St. Paul de Vence – Something to Wet Your Whistle

St. Paul de Vence is a very picturesque town which is famous for its beauty and also is the final resting place of Auguste Escoffier and Marc Chagall. It has narrow winding streets with small squares tucked in between. This is definitely a village for romance, whether you want to propose to someone, go on a honeymoon or just spend a romantic vacation with the one you love. I would recommend staying at Le St. Paul. Everyone wants to be at the Colombe d’Or because of its amazing collection of paintings and sculptures and because every movie star known to man has stayed there. The hotel is therefore always crowded with curious tourists. The Le St. Paul hotel is tucked away in the middle of the village, is beautiful and tranquil, and has an amazing view of the valley below.

A number of painters, founders of the 20th-century schools, flocked to Saint-Paul: Matisse, Soutine, Chagall, Renoir, Signac, Modigliani, Dufy… not to mention writers including Gide, Giono, Cocteau and Prévert.

In July 1964, the Fondation Maeght was inaugurated by André Malraux. It was the joint creation of Aimé and Marguerite Maeght and artists including Giacometti, Chagall, Miró and Calder. The museum and grounds are beautiful. If you like modern art, then it is a must-see.

There are a number of art galleries and other specialty shops. One that caught our eye was a shop that sold various liqueurs and olive oil.

The name of the shop is Les Trois Etoiles de St. Paul and it is owned by a lovely man named Horst.

Horst has a very interesting selection of liqueurs, such as honey, plum, peach, limoncello cream, strawberry, blackberry and pear, as well as several types of balsamico and local olive oil. He certainly believes in letting potential buyers try out his wares; we must have had about eight tastings before we chose a plum liqueur and lemoncello cream to take home as part of our swag.

Provence and the Cote d’Azur

My husband and I went on a lovely 12-day vacation last June to the Cote d’Azur and Provence. We stayed in a beautiful villa on Cap d’Antibes for 10 days and a hotel in Avignon for two days. We travelled to Haute de Cagne, Nice, Tourtour, Villecroze, Salernes, Flayosc, Vence, St. Paul de Vence, Villeneuve-Loubet, Grasse, Villefranche sur le Mer, Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Marseille, Cassis, Avignon, Orange, Carpentras, and Aix en Provence.

We were fortunate enough to have been invited to stay at a family friend’s home in Cap d’Antibes. We had the house to ourselves.

The house was 75 meters from the sea and had a rooftop terrace which has a magnificent view of the bay. We spent several romantic evenings on the rooftop sharing a bottle of delicious Provencal rose watching the sunset over the bay.

We were in heaven. The house is decorated beautifully. I could have moved right in. If I am fortunate enough to design my own home, I am going to have a staircase just like theirs….

The three panels were made by a local artist and depict scenes from life in Provence. I would love to have some made with three scenes in Israel.

Here are a closeup of the three panels:

A cafe scene,

fishermen,

And, the game of Pétanque.

We had breakfast and dinner at the house almost every evening. We grilled sardines, sebaste, trout, red gunard and emperor bream. The fish was outstanding. We were really looking forward to having red mullet, but it cost three times what we pay here.

We did not eat out a lot because most of the restaurants were very expensive and since we had a kitchen in the villa, we took full advantage of cooking with beautiful fresh ingredients. The reason I say expensive is because 1 Euro was approximately 5.50NIS.

We drank a lot of wine while we were there and were amazed at how little they cost. We had:

  • Les Orfevres Vignerons, Sainte Victoire Cote du Provence 2004, Rose
  • Golfe de Saint Tropez Merlot, Vin de Pays du Var
  • Montcigale Beaucaire, Coteaux d’ Aix en Provence 2005, Rose
  • Chateau de Sablet Bordeaux 2005
  • Domaine Francois Gerbet Bourgogne 2004, Rose
  • Chateau Minuty Gassin, Cuvee du Bailly 2004, Rose
  • L’Arnaud 2005, Rose
  • Les Vignobles Choisis 2004, Cotes de Provence

We also ate a number of cheeses:

  • Le bleu des Basques
  • Saint Nectaire
  • Pyrenees Montsegur
  • Brie
  • Dry chevre, don’t remember the name

We came back with some nice goodies:

Two Provencal salt mixes, walnut oil and Basque paprika

Calissons (we also bought dark chocolate covered), olives (didn’t eat them there) and chestnut honey

Creme de Prune and Creme de Lemoncello from a lovely shop that I will tell you more about in St. Paul de Vence

Wanted to bring back more wine, but alas we have a limit.

I also bought some beautiful Provencal fabric for three cushions that I am having made as a headboard for our bed.

Next post: The man that put Villeneuve-Loubet on the map.

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