Besides its beauty, St Paul de Vence is famous for being liked by famous people, most notably the artists and writers who have flocked to this hilltop town since the 19th Century. In a way, this is what you see on a visit there in the height of summer; busloads of people in search of the famous town. The town where philosophers, artists and writers rested and dreamed. Where you can stop in one of the galleries, buy a keyring or a postcard or a painting, hang it on your wall and say to your friends: ‘I bought that in St Paul de Vence.’ It’s as though naming the experience eclipses the experience itself.
But, as with a lot of places, if you wander a few streets from the town’s main thoroughfare, it’s easy to find a piece of the tranquility that drew people here in the first place. Not a town that is famous for being famous, but stony streets and wide views, where the ghosts of the town’s celebrity inhabitants rub shoulders with the baker, the cobbler and the townspeople of days gone by.
Here’s the wanderer’s guide to Saint Paul de Vence. We’ve purposely included no information about the town – so that you can go, wander and find out for yourself.