If IT'S TUESDAY: St Paul de Vence


If it's Tuesday: [on a saturday]
This must be St Paul de Vence

Once again I am on the 1993 'tour of the tourist' and today we find ourselves in a small medieval village in Provence. Arriving by coach, the first glimpse of the village is taken from the road. A miniature village adorning the top of a small hill and surrounded by ramparts. A gateau of stone and mortar, with the mythical church tower for a candle. Is this real? Being prior to the release of that now famous movie Chocolat, this sight was something I had only heard of.. wondrous but somewhat surreal. It became more so, walking past the square leading to the village, elderly gentlemen quietly playing boules under the dappled afternoon light, the chatter of 50 odd tourists breaking an almost other worldly silence. I can still remember this vision.. [but can't find the photo] and wondered if this was a staged event.. 'quick the bus is here, get out the boules'.. haha no only joking.. pretty sure it was part and parcel of this gentle lifestyle.



St Paul de Vence is a 'perched village' built in the 9th century, high upon a hill to provide safety from the barbarian invasions of that period. Like most medieval towns, the architecture is a patchwork of styles introduced by various occupations during its long history. The surrounding ramparts were built during the renaissance, removed by the military, then bought back by the townspeople in 1872. Upon arrival this was the first glimpse of what is now an indelible memory. That rare moment when expectation meets reality and says .. 'My friend .. today we will concur'
View on Approach



After the initial excitement there were more wonders to be found
In the 1920's the village was an artist's haven. The coveted light and village atmosphere attracted the likes of Renoir, Matisse and Chagall. Still to this day, many artists and craftsman vend their wares from impressively beautiful shops lining the alleyways of the village. I know .. I spent both time and money in a few.. some new baubles and jewels to adorn thee, but as my time was limited I was keen to see the rest of the village..



Every corner revealed some new delight ...
An ancient fountain that brought life giving water to the village ancestors. Washing drying from an upstairs window became an artform with it's pretty pastels and checkered cloth. Even the downpipes seemed to drip with artistic beauty. Small private residences happy to display their shuttered windows and lace curtains. The happy pet contingent proudly posing on the cool stone steps leading to their homes. My fascination with front doors was not lost this day... Grand heavy timber, painted in delightful hues of nature or left natural and weathered by time and the master's hand in his daily comings and goings. On this hot August day I imagined stepping inside to escape the heat and be greeted by my newly imagined family. The smell of a slow cooking cassoulet would greet me as I stepped into the ample kitchen, table laid with checkered cloth and weathered silver, fresh baked bread waiting to be devoured by moi!


But of course I didn't and continued weaving my way through the cobbled streets and alleys, occasionally greeted by unexpected vistas of the surrounding countryside, that popped up from the end of an archway looking more like a backdrop from a movie set.. and always when you thought you were heading the other way.... I could get lost in a village like this.. lost in time and imagination.


These were the quintessential images of a medieval village [at least to this first time tourist]. I feel almost silly writing this post as I know some of my readers live in France and probably know better if this village is an accurate reflection or just geared to the tourists.. but at the time that wasn't really important to me.. It was my first medieval village and I was suitably impressed!!

Sadly it is time to leave and climb back onto a bus of smelly tired tourists. I want to stay for nightfall and envisage warm glowing lights from shopfronts and villas beckoning me home for the evening. As I leave, I think Le Chat Noir and her friend Monsieur Chien have a charmed life ... don't you?



Mademoiselle Francais thinks so too as she sadly looks back for a last goodbye..

Thank you once again for your lovely comments this week..
They certainly add colour to my life
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend


Julie b


IMAGE SOURCE: Photography, text and photo editing by me - [Being Ruby]



Jg. for FatScribe said...

Another great post! Great wknd to you as well, Julie! - Jg.

Dash said...

Oh Julie, what a treat for a Saturday morning, your description of St Paul de Vence, was lovely and accompanied by beautiful photo's, I have never been to St Paul de Vence, but I have always wanted to go and stay at the Column D'or (wallet permitting).

This post took me back to a visit in Menerbes, which is another, beautiful, medieval village in Provence, in fact as I sit here, typing and sipping my tea, I feel like getting ready, jumping in the car, and driving over there, right now, after all it's only a seven hour drive.

I am thrilled to see Mademoiselle française, has started her travels, I hope she has a lovely time, I can't wait to see where she goes next.

oldgreymare said...


Was just shutting down for the night, when I noticed you had posted. What a gift for me. Now, these images become fertile ground for wonderful nighttime travels. I will stroll the narrow cobbled paths and if I'm lucky, I shall turn a corner and "bump" into a gentleman who wishes to share espresso at a lovely cafe...one can dream.....


PeterParis said...

A fantastic post about a wonderful village - especially when fewer tourists around, like now!

