While staying in Nice, I decided to buy a tour to visit some small towns around Nice and Monaco. In each city in France, whenever you need tourist info, just go to “Office de Tourism”, located right in the center, they have everything you need, very convenient! I’ve been there and book a tour to Cannes, Monaco, St Paul-De-Vence, Eze and Antibes.
Let’s talk about St Paul de Vence! Why we call it the paradise for the artists and art lovers? It’s a village in the Alpes-Maritimes, southeastern France, with narrow streets, surrounded by medieval walls that capture the heritage of more than 1,000 years. The village’s beautiful landscape, teamed with its endless art galleries, modern and contemporary art museums and quirky sculptures, make it an art lover’s paradise and an extremely popular tourist destination.
Located on a hill, the history of the village starting from the Middle-age period, back to 10th -12th century, now became one of the most visited villages and home to a number of movie stars like Yves Montand, Simone Signoret or Marc Chagall, Russian-French artist, who lived in the village for almost 20 years. Marc Chagall painted local landscapes featuring romantic couples, goats and cockerels floating across the village and its ramparts, in the fragrance of immense bouquets of flowers.
Here, every house is a gallery or studio-atelier – either paintings, sculpture, art deco…We have more than one hour to walk around, to visit galleries. Due to a sign “No enter with camera”, at the entrance, so I decided not to step inside some galleries but sometime the owner or the manager kindly allowed to take a few shots. Anyway, if people just keep taking photos and buying nothing, it’s truly annoying! It’s fair enough!
Some artists display their artworks outside studio, in the garden or on the wall at the entrance, it makes the old town more vivid, more colorful. Due to low season, sometime you may find no one in the gallery, or just a little cute dog, laying at the doorstep, but if you need some info, just ring the bell, someone quickly appears, greeting you with usual “bonjour” and with smiling eyes!
Below are some beautiful imperfect bronze sculptures in the collection “Les Voyageurs” by French sculptor Bruno Catalano. What’s especially impressive is that some of the upper part of the sculptures seem to stand on very little support, giving them a sort of ethereal and surreal appearance.
Bruno Catalano is a French sculptor who sold most of his art works around the globe, as I love his creations and very curious how to create it, so I found it on Morning News, sorry it’s in French, but we still meet the artist and see how he’s working on his sculptures.
I’m visiting St Paul de Vence in mid September, not high season, I can feel the peaceful atmosphere in the medieval village, no any big crowds of visitors, I take my time to enjoy my walk and made another discovery – the paintings at the gallery Gaulthier, the artist’s selection of the colors in his painting is amazing – the happy colors!
The Hesbe Bolzonello gallery is another space dedicated to the fascinating world of impressionism. Through original works made with oil painting and pallet-knife, it takes you to the soul of St Paul de Vence, with its old stones, its flowered streets, its facades with bougainvillea, let you to relax around a legendary game of pétanque or in the village’s fields of poppies and lavenders, or to laze on the quiet seaside.
Just by chance I saw a note on the door of one small, a kind of rustic art studio, seeing the artist’s name, I’m sure he’s my compatriot, I’d love to learn more from him about St Paul de Vence, but I realized my restricted tour schedule…I continue my walk in regret.
It’s quite interesting to get more details on the artwork that I found in the village like the old camera engraved on the stone by Luc Trizan, who comes from Florence in Tuscany, where working marble and stone is an sacred tradition. Luc studied architecture, traveled around the world but later settled in St Paul de Vence.
I surely missed many other art deco displayed within the ramparts or in the village, no chance to visit favorite galleries or houses where those celebs used to live…
and I keep wondering why the artists love this place so much, not only St Paul de Vence, but also some other places in South of France ? The landscapes, the mild weather, the summer green, the colors of the nature in the South, the azure blue sky, the Mediterranean sea…right in front of the village?
Today is my last day in South of France, after nearly half month traveling around the half country by train, unbelievable! That was an amazing experience, I did enjoy every moment…and I still come back for the North-Eastern part of France, that I will share with you later. Now time for me to continue my journey down to Verona, Venice, Florence and Rome. Au revoir!