Vence - your base for Holidaying in the South of France Provence, Côte d'Azur | French Riviera and Alpes Maritimes

The South of France

The south of France or le Midi very roughly coincides with the medieval division of France into Langue d’Oc (the language of the south) and the Langue d’Oïl (the language of the north) - all based it seems on how one said “Yes” in one’s respective parts of the country. There was a third language division, but that’s far too much detail.

More commonly these days The South of France is said to start at Valence and takes in the regions of

(southern) Poitou-Charentes
(southern) Rhône-Alpes (the Southern parts)

and of course, the region we are most interested in as far as your next holiday is concerned

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Some of the most historic and beautiful towns and villages of Provence, Côte d'Azur | French Riviera and Alpes Maritimes are within such easy reach of Vence.

The thing is, when you holiday with us in Vence, you can so easily reach some of the best holiday spots in the South of France - or Europe for that matter.

Celebrities and the glitterati have been living and holidaying in Provence and the Côte d'Azur (French Riviera) region of the south of France since the 1920s, creating past and current A-list magnets of towns such as Nice, Cannes, Monaco and St Tropez.

The traveller with artistic, literary, historical and cultural interests rather than celebrity-watching will be more inclined to spent their holiday exploring towns such as Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Avignon and Marseille and regions such as the Luberon with its famous hill-top villages - Isle sur Sorgue, Gordes, Bonnieux, Menerbes, Roussillon.

Vence is the ideal hub from which to explore Provence: the ancient city itself, the numerous picturesque towns and charming villages of the Alpes-Maritimes, and the scenic splendour of the Riviera's sparkling jewel, the Côte d'Azur and hinterland.

When you holiday with us in Vence, so much of the culture, history, art, literature and glamour of the South of France, Provence and the French Riviera are within just an hour or so by car.

And many of the most appealing villages and towns are accessible by public transport.

That’s why we call ourselves Provence Passport.

If you find yourself in Nice, Vence is only half an hour or so away by car.

From your charming self-contained holiday apartment in “The Gatehouse in the walls of the ancient city you can explore the “City of the Arts” itself.

Then you’re off to the nearby towns and villages such as: Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Gourdon, Grasse, La Gaude and St Paul de Vence - we love St Paul de Vence, but it’s so touristy that’s it’s very much a place to visit but not to holiday,

And day trips will take in the French Riviera | Côte d'Azur

So a week or more with us in Vence, then back to the coast to continue your holiday through the South of France and on to Barcelona.

Doesn’t get any better.

Haut de Cagnes


Ten km south of Vence The Musee Renoir, on Route des Collettes east of Haut-de-Cagnes, is the house Pierre-Auguste Renoir moved to in 1908 at the of 67, in the hope that the Mediterranean climate would enable him to keep painting

Despite his crippling arthritis, Renoir's final twelve years here turned out to be among his most productive

The Musee Renoir stands amidst a garden of flowers (Irises in particular), lemon, orange and olive trees

The museum is closed Tuesdays and from October 15 to November 15. The old town of Haut-de-Cagnes is also well worth visiting, particularly the Grimaldi Chateau and Museum.



The cliff-side village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup, five kilometres west of Vence, became a virtual ghost town after World War Two, but was brought back to life by the artisans who settled here.

It is now one of the leading handicrafts villages of The Côte d'Azur and well renowned for its mixture of quality and ambience.

The countryside around Tourrettes is a major producer of violets and, during the Fête des Violettes in March, all the houses are decked with the flowers.

St Paul de Vence


Mediæval walled village four km south of Vence. Ramparts dating back 16th Century.

The Colombe d'Or, opposite the main portal of the village, has one of the finest personal art collections in France, with works by Bonnard, Picasso, Matisse and Dufy, that owner Paul Roux amassed as payment of artists' hotel and restaurant bills.

You can see it for the price of a meal.

Foundation Maeght was built in 1960 to house the collection of Aime and Marguerite Maeght, modem art dealers.

Sculptures by Calder, Arp and Miro adorn the lawns leading to the entrance.

Inside the pavilion are paintings by Bonnard, Matisse, Chagall, Braque, Leger, Kandinsky and De Stael.

The museum is open daily but closed at lunchtime off-season.


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Forty km from Vence, this old Saracen stronghold sits on a rocky spur 500m above the gorges of the Loup Rlver and offers a vast panorama of the valley, the coast and the mountains.

The major tourist attraction is the thirteenth century Château, built on the foundations of the original Saracen fortress, the architectural features of which have been retained.

There is an Historical Museum on the ground floor with a disturbing collection of ancient weapons and a prison with a torture table.

Seven rooms on the second floor contain the Museum of Naive Painting, with a fine collection of naive art by international artists from the period 1925-1970.

The Chateau has three levels of terraced gardens by Le Notre, the designer of Versailles's gardens, and from the top level you get the same grand panorama as from the square by the church.

Lightbox photo credits

Cannes - by Eugeniy L, CC BY 3.0,

Monaco Casino - CC BY-SA 3.0,

St Tropez - by Paolo Schubert [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Nice - By Miccaela - Own work, CC BY 3.0,

Image by Trude55 from Pixabay