Cheese Plate with a pattern of grapes around the edge. Many fun and funny memories here. Do hope you too have a wonderful time!

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Pauline from Phillip Island August 14, 2017 - 4:35 am

What a beautiful little village. I too love the gorgeous little rosebud fan. I don’t suppose the owner of the shop would post to Australia? Your post today made me feel transported. I am still surrounded by all the items from my August French Box so I really feel like I am there. Enchanting!

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Colleen Taylor August 14, 2017 - 5:06 am

This is such a charming & beautiful village Sharon.Thank you for introducing this enchanting place village to me.The photos are gorgeous & a definite must see indeed.

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JaneEllen August 14, 2017 - 7:34 am

I have misplaced our daughters email address or would be sending this to her as I type. She always wanted to go to France, especially after she graduated high school but we weren’t parents with that kind of money. Maybe this will appease her curiosity. She can still speak some French she learned in high school, she’s 47 now.
Thank you for sharing these exquisite photos with us, look forward to next batch later this week.
Have wonderful week, so glad you enjoyed your days out.

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Botanic Bleu August 14, 2017 - 7:52 am

Sharon,
Saint Paul de Vence was one of the first small hilltop French villages I visited years ago. Over the years I have been fortunate to visit it several more times. Each visit has been a wonderful experience.

Judith

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Darina August 14, 2017 - 8:40 am

Such beautiful photos and village. Saint Paul de VEnce is one of my favorite village in the South of France. And Le Tilleul is my favorite restaurant. The lasagna is delicious!

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elisabetta bregliano barba August 14, 2017 - 9:08 am

Buongiorno,
St. Paul de Vence è bellissima. Io vivo e lavoro in un borgo a pochi kilometri di distanza, in Italia, che merita di essere visitato: Pieve di Teco. perchè non viene a trovarci… magari l’ultima domenica del mese? a presto
elisabetta

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Roberta August 14, 2017 - 12:12 pm

St Paul de Vence is a very charming village. On my last visit, a bride was having her photos taken while walking down some stairs. That photo, and all it captured was so beautiful. Thankyou for sharing your photos, Sharon.

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Maywyn August 14, 2017 - 5:15 pm

Beautiful selection of photographs
St Paul de Vence looks like a dreamscape. Amazing it is real.

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Grace Hoffman August 14, 2017 - 11:10 pm

Sharon. Your posts always bring back my longing to return to France. They are always so beautiful I am loving my book!!

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Monica Roberts August 15, 2017 - 1:33 am

Wonderful images Sharon … one can’t help but be charmed by the likes of S Paul de Vence!

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classic • casual • home August 15, 2017 - 8:05 pm

Thanks so much. Pinning this for our trip next year!

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Holly August 19, 2017 - 6:08 pm

I am smitten with the Miro piece. Soft and sweet. Do you recall if the piece was named?

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Patricia Rémus August 19, 2017 - 11:34 pm

Thank you very much for this lovely article about my village and my shop, hope see you again, Patricia Rémus, Revolver

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Jennifet Lapidus November 12, 2017 - 4:49 pm

Patricia, I would like to order a fan. What is your contact information? I was just there in September and wish I had purchased the fan while I was there!

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suellen dolan August 28, 2017 - 4:05 pm

thank you for sharing that heavenly little village’s streets and shops. I would love to know how to get in touch with the perfume shop to order – without even testing – I am sure they are all wonderful. su

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Marianne Wilton August 31, 2018 - 12:58 am

Lovely memories of my favourite village in France Thanks for sharing

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Pamela August 31, 2018 - 3:52 pm

We adore St Paul de Vence. Every year we stay in Antibes and spend a wonderful day there. First we go to the fabulous Fondation Maeght, the modern art museum high on the hill outside the village. It’s such an important part of the St Paul experience. We then walk down the hill to the Colombe d’Or for lunch in the courtyard, booked weeks before by our dear concierge in Antibes Their leafy courtyard and flowerfllled pots, the Leger mosaic and the artworks inside make this an idyllic place we revisit every year. After lunch we drag ourselves away at last, my husband to the Cafe de la Place to the terrace where he will do some water colour paintings while I wander through the village revisiting favourite shops. Then we go back to the courtyard of the Colombe d’Or and wait for our driver to arrive to take us back to Antibes.. Always a heavenly day! Best wishes, Pamels

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