Exquisite Accessories said...

Oh Julie you should write a book, that was beatifull the cobbled street has so much character, love the picks have you thought about making some blank cards & selling them? They are so gorgeous. Elaine :)

Jane said...

I have never been there and that perched village style to me is actually very Italian. I have had some hairy times in Provence, especially in Aix En Provence. I think there are a lot of gangsters in that town, at least in the flats outside the old bit.

Anyway, looking on the bright side one of the great things to do in those towns is find a bar, stay up all night and walk the streets home just as the patisseries are opening up and the smell of the brioche etc wafts along after you.

I feel quite transported.


e said...

Oh those 'first glimpses'...aren't they the best! Your tale and photos remind me of my first trip to Spain. Very similar experiences there. Thank you for rekindling those memories for me, Julie. Wonderful post. Have a great weekend, lass. :) Lizzy

KarenB said...

Oh my! I was there several years ago. Long before blogging and digital cameras. It was SO BEAUTIFUL! You took me back for such a lovely visit! Thank you!

La Petite Gallery said...

I was in la la land looking at and reading your post. . I've got to break out of here. Got Cabin fever. HAHA,, Beautiful post. yvonne

Tamerie Shriver Halliday said...

I can always count on your photographs to be so beautiful and to take me back to a time long ago. Not to mention make me want to go back to
Europe. There really is noting here that looks remotely like anything there. Once again, thanks for sharing your shots! Lovely, lovely!


Pooch Purple Reign said...

i love this. my mom wants to travel south of france soon... i hope.
there is always someone who can describe a more "authentic" reality, but it is for us to define our own experiences.
i questioned writing about st pats day, but the truth is, canada is a melting pot of cultures and i have been to ireland, and both are awesome.
my experiences are just that....
have a great weekend

Fabulously French said...

Fabulous post, St Paul de Vence is one of my favourite villages as we have friends that have a house a few minutes drive from the village.

I am fortunate enough to have been to La Colombe d'Or a few times and have to say that it is one of my favourite places in France.

Bon weekend a toi,


myletterstoemily said...

hi julie!

never mind those lucky enough to live
there, WE love your tours and gorgeous

. . . and funny, witty remarks.


rjerdee said...

You are just too adorable for words, little storyteller! So glad you can travel with Madamoiselle Francaise...surely she gives you a less objective view of what you've seen! Drag out some of your travel photos, please. My photos of France are few and far between...

Luiza said...

I say: Wow!!! This village seems fantastic!
I love the cat & dog images... I love animals!

Hope you´re having a wonderful weekend!

Les Cotrions said...

Hello Julie! St. Paule de Vence is an enchanting village! It's one of my favourite place in that area! I adore south of France and I escape there every time I can...it's only 3 hour driving from Lucca!
Thank for this nice trip!
Happy Sunday!

alice said...

I know will be sick of hearing this..........but I love your vision and posts. You are a beautiful writer and picture taker! Really your photography is exquisite and a wordsmith at its finest. Thank you!
smiles, alice

Anne Marie said...

you and Jackie.......wow.......both of you can really pump out those posts! with such flair and poetry......

have a great rest of the weekend.....
anne marie

Dumbwit Tellher said...

There is a lot of fabulous photography out but seriously Julie yours is unreal. I was just in awe as I was trying to soak it all in. This village is so mysterious and has such beauty. A coffee table book of your photography would be such a fabulous thing. The cat & the dog, priceless! Happy new week to you and hope all is very well? Thanks for the joy! xx

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Dear Julie,
Si. Paul de Vence is indeed beautiful. A mirror image of many small villages in France. It always seems that time has stood still and it has remained the same for many years.
Such an easy going way of life, without the trappings of materialistic values or fast food !! Mon Dieu !! Heaven forbid !!
I'm so glad that Mademoiselle Francais was with you. She must have had plenty to reminisce about !!
Your photographs are wonderful and so atmospheric, giving us a taste of this delightful area of France. C'est tres jolie ! XXXX

count it all joy said...

Julie...seriously, when is Being Ruby the book coming out? I'm thinking if you start now, Christmas 2010 could be possible and I'll have all my Christmas shopping sorted. It's all about me, you see :) Perhaps Vicki Archer can hook you up?

Hope you've had a fantastic weekend in this glorious (albeit humid) Sydney weather....or are you in a darkened room addicted to Photoshop? Nevertheless, whatever it is you are doing, I hope you're having a marvellous time and drinking plenty of really good coffee. Meredy xo.

Renée Finberg said...

boy, i would love to be there in the 1920's.
it must have been something.

i can surely dream.

Ange said...

