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St. Paul de Vence, France

Can anyone provide a review of St. Paul en Vence? It looks like such a charming village, but Rick's book suggests that it is overly touristy. Thoughts? Similar less touristy suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

Posted by
3936 posts

I enjoyed our visit to St Paul - mind you, we were there in early Oct. So not crowded at all. You could probably wander around for a few hours and move on. I love taking photos of old doors and alleyways and this village was chock-a-block with them, which is probably why I enjoyed it. There were some nice shops as well.

Posted by
8491 posts

In my opinion, it's less touristy than other places such as Eze.

Posted by
3329 posts

S.P.de Vence has a stellar attraction, namely Fondation Maeght, which houses a collection of works by such premier modern artists as Picasso and Matisse. The sculpture garden is particularly wonderful. I believe that some of the artists actually created their works right on the spot, while in residence.
As to being touristy, most of the Côte d'Azur towns that are at all attractive do have lots of tourists. RS has his own, idiosyncratic notions of what "overly touristy" means. He puffs some places, such as Rothenburg in Germany, and dismisses others like SPV. He's entitled to do so, but his word is not gospel. Check some other sources and see if what the town offers interests you.

Posted by
1005 posts

It's worth a day trip, but I wouldn't stay there. Oozes charm and lots of boutiques if you like shopping, but not really much to DO other than the Fondation Maeght. I stayed in Saint-Jennet which is another hill town, but much less touristy, and about a half-hour away. Lots of great hikes into the hills beyond the town.

Posted by
21282 posts

I found St Paul de Vence very touristy in May, but the Fondation Maeght is wonderful if you have an interest in modern art. There are many modern-art galleries in southern France, but it was my favorite--and I saw many of them. The nearby town of Vence has a large historic district which was much, much less packed with tourists on the same day. Perhaps combine the two??

Posted by
510 posts

St. Paul de Vence (like Eze) does become packed in July / August, but the Fondation Maeght is not to be missed. The streets and views of the countryside are terrific as well. It's popular for a reason. Further up into the hills are Tourettes Sur Loup and the hill-top village of Gourdon (near the beautiful Gorges du Loup, with many hiking options).

Posted by
21282 posts

A local I spoke to briefly while I was wandering around Vence highly recommended Tourrettes-sur-Loup when I said I found St. Paul de Vence too touristy to enjoy. I was really sorry that I didn't have time to go to Tourrettes.

Posted by
3936 posts

We stopped at Gourdon as well. It was a quick walk thru and popping into shops...I bought my linen tablecloths there that graces my table to this day. :). Only drove thru Tourettes tho...didn't stop. :(. There are some twisty roads but amazing views on the drive.

We stayed in Villeneuve Loubet at an Airbnb. It was actually about a 10-15 min drive to St P, which was nice.

Posted by
28075 posts

I was in S Paul de Vence in April or May a few years ago and didn't find it particularly busy. But it was well before noon....