May 9, 2019
Feeling very brave after our little city bus ride yesterday, we decided to find (with the help of the front desk) bus 400 from Nice to St. Paul de Vence. This famous little medieval, fortified hill village was home to Chagall when he was in his 80’s. The village is near Matisse’s famous Rosary Chapel in Vence.
Suzanne had engaged with a young couple that were sitting next to us at dinner our first night here. They work and live in Nice 6 months a year and told us that St. Paul is one of their favorite places to go, so this is all on Suzanne…..a good job too!
Here are Suzanne and I hanging out at the cemetery chapel.
The tomb of Chagall is here in this little cemetery that terraces down the hill at the south end of the village facing the sea.
I took this photo of the upper terrace of the cemetery from the ramparts.
My researcher and I discovered after an extensive search that the two other people in Chagall’s tomb are, Valentina (Vava) Brodsky his second wife and his brother-in-law Michel.
These types of porcelain flowers were used on many of the tombs.
Of course being a hill town, we climbed a lot of stairs in our exploration, because that’s what we do. We’ve never seen a stair that we didn’t want to climb.
The village has very interesting and clever rock paths that were laid in the 1950’s.
There are shops and art galleries everywhere. Mostly art galleries some with very expensive art by Chagall and Picasso. There are many galleries with current artists like in the photos below.
We were tempted, but managed to resist this cookie and candy store.
We climbed up to the Elise Collegiale church that was constructed between the 14th and 18th centuries, it has rich and beautiful paintings. The chapel in the first photo is dedicated to Saint Clement.
The Grand fountain in a little square at the heart of the village was redesigned in the 17th century and again in the 19th century. We had lunch on the little terrace with red umbrellas above the fountain. This square has always been the busiest part of the village.
These are some photos of a few of the quaint and charming parts of the village. The second photo down shows a house that was built over one of the village paths.
The ramparts were constructed between 1543 and 1547 forming a one kilometer perimeter. The ramparts are among the very first to be designed by a French architect, Jean de Saint-Remy. I walked the rampart from the city gate to the cemetery (about 500 meters) and tried not to look at the drop into the village. The rampart is about two and a half feet wide, which made passing people nerve wracking. I just flattened myself against the parapet and refused to step out to the edge, except in one case where a guy refused to move.
On our way out to St. Paul de Vence we passed through Cagnes sur Mer and saw this office building and restaurant an inhabited sculpture by Sosno. ‘The watchman’ in the middle of the structure stares at you, watching. I got the photo from a post on Rick Steve’s Europe, community.ricksteves.com. We went by too fast for me to get a picture.
Back to Nice and a very good meal at Mon Petit Cafe. Sea Bass for me and Cod for Suzanne. Tomorrow we pick up our car and head up into Provence wine country.
One thought on “Medieval St. Paul de Vence”
Happy you made it to that lovely city. Luigi and Marinella took us there 32 years ago. We thought it was charming and we had an excellent lunch there. Looks like a wonderful day for you and Suzanne.