Saint Paul de Vence in France: travel guide & best things to do

Saint Paul de Vence

A quaint gem just a stone’s throw from the azure coastline of the French Riviera, Saint Paul de Vence beckons travellers with its timeless charm. 

An excellent day trip from Nice, I adore the timeless allure of this mediaeval village that stands proudly on a hilltop, offering a postcard-worthy panorama of the picturesque countryside.

For a storybook setting where art, history and beauty harmoniously converge, Saint Paul de Vence is an absolute must-visit destination and one of my favourite spots along the Côte d’Azure.

I always feel transported back in time to the Middle Ages as I wander the village. The ramparts that once protected the village are still intact, and you can walk along them for a unique view of the area.

The village is also home to several other historic landmarks and art galleries that showcase the works of local artists, as well as some of the most famous artists in the world, such as Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso.

So if you can, I’d recommend carving out enough time to really make the most of this gorgeous village.

Here I share my top tips for visiting Saint Paul de Vence, my favourite things to do, plus my personal recommendations for where to stay and eat.

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

How to get to Saint Paul de Vence

There are several options for reaching this charming French village.

By car

If you are driving, Saint Paul de Vence is easily accessible from the A8 motorway. Take exit 47 (Cagnes-sur-Mer) and follow the signs to Saint Paul de Vence.

There are a couple of car parks in the village, but they can get busy during peak season. So arrive early if you can or use public transport.

By bus

If you prefer not to drive, you can take a bus from Nice or Cannes to Saint Paul de Vence.

Bus services are provided by Lignes d’Azur, and you can check the timetable and buy tickets online.

The journey time from Nice is around 45 minutes, and from Cannes it takes about an hour.

By taxi

Taxis are readily available from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and can take you directly to Saint Paul de Vence.

The journey time is around 30 minutes, depending on traffic. Alternatively, you can get an Uber as these are readily available across the region. 

Good to know: The journey into Saint Paul de Vence follows a very windy route and I’ve found that French taxi drivers like to drive fast.

So if you suffer from travel sickness, this is something to consider – on arrival, I had to sit down for 20 minutes to recover from the journey!

By train

If you are travelling from further afield, you can take a train to Nice and then connect to Saint Paul de Vence.

For example, the train journey from Paris to Nice takes around five hours, and there are several daily services. 

From Nice, you can then take the bus, taxi or Uber to Saint Paul de Vence, as described above.

Best time of year to visit Saint Paul de Vence

The truth is, Saint Paul de Vence is beautiful all year round, but you’ll get a different experience depending on the season.

Spring (March – May)

Spring is a great time to visit Saint Paul de Vence. The temperatures are mild, the flowers are in bloom, and the crowds are smaller than in the summer.

I think this is the perfect time to explore the village’s art galleries and museums, as well as take a leisurely stroll through the village’s picturesque streets.

Summer (June – August)

Summer is the peak tourist season in Saint Paul de Vence, and for good reason. The weather is warm and sunny, making it the perfect time to explore the village’s charming streets.

Take a seat in one of the alfresco restaurants and bars to soak up the atmosphere.

However, keep in mind that the crowds can be quite large during this time, so be prepared for longer lines and wait times.

Autumn (September – November)

Autumn is another fantastic time to visit Saint Paul de Vence. The weather is still warm, but the crowds have thinned out, making it a more peaceful and relaxed time to visit.

Saint Paul de Vence House

Winter (December – February)

Winter is the quietest time of year in Saint Paul de Vence, but it can still be a beautiful time to visit.

The village is decorated for the holidays, and the cooler temperatures make it an enchanting time to cosy up in a local café with a warm drink.

Keep in mind that some shops and restaurants may be closed during this time, so I’d recommend checking ahead.

Best guided tours for Saint Paul de Vence

If you prefer to explore as part of a guided tour so you don’t have to do all the research and planning, here are my top recommendations for tours: 

Top 10 things to do in Saint Paul de Vence

1. Wander around the village

Arguably one of my favourite things to do in Saint Paul de Vence is to simply wander around the charming mediaeval village.

Explore narrow lanes and cobbled streets that are lined with beautiful old buildings and boutique shops.

Take your time to wander the village and discover its hidden corners to truly appreciate its charm.

Immerse yourself in the warm embrace of the locals, who proudly share the stories that have shaped their beloved village.

Charming cafés and eateries serve up traditional dishes as well as delightful baked goods, so take time to stop for a bite to eat.

2. See the Ramparts of Saint Paul de Vence

Now a historical landmark, the Ramparts of Saint Paul de Vence is a fortified wall that surrounds the village.

The wall not only offers a unique perspective of the village and surrounding countryside, but also a wonderful walking opportunity. 

The Circuit of the Ramparts is a circuit that starts at Place de Gaulle. It’s suitable for hikers of all levels, and takes around 25 minutes to complete. 

