24 September 2013

St Paul de Vence

Saturday, we decided to go inland. France is renowned for its medieval villages and St Paul de Vence certainly doesn't disappoint. After a slightly stressful wait for the bus (the English really are the only ones who know how to queue), we hopped on the bus for another 1E50 and headed away from the sea into the foothills of the Alps.

St Paul is one of the oldest 'towns' on the French Riviera, and its quintessential feel has attracted many an artist. The village's most famous hotel and restaurants, La Colombe d'Or used to host struggling artists such as Matisse and Picasso, who used to pay their bills in kind, leading to an impressive art collection.


Tiny cobbled streets wind their way around this rocky outcrop, and you can even step up onto the old ramparts for some amazing panoramic views down to the sea. The village is full of art galleries so pop in on a few and meet the locals.



When it came to lunch, there's also a lot of choice - from crepes at the main gate to restaurants at 5* hotels, there's no wrong pick. As we stopped to look at a menu or two, we were captivated by this very friendly pup.


We couldn't refuse that face so popped in and sat on the terrace, underneath grape vines, with a glass of wine and a humongous salad each, and the amazing view.

Energy restored, we pottered around for a bit more then waited for the bus (this is definitely a pattern in the south of France). For some ridiculous reason, we decided to hop on the bus going further afield to bring us back (the constant pushing and shoving drove us to it). Upon arriving in Vence and having to wait a rather miserable 45 minutes, we vowed to learn from our mistakes.

That evening, the port was hosting a large celebration to celebrate 10 years of the party, Lou Festin. Hosted by the local government, there were three stages dotted around the port with food stalls and parades entertaining the crowds in between the live bands on the stage. We danced around our apartment until fireworks heralded the end of the evening and we closed the shutters on another successful day's adventuring.

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