Just ten minutes drive from Vence is the equally gorgeous but far more touristy St Paul de Vence. Tourists flock here and crowds are so not my thing but I have to say, despite all this the ancient charm of St Paul de Vence is not lost in any way. This is a gem, surely it must be one of the most beautiful villages in France.
We found a parking spot on the main road just down from the Fondation Maeght and walked a short way to the village. At first glimpse, sitting on its rocky outcrop you know this place is going to be special.
We entered via the original stone gateway through the 16th century ramparts. The main street runs from one end to the other, is narrow and cobbled and has a couple of side streets to explore. We just wandered.
There are so many attractive medieval houses and lovely facades and some have statues tucked into nooks in the walls.
There are loads of art galleries, cafes, art and craft shops and so much to take in. Son found an ice-cream shop pretty much straightaway – lavender flavour went down very well with me.
There are elegant fountains in the middle of the village and vine covered stone walls. Even the ground is gorgeous as the cobblestones are laid into the shape of flowers.
We strolled right to the far end and found the belvedere. Magnificent views over the hills to the sea beyond.
We went into the quiet little cemetery and found the grave of Chagall covered with coins and pebbles.
Back up through the main street, we stopped off at a little cafe, sipped drinks sitting in the sunshine and just soaked up the wonderful atmosphere of this special place.