Vence, a historic city, an artistic city…

Situé à environ 20 km de Nice, Located about 20 km from Nice, between sea and mountains, overlooked by the Vence Pass, Vence, city of 19479 inhabitants, is part of what is called the middle country. These limestone mountains, the « baous », give the region a very rugged terrain.

Vence combines the charms of a historic city with the softness of an exceptional microclimate. Dufy, Matisse, Chagall, Dubuffet, Carzou, Arman, D.H Laurence are not deceived … indeed Vence was a privileged place for many artists. Henri Matisse, to whom we owe the only chapel of the Rosary, says of Vence where it is: “this morning, me walking in front of me, seeing all these girls, women and men running by bicycle towards the market, I thought myself in Tahiti. ”

Behind so many charms, a long history: clues of occupation dating back to the earliest times. Some caves of the baous seem to have been occupied in the Paleolithic and Neolithic. Some of them seem to have served as sheepfolds or shepherds’ shelters during the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. They are also frequented during Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the modern era. The ancient Roman city of Vintium, long bishopric and lordship of Villeneuve, still retains much of its heritage.

From its Ligurian past, Vence has preserved the “Columns of the Marseillais”, vestiges of a Roman triumphal arch.

Later, in the Middle Ages, the city was surrounded by ramparts, of which there are still beautiful portions, that can be crossed by the Tower door of Signadour or by the drawbridge (dating both of the 13th century), by the door of Peyra (15th century) or the door of the Breche (18th century).

Once entered the city, one can wander through a maze of narrow cobbled streets, pass under vaults, admire the Peyra Renaissance square and its famous fountain so many times photographed (1822) … admire the Gothic house of Godeau square, and on the place Thiers, the ash tree planted in memory of the visit of François 1st … in 1538!

The Romanesque cathedral (11th century), adjoining the Saint Lambert Tower (12th), houses stalls carved by Jacotin Bellot, fusier in Grasse (15th), a beautiful altarpiece from the 16th, a unique set of polychrome wooden statues of the 17th, a mosaic of Marc Chagall (“Moses saved from the waters”) and a sarcophagus of Saint-Véran dated … 5th century!

You can then enjoy a well deserved rest by eating on the terrace of one of the many small restaurants scattered on the pretty little squares that old Vence has.

On peut ensuite visiter le Château des Villeneuve, transformé en musée, où ont lieu des expositions d’art contemporain et plus loin, la Chapelle des Pénitents blancs, superbe avec sa coupole à tuiles vernissées et clocher Renaissance.

On ne se promené pas dans Vence l’été sans se désaltérer à une des 24 Fontaines de la Foux, d’où coule, depuis l’époque médiévale (1431), une eau minérale naturelle d’une grande pureté.

With its blessed microclimate of the Gods, its hills of olive and citrus, white and green oaks, Aleppo pines, its lush gardens scented with rosemary and lavender, its majestic baous and its Col de Vence where you breathe so pure air, Vence has more than one asset to seduce you.