Visit to Saint Paul de Vence
Rita and I were in Nice, on January 16 we decide to go and visit one of the most beautiful tourist sites in France, the village of Saint Paul, because this is the real name of the place. From Nice we take the comfortable bus line 400 which takes us to our destination at the price of 1 euro (20 km).
We arrive after about an hour in Saint Paul which is a small and very popular medieval village, perched on a rocky spur, from a distance it looks like a fortress surrounded by high walls (we will then see that the walls are walkable), on which stands a torre, in this period is not very popular, and therefore the visit is very enjoyable. .
The origins of the village are ancient but the current layout dates back to the fourteenth century, but much of what you see dates back to the fourteenth-seventeenth centuries. The discovery as a tourist resort is relatively recent, around 1930, when it began to be frequented by famous painters and artists (Mirò, Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, to name a few) attracted by the particular position, then came actors and film directors.
We enter the village, practically almost all pedestrianized, passing through the Porte Royale where the mouth of the Lacan cannon is placed, used in 1544 in a battle that took place in Piedmont, next to two pleasant sculptures, then we begin the visit along the rue Grande, a narrow street , of Roman origins that crosses the whole country from the Porte Royale to the Porte de Vence, you walk between small stone buildings with beautiful facades, on the sides large windows of boutiques, art galleries, souvenir shops, hotels and restaurants, all well inserted, you will often meet cheerful sculptures, with this road you cross very narrow streets with arches and stairs, to note the paving of stones, it is all interesting, also because in January there are no visiting crowds, we meet the Place de la Grande Fontaine with the famous and elegant fountain of 1600-1850 in an artistic square, behind an ancient wash house, then the Placette.
The Rue Grande ends in front of the small cemetery where the great Chagall is buried. We climb the walls along a stretch of it (ignoring the danger signs) to enjoy the interesting view, with the sea in the distance. Then from the Place de l'Hospice, we walk to the side of the western part of the walls, where there are some terraced spaces that constitute viewpoints, from where the view in some points reaches the sea.
Of course we do not fail to visit the Chapel of the White Penitents also called the Folon Chapel, of the seventeenth century (admission 2 euros including the museum, open only in the afternoon, you can take photos without flash) with the recent original frescoes, mosaics and sculptures inside. in modern style (the original hand-shaped altar, which symbolizes giving) designed by Folon, and the Collegiate church (13th century, rebuilt in 1700), which I could define as the cathedral of the village, on the same square the Town Hall and the 13th century tower, remains of an ancient castle. As for the Maeght Foundation, it is closed for renovation, while the Colombe D'Or, the famous hotel and art gallery, we tried to enter, but the staff told us that to visit it we need to stay overnight. .
We had lunch in the famous Café de la Place of 1850, with the bowling green (petanque) in front of the square, the dish of the day we paid 14.5 euros, around you will see many photos of famous French actors who try their hand at the game. Then I return to Nice with the 400.
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