3. Visit the Cimetière de Saint-Paul-de-Vence

The Cimetière de Saint Paul de Vence is a beautiful cemetery that is located just outside the village.

Saint Paul de Vence Cemetry

The cemetery is home to many famous artists and writers, including Marc Chagall and James Baldwin.

A serene place, many people pass by the cemetery for a moment of calm and quietness to escape the bustle of daily life. 

4. Visit the Maeght Fondation

Address: 623 Chemin des Gardettes, 06570 Saint-Paul de Vence, France

Opening times: 

  • Daily, 10:00 to 18:00 
  • July & August: 10:00 to 19:00

Prices: 

  • Adults: €16
  • Concessions (children aged 10 to 18, students, press and unemployed): €11 
  • Children under 10, disabled visitors and Friends’ Society members: Free

The Maeght Fondation is a modern art and sculpture museum that is located just outside the village – I’d definitely recommend stopping by if you have the time.

France’s first private art museum, the Maeght Fondation is home to an impressive collection of modern art.

These include famous works by Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti, and Alexander Calder.

5. Explore the Fragonard Perfume Shop

Address: 1-9 Chem. de Sainte-Claire, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France

Opening times: Daily, 10:00 to 20:00

The Fragonard Perfume Shop is named after the famous Grasse-born painter, Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

It’s a wonderful place to visit if you’re interested in perfume and fragrance – or want to do a bit of retail therapy. 

The shop offers a range of perfumes and other fragrances that are made using traditional methods.

Grab yourself a new signature scent to remind you of your time in the wonderful Saint Paul de Vence.

6. La Chapelle Folon

Address: Place de l’église, 06570 Saint-Paul de Vence

Prices: 

  • Full price: €3
  • Family pass (two adults and two children over 12 years old): €9
  • Children under 12, people with reduced mobility and job seekers: Free

La Chapelle Folon (also known as Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs) is a small chapel that is located just outside the village, but is worth the short walk to find.

The chapel is home to a series of beautiful frescoes that were painted by the much-loved Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon.

Here, you can learn more about the strong links between the artist and Saint Paul for over thirty years.

See the fruits of the close collaboration with village craftsmen in his stained glass designs and sculptures, all showing his fascination with light.

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7. Visit the Eglise Collégiale Saint Paul

Address: Bell Tower, 5 Rue Bastion St Rémy, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France

Opening times:

  • Monday to Friday: 08:15 to 16:15
  • Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 10:00 to 18:00

Located in the heart of the village, the Eglise Collégiale Saint Paul is a beautiful church that is home to a number of interesting artworks and artefacts.

The historic building is a blend of periods and styles, from Romanesque architecture to baroque artwork.

The chapel at this church is dedicated to Saint Clement, and houses relics from the catacombs of Rome. 

8. Relax at Fontaine de Saint-Paul-de-Vence

The Fontaine de Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a beautiful fountain that is located in the beating heart of the village square.

Saint Paul de Vence Fountain

The fountain is a great place to relax and simply soak up the atmosphere of the village.

People-watchers, you’ll love this spot as you can witness the bustle of the locals going about their daily lives.

9. See the artwork at La Colombe d’Or

Address: Place du Général de Gaulle, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France

La Colombe d’Or is a famous hotel and restaurant that is located in the village of Saint Paul de Vence.

Teeming with history and filled with life, the artwork on display at this establishment offers an insight into the hotel’s unique past.

10. Chapelle du Rosaire

While the Chapelle du Rosaire may have an unassuming exterior, you’ll be greeted with a number of Matisse original works inside.

Chapelle du Rosaire

The place was in fact regarded by Matisse as his “masterpiece” – if that isn’t reason enough to visit, I don’t know what is!

Best restaurants in Saint Paul de Vence

One of the best things to do in Saint Paul de Vence is to make the most of the wonderful restaurants in the area. Here are my favourite recommendations. 

Toile Blanche

Address: 826 Chem. de la Pounchounière, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Best for: A taste of the Mediterranean

Toile Blanche is a hotel located in the heart of Saint Paul de Vence that has two wonderful restaurants.

Both offer informal dining options and dishes that are bursting with flavour.

We had the most incredible meal at Le Restaurant at Toile Blanche, which provides well-balanced dishes, showcasing natural and pure flavours.

Dining on the terrace gives you a spectacular view of the valley and hills – and it’s even better as the sun begins to set. 

La Guinguette focuses on sharing plates and light bites, encouraging guests to mingle, relax and enjoy just being together.

Good to know: The setting here is absolutely beautiful, however, it does require a fairly long walk down quite a steep hill to get there from the village. This is definitely something I’d recommend keeping in mind for anyone with limited mobility. 

