The South of France is well known for it’s exclusive vacation spots, spectacular beaches, and laid back atmosphere. If you are visiting Nice, or the surrounding areas, and are interested in seeing amazing art without breaking the bank, check out the artist colony of Saint Paul de Vence.
Saint Paul de Vence is a small medieval town in France, just north of Nice with a huge art community. It was a thriving town for the rich and famous of France in the 1960’s. Celebrities could be found in it’s uniquely quirky studios and cafes. It has since become a major tourist attraction in the French Riviera.
After making your drive across the mountainside, you will reach the somewhat hidden colony. When you enter the main corridor, you are graced by streets of art galleries, original boutiques, and makers of artisan soaps and perfumes. The art ranges from very contemporary, modern art to medieval statues and paintings whose origins are unknown.
Keep calm and smell the lavender
The smell of fresh lavender overwhelms the streets. The area is well-known for its, year-round fresh lavender and the scent is almost therapeutic, creating a sense of calm in the area. Many of the public galleries do not allow you to take photographs. However, you do not need to be in any of the galleries to see spectacular art.
The town itself is filled with beautiful architecture and sculptures. It has a mix of old and new, and a little bit everything. The modernness of the galleries, most of which are very posh and contemporary, is strongly offset by the old architecture and original structures dating back to the 18th century.
Eat, drink and be artsy
Being in France, you are never further than a stone’s throw away from a delicious cafe or brasserie. Being a spot that attracts tourists from all over the globe, you will find a mix of authentic French cuisine along with more traditional American or Italian restaurants. The area is well-known for its foie gras, and unique foie gras macarons.
Visiting the galleries and shops is free of charge, other than a small fare for parking. When it comes to purchasing art or particularly clothing from the boutiques, be prepared to spend a pretty penny considering most things are handmade and one of a kind.
A unique experience fit for the whole family
If you are traveling with children, you should feel comfortable bringing them along. The only issue parents may face is maneuvering large strollers through the very narrow and winding roads. In the middle of the week, you won’t likely run into large groups of visitors. However, on the weekend, the streets tend to get a bit more crowded. If you are traveling in the summertime, be prepared by bringing plenty of water and sunscreen, since much of the time will be spent outside, and the heat can become overwhelming.
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You will love this hidden gem
If you are looking for a family friendly outing in the French Riviera, that will keep you within budget and show you a part of France you may not have known existed, visit the ancient town of Saint Paul de Vence. Spend a few hours, or a quiet evening, perusing the art-filled streets and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the world outside the walls of Saint Paul de Vence.
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