Tucked away in the hills of South France is the little medieval village of Saint Paul De Vence. If you are in Nice or visiting the French Riviera, this little hidden gem and artist commune is a must visit! Saint Paul De Vence is not only a beautiful village, but it’s one of France’s monumental heritage and historical sites. St Paul de Vence was strategically built as a fortification with ramparts by the orders of Francois the 1st King of France.
The fortified village of Saint Paul de Vence is protected by a wall and almost entirely a pedestrian only zone (though it is wheelchair accessible). So while it isn’t very large, plan on walking through the maze of charming, narrow streets.
Saint Paul is well-known for the writers, poets and artists who have lived there, such as Jacques Raverat, Gwen Raverat and Marc Chagall.
Just like Eze Village, Saint Paul De Vence is also a tiny little medieval village with narrow roads, beautiful shops and art galleries. You can really get a sense of the energy here as you walk the paths, knowing that so many great artists once called this place home.
Saint Paul De Vence is a perfect place to relax and get away from the larger tourist crowds in Nice or Cannes. It’s also a romantic place to visit if you are with your partner. Women will enjoy the laid back, ease of this village and will love the art and shopping! If you are an art buff or photographer and traveling solo, Saint Paul De Vence is the perfect destination.
Getting to Saint Paul De Vence
We hopped a bus from Nice where we were staying. The bus ride is appx. 2 Euros and 1 hour away from Nice. The bus you will want to take is Bus #400 Vence (par St Paul) which goes to Vence and St. Paul De Vence. We got the bus from the rue Verdun/Albert 1ere bus stop.
You may also get on any bus at a stop along the Promenade des Anglais. The bus departs every 30-45 minutes on weekdays and every 45 minutes to an hour on Saturdays, Sundays and French holidays. Check bus schedules in Nice before you head out.
Things to See and Do in St. Paul de Vence
- The village, of course!
- A plethora of Art Galleries, boutiques and ateliers
- Cafes – grab lunch or dinner at La Caruso or Hostellerie les Ramparts where one Yelper said it was “a lovely, unassuming restaurant run by a staff of energetic, charismatic women”
- Chapelle St. Michel, a 12th-century Church
- 16th-century ramparts with panoramic views over the hills and the sea
- Place de la Grande Fontaine
- The tomb of Marc Chagall
- Maeght Foundation
- The Folon Chapel
- The Museum of Local History
- The Saint-Paul Museum