One of my favourite coastal drives in Mediterranean is at the Cote d’Azur where I usually visit in the busy summer season. However, this time I travelled there in the month of October which turned out to be a wonderful time to avoid large crowds and easily cruse around the seaside roads, visit the charming villages, and browse at the markets. One of my all time favourite towns in this zone is St. Paul de Vence that is 30 min drive from Nice Airport which makes it a perfect weekend getaway destination. This Medieval village is located on a hill overlooking the sea with a magnificent view of traditional French villas and vineyards.
As you enter the cobbled Medieval Castel you find yourself charmed by the picturesque narrow roads, little boutiques and art galleries. St Paul de Vence is well known for artists who have lived there, such as Jacques Raverat, Marc Chagall, Picasso and more recently French actor Yves Montand and Roger Moore. This medieval town offers a beautiful mix of landscape, architecture, art and food, which makes it the perfect French holiday destination.
What To Do
Wonder through the village, take Rue Grande that crosses the village from North to South that will give you a great feel of the place. The architecture and the beautiful small squares indicate how prosperous the village was during Medieval age.
If you’re an Art lover you will defiantly enjoy the art galleries in St Paul that showcase the most prestigious artists. St Paul is famous for their modern and contemporary art. Check out: Galerie Gantois and Maeght Foundation.
Walk your way down to the southern tip over the beautiful Porte de Nice gate where you can enjoy the fabulous view towards Nice and the Coastline. You also view the cemetery where Marc Chagall died in St Paul in 1985.
After you visited the main Rue Grande, it’s time to get lost in the narrow cobbled roads to better capture the simplicity and the charm of this city.
Where to Eat
Le Caruso is a charming little restaurant in the center of St. Paul that offers fantastic local French cuisine. I highly recommend this place if you love Mediterranean food with great value for money. www.lecarusodesaintpaul.fr
Where to Shop
Provence is famous world wide for their herbs, fragrances and creams and I think they make the perfect souvenir gifts.
Check out Godet Boutique for their all time legendary fragrances. With over 100 years of craftsmanship this family business has been selling perfumes for a century. The boutique seems like a museum and the smell almost mesmerizes you. They have a great selection of perfumes in beautiful design bottles. http://parfumsgodet.com/fr/
Visit L’Herbier en Provence for herbs, teas and local spices. http://www.lherbierenprovence.com/en
Where to Sleep
Toile Blanche is a lovely boutique hotel run by Leroy family that make you feel at home. This beautiful French country style villa is only 1km from St Paul de Vence. The hotel offers great dinning that I highly recommend. The rooms are large and tastefully decorated with all the modern comforts. http://www.toileblanche.com/