Au Jardin de la Vague

Address: Hôtel La Vague de, Chem. des Salettes, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Best for: Contemporary feel

Au Jardin de la Vague is a hidden gem located just outside of Saint Paul de Vence. Clean, contemporary interiors welcome you to the dining experience.

If you prefer to dine outside, the terrace provides a lovely experience with panoramic views. This restaurant is nestled in a beautiful garden, making it the perfect spot for a romantic dinner.

The menu features a range of Mediterranean-inspired dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. 

This establishment offers a ‘Chef’s Table’ dining experience, where you can enjoy a unique experience by tasting a personalised menu with the chef in their kitchen.

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Le Caruso

Address: 1 Mnt de la Castre, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Best for: Intimate dining

Le Caruso is a cosy restaurant, where visitors are taken on a mouth-watering journey through a menu graced with the savours of Provence and beyond.

Here, traditional cuisine is given a creative twist and added flare. With a welcoming atmosphere, Le Caruso hits the spot every time.

Exceptional presentations are matched with a stellar balance of flavours for an unforgettable meal. 

La Table de Pierre

Address: 2320 Rte des Serres, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Best for: Provençal flavours

La Table de Pierre Restaurant

La Table de Pierre is a wonderful restaurant located just outside of Saint Paul de Vence.

This restaurant offers a truly unforgettable dining experience with its beautiful views and impeccable service. 

La Table de Pierre

The menu features a range of innovative dishes made with the finest ingredients.

Here, you’ll find Mediterranean cuisine mixed with subtle international influences. 

Where to stay in Saint Paul de Vence

If you’re planning a trip to Saint Paul de Vence, I’d recommend staying overnight so you can experience the village first thing in the morning when it’s wonderfully quiet.

While the village isn’t bustling with life like some of its French Riviera counterparts, it offers a peaceful stay.

Here are my top picks for accommodation in the area:

Toile Blanche

Address: 826 Chem. de la Pounchounière, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Best for: Impeccable design 

Toile Blanche Bedroom

Toile Blanche is a quintessentially French boutique hotel located just outside of Saint Paul de Vence. Exuding authentic French Riviera charm, the hotel is run by three brothers and artists. 

The hotel features 16 beautifully decorated suites, each with its own unique style and character. Enjoy a private patio overlooking the valley and their garden – some even have their own private pool!

Toile Blanche Pool

This hotel also has a lovely garden and terrace where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

A lovely looking pool beckons you to take a dip and unwind. 

Book here

Domaine du Mas de Pierre

Address: 2320 Rte des Serres, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Best for: Five star luxury

Domaine du Mas de Pierre Suite

If you’re looking for a luxurious stay in Saint Paul de Vence, Domaine du Mas de Pierre is the perfect choice.

This stunning five star hotel features 72 spacious rooms and suites, each decorated in a traditional Provençal style. 

Domaine du Mas de Pierre Pool

The hotel also has a beautiful outdoor pool, a spa, and a gourmet restaurant – what more could you want?

Feel your worries melt away in the hotel’s jacuzzi, sauna (hammam, salt and herbal) and Snow Cave.

Book here

Hôtel La Grande Bastide

Address: 1350 Rte de la Colle, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Best for: Panoramic views

The former 18th century bastide turned charming hotel is just a short distance from Saint Paul de Vence.

Hôtel La Grande Bastide features 14 comfortable rooms, each decorated in a classic French style, including three duplex suites. 

Light floods into the rooms and compliments the pastel tones. You’ll be impressed with the superb views on offer at this hotel, which are a real treat.

The establishment also has a beautiful outdoor pool and a restaurant serving up delicious regional cuisine.

Book here

Hotel les Vergers de Saint Paul

Address: 940 Rte de la Colle, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Best for: Boutique feel

Hotel les Vergers de Saint Paul is a charming hotel located just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Saint Paul de Vence.

Nestled between the sea and the mountains, this hotel is the ideal relaxing getaway. 

The hotel features 15 spacious rooms, each with its own private terrace or balcony and two suites.

There is also a lovely garden and an outdoor swimming pool equipped with comfortable sun loungers and umbrellas.

Book here

Hotel Le Saint Paul

Address: 86 Rue Grande, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Best for: Romance

A five star luxury hotel in the heart of Saint Paul de Vence, Hotel Le Saint Paul offers a unique stay in an exceptional setting that oozes tradition. 

The hotel features 16 beautifully decorated rooms which exude romantic charm. Here, you’ll find all the amenities you’d expect in a five star establishment.

The hotel also has a lovely shaded outdoor terrace and a gourmet restaurant.

Discover more of the best hotels in nearby Nice.


If you have any recommendations or questions about visiting Saint Paul de Vence, get in touch in the comments or on social media.

Planning a trip to the French Riviera? Discover the best things to do in Nice, Antibes and Villefranche-sur-Mer. Or read my guide to the best beaches in the South of France.

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Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

Find me on: Web | Instagram

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