South of France

Saint Paul de Vence-7/30/2018

The village of Saint Paul is located at the top of rocky foothill and by this natural position of elevation became a fortified town.  In 1536, François 1st demolished the old ramparts dating from the previous century, and built a massive fortification wall to protect the river Var against attacks from Charles V. The fortification is the work of the military engineer François Mandon of Saint-Remy, and was carried out according to the modern military technics at the time. The walls were classified as a historical monument in 1945.  Nowadays, the walls are well preserved, all around the entire village. Two holes were made in the walls to allow the passage of vehicles: one at the end of the nineteenth century in the North and another one in the twentieth century in the bastion Saint Michel.

The fortification walls are from the mid 15th century and they are still standing since they were built.


Car are not allowed inside the village so people park on the street or you have to park inside a parking facility.


Here is a close look at the wall (15th century) still in very good shape and probably will be around for more centuries.


We are now in the village, accessible only by car, there are no public transportation to get here. 

Saint Paul de Vence is really a touristy place with 2.5 million visitors annually and there are only 300 people living within the fortified walls.

Les boules (bacci balls).

On the main street the 1st thing you see is this is a famous square where people can play petanque (bocce ball) here.


Cafe de la Place sits on Saint Paul the Vence famous petanque square and has a great atmosphere.

 I was told it is great place to grab lunch and a drink while watching the locals play with their boules.


Beautiful cobblestones with a nice design (looks like the sun to me)


The village is so quaint with small and narrow alleys for pedestrians only and lots of cute shops.

Saint Paul de Vence Parish church is located in the heart of the charming village.  The collegiate church is one of the main historical monuments in Saint Paul de Vence.

Built in successive stages from the 14th to the 18th century and showcase a combination of structures and styles with mixes of Romanesque and Baroque art.

The facade of the church is pretty simple.

The church bell tower was built in 1740 and is the tallest structure in St Paul de Vence

The sign said to be quiet once inside and there is mass at 6:30PM on Saturday and Sunday

The central nave still features its original late Romanesque style. The nave was repaired in 1666 and new interior decorations were installed such as the choir in 1668.


Central nave with stain glasses windows.

The altar.


The side aisles were added in the 16th century to enlarge the building, This is the south side of the church called the Cahapeel Vierge du Rosaire


Painting adorning the wall of Donation and the mysteries of the rosary by the brotherhood of the Rosary

Painting in the Saint Mathieu chapel: Saint Mathieu writing his Gospel under the dictation of an angel (Jean Daret)

Chapelle Saint Catherine D'Alexandre (XVII) painting by Claudio Coello (1642-1693)

Between the aisles I was chocked to see modern art on display inside the church by various local artists and they are for sale.

Modern sculpture from Cristina Marques-Icefall

More modern painting and sculpture by local artists.

This is a bit weird too to see modern paintings and modern sculptures against traditional paintings in close proximity.




Above is a painting of Saint Anne-Saint Anne teaching the Virgin Mary by Gauthier 1850


End of the visit, we are now leaving the church...

It is now around lunch time and we are looking for a place to have lunch.



Nice view from the top of the village.



Lots of olive trees around.

In the horizon you can see the Mediterranean sea...


NEXT.... The village





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