Richard Madeley’s Vence:  Vence is a down-to-earth market town and, for me, the first authentically French town you come across along the coast

By Lisa Pollen
The Telegraph, 6 OCTOBER 2014


Antibes By Gilbert Bochenek


Vence by Myrabella / Wikimedia

Vence is a commune set in the hills of the  Alpes Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern  France between  Nice and  Antibes.

The area is ideal for walking and cycling. Take a walk through woodland to St Paul de Vence and browse the art galleries and crafts workshops. Watch the locals play boule whilst relaxing with a coffee or a refreshing glass of Provence rose.

Or walk to Tourrettes sur Loup, the capital of the violet, which has a wonderful view over the valley.

Drive to one of the many beaches within easy reach of the villa or stay inland and visit Grasse with its world-famous Perfumeries.

Cagnes-sur-Mer is the closest beach to the villa and is a 20-minute drive

Good to know

  • The south of France has always been a haven for artists
  • Travel here and you’ll find the studios of Matisse, Chagall, Picasso, Dufy and many more
  • The Colombe d’Or restaurant with its magnificent terrace is a short drive from the villa or
  • A 40-minute walk through lovely French woodland 

About the neighbourhood

Vence is France’s town of art near the French Riviera. This might sound like a big claim in a country so soaked in art history, especially 20th-century art, but the lovely historic town on Vence in the South of France between Nice and Antibes has been a magnet for artists who left their legacy in both spirit and art.
The town has a small chapel, up above the Cité Historique Chapelle du Rosaire (1948, completed in 1951), decorated with stained glass and other fittings by Henri Matisse.
Vence is also famous for its spring water, which can be collected from numerous fountains in the town. it is a heaven for cyclist, spectacular outlook over the Cote D’Azur, with many charming villages to visit for lunch or dinner. 
Vence has many superb restaurants and lovely small shops, bakeries, cafes, absolutely charming! (also several large supermarkets, just outside). Easy parking both in town and Villa.