Wednesday, 8 July 2015

France: St Paul de Vence

St Paul de Vence is an ancient medieval village located not too far from Nice. Perched on a hill and built with ramparts all around it, this quaint little village has a history that dates back to the 14th century. It is amazing to see how wonderfully preserved this village is. It is not a mere 'show village' as there is a thriving community living, working and doing business here. I have to admit that strolling along the village streets got me immersed in a totally different realm. It is like walking back in time, the medieval times.
I love everything about St Paul de Vence and I've captured its charm in as many photos as I could snap.

               Cute & Peculiar Buildings              
I love the cute and peculiar buildings in the village. Seen here is the post office.
I love this building too. The lower floor is an ice-cream shop.
A quaint restaurant near the car park.
Charming St Claire Chapel.
Statue of a plump naked woman.
A house that looks very quirky.
A peculiar shop that is covered by foliage.
A building with a unique architecture
House doors with interesting designs.

       Artful Foliage Decor And Pretty Flowers     
Even though the entire village is made of stones, it does not lack coziness or appeal. I love the foliage that creep its way around windows and front walls of buildings and pretty flowers hanging from pots and planters.
The shrubs and creepers decorate this house real well.
The facade of this massage parlor is "simply and wonderfully artful".

     The Antiquity     
I also love the antiquity of the village. Seen here is the 14th century fortified gateway or 'Vence Gate' which is located on the north of the village.
Beside the Vence Gate is a cannon which was a trophy won from a battle by the French in 1544.
This well in Rue Grande is probably very old. It is located near the village houses at the foot of the stairs leading to the church.
Somewhere in the middle of the village lies an old fountain. It was built in 1615 by the village stonemason Martin Melchior.
LHS: One of the antique streets
RHS: A small courtyard with a fountain called La Placette
The Collegiate Church and its bell tower are very old buildings. They are located on the highest point of the village and are landmarks visible form afar.
The entrance to The Collegiate Church
This church was built and altered several times between the 14th and 18th century.
Inside the church.
The bell tower and other old buildings in the church square at the top of the village.

           A Maze Of Narrow Streets             
The pathways which can be passed for streets are very narrow. Except for the outer roads bordering the ramparts which are broader and accessible by cars, most other village streets are pedestrianized. Even as we strolled and meandered along, there's always the mystery of "What's around the corner?"
A quiet residential street
A Shopping Street

           The Lovely Shops         
I also love the shops, their signage and unique entrances. 

        The Cobbled Pathways And Stairways       
Because the village is built on a hill, there is always climbing to do. Cobbled pathways and stairways add to the rustic charm of the place.
And if you get tired, you can sit on the stairways. While resting, take a photo or two.
This stairway is particularly steep and very narrow.

             The Arches             
A distinct feature of the village are the arches. They are so popular in the architecture of the buildings here. You see them on windows, doorways, walkways and everywhere.

           Art Galleries         
St Paul De Vence is famous as a dwelling place for renowned artists in the past. Today it still attracts talented artists from across Europe and a lot of their work are on display as well as for sale in the galleries. There are about 20 such galleries around the village.
Galerie Frederic Galong
Galerie And
La Colombe D'Or Hotel which was started as a cafe in the 1920s and then turned into a hotel has a strong artistic heritage. Past guests and other artists have left behind their artwork which are said to be 'better than those found in many museums'. Today the hotel offers one of the village premier venues for purchasing artworks from acclaimed international artists.

     The Ramparts And Beautiful Scenery     
St Paul de Vence was fortified by ramparts for defense purposes in the past. Much of the ramparts are still intact and taking a walk around it can be a rewarding experience as this is where you get to see the most scenic of panoramas. 
The ramparts
A magnificent scenery of the alps and the valleys below.
View from different parts of the ramparts
At the far end of the village is the cemetery. Chapel St Matthieu is located on the cemetery ground (The little building with  2-tier roofs at the edge).  Because the cemetery sits on a promontory, the scenery here is superb. We could see as far away as the Mediterranean Sea.
Scenery on the way up the village.

     And What Else Do I Like Here?     
The cute 'glutton' which came to clean up the streets.
The authentic setting and the seemingly unspoilt village as a whole.
The surprises we get at certain corners.
The village 'feel'
The exclusivity
I love the main street, Rue Grande that has so many lovely shops. (By the way Rue is a french word meaning Street)
The simplicity of lifestyle here.
Even the more modern villas outside the ramparts look stunning.

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