Saint Paul de Vence, Côte d’Azur, France

Saint Paul de Vence entry gate and cannon, France

Saint Paul de Vence entry gate, Côte d’Azur, France.

What is Saint Paul de Vence?

Saint-Paul is one of the best affluent, tourist-friendly hilltop towns near Nice in France’s Alpes-Maritimes department, with substantial medieval walls, labyrinthine pedestrian paths, an upper-crust art speciality visible in any number of pricey art galleries, masses of quirky artefacts scattered around, hordes of visitors in season and lots of celebrity inhabitants both deceased and nearly deceased, ranging from Yves Montand (French actor), Marc Chagall (Russian-French artist), Bernard Henri-Levi (French philosopher) and James Baldwin (American writer).

Saint Paul de Vence panorama, France

Saint-Paul view  by Dennis Jarvis.

If you’re driving there from the A8 autoroute follow signs to Saint-Paul, or Saint-Paul de Vence, but NOT to Vence which is another town.

Pictures of Saint Paul de Vence

Saint Paul de Vence terrace, Alpes-Maritimes, South of France

A terraced area outside Saint-Paul town walls.

Saint Paul de Vence steep street, France

A typical, well-preserved street in the town centre, lined with art galleries; more than 20 in this small town.

Saint Paul de Vence, street and art gallery, Cote d'Azur, France

More galleries, scarily without prices on display, and we all know what that means.

Saint Paul de Vence postbox, France

Hand-painted post boxes, one of many unique and quirky features in this town.

St Paul is small enough to absorb  a couple of hours of  strolling up and down steps  – not good for tourists with ambulatory problems – admiring wacky art forms on the streets and in the glittering galleries. Entry to Saint Paul is, need we say, free.
St Paul is very similar to Eze  in its ancient stone buildings, bizarre art and expensive eating/drinking, though St Paul contains a lot more real inhabitants than Eze. That being said the inhabitants tend to be very well-off and probably own a variety of homes around the world. The BugCrew saw Jack Nicholson there looking decidedly porky and unravelled, though he was probably just visiting.

Saint Paul de Vence ivy-covered house, France

Notice the ancient vine wrapping around the window bars.

Saint Paul de Vence arty flowerpot, France

A splendid half-evolved flower-pot.

St Paul de Vence, wood carving, France

Getting there

Saint Paul de Vence people, France

– The nearest large town is Nice, airport too; it’s one hour by bus #400. By car take the A8 to exit 47.
– The nearest train station is at Cagnes-sur-Mer, the next town to Nice.
– Other popular Côte d’Azur destinations within 40 kms are Gourdon, Mougins, Cannes, Antibes, Eze, Monaco.