I'm with Pooch Julie, it's your experience that defines a place. Although I'm pretty sure that no place in France (with maybe the exception of Euro Disney) gears things for the tourists' perception. You may perhaps have had the chance to get your tastebuds around an aïoli or an anchoïade though as well! St Paul de Vence, like all of the other perched villages in France (I got married in Lurs which is in the Luberon and just gorgeous), is truly stunning and after 15 years here, inspite of my grumbles about attitudes and administration, the beauty of these villages never wanes. The old men are still out playing boules. The women sit on seats in front of their houses and natter, life still goes on for hours around the preparation of food. If you came back - you'd love it just as much. Bring Mlle Francais with you when you come. xx

Carole said...

This is better then a romantic movie set in Europe. Well maybe because you are the star in the movie. Not only is the text rich but the images are superb. You just never stop surprising me.

C.J. said...

Julie, Julie, Julie, you did it again! Love you.

Tish Jett said...

Yes it is so, so beautiful and you have managed to give a new delight at every turn with your art's eye and beautiful photography.

Have I told you how beautifully I think you write? If not, I meant to.


love lives in the kitchen said...

i went to san paul de vence last summer... what a lovely place! i miss it alot and would love to spend some more time there.
have a sweet sunday,

Jennifer Beaudet said...

Hi Julie! After reading your post I feel like I've actually been there. You have such a wonderful way with words! Keep 'em coming! Not to mention how beautiful your photography is! Thanks for your comments about our exciting news! You're right, I'm starting my planning and researching. It looks like I'm going to be back at the beach! Jennifer:)

desde my ventana said...

Hi Julie,
I do not know this precious place, but after your wonderful post I want to know it.
I wish you a great week Julie,

Jeanne Henriques said...

A charmed life indeed Julie! You have managed to show us all the hidden delights of this wonderful town. What a special trip for you! Is that Mademoiselle Francais I see tucked in the corner there?? Wonderful images! Hope Photoshop is going well for you ;)


Elaine said...

Your photos remind me that I need to go back to France! Lovely medieval village. The texture of the stone is amazing.

And I love the reference to Chocolat, one of my very favorite movies. I am going to have to watch it again this week since it has an Easter theme.

simon said...

is it me or are these places more relaxed than the way we live? Just looking at the photos invokes that feeling

Millie said...

Another wonderful wander through unexplored gems Julie. I could almost feel the cobblestones under my feet. Did get a bit hungry though, so needed a quick detour for 'refreshments'!
Millie ^_^

Angie Muresan said...

Julie you really should consider writing a travel/photo coffee table book. You really tell the most fascinating tales with photos to match.

Greet Lefèvre said...

St Paul de Vence is a wonderful place to visit! I love the art galleries, the houses, the cafés!! And the vieuw from above!! I have so many pictures of it because everytime we travel to the south of France I want to go to visit St Paul de Vence!

Unknown said...

What a beautiful post of my all time favorite vacation destination. I went to Italy on a 14 day tour over two years ago and still dream of how beautiful it was. Happy Spring from Houston, TX!

julie said...

Hi Julie, your work absolutely takes my breath. I am serious, do you sell your photos??? The fountain is tdf...julie

C.J. said...

Julie, hi, its CJ, you can put up a chandelier even if you rent. Just take it down and with you when you leave, never stop doing anything because you rent. Except for painting, you can ask, but my theory on life is that I would rather ask for forgiveness than beg for permission. lol

beachvintage.com said...

Hi Julie, Looks like somewhere I could spend a lot of time....Thanks so much for your sweet comments yesterday.

Giulia said...

Julie--I finally got here...sorry so late. Ah, one of my very favorite places. Many writers also (as well as painters)love St.PdeV. I have a poem somewhere, that if you're very very naughty, shall be inflicted on you & yours. The photographs are very true to the atmosphere of this place...more than most I've seen, actually. Well done, as always.

xoxo Susan & la chatte

Sue said...

I really needed a moment to escape tonight. That photo with the laundry really captured me...I can almost imagine standing there. It was a nice escape from the hotel room I'm in right now. I will be with my mom tomorrow. She is still in the hospital...this isn't an easy time. Thank you for the moment.


Francine Gardner said...

My cousin has the most wonderful restaurant in Vence, Le Vieux couvent...I go and visit him every year, and never tire of the beauty of Saint Paul. As for me, I am yet to visit Australia...soon..I hope

Viera said...

Julie, I love the moody colours on your pictures. Great.!

Lee said...

Your beautiful photographs and thoughtful words transported me for a moment to the beautiful St Paul de Vence. Thank you Julie!

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Hi Julie...I feel like I have just walked these cobblestones with you, and of course Mademoiselle Francais...Thanks for the tour...just stunning!!!

Anonymous said...

I think Julie has surpassed her Rubyesque dreams.
Hello? Is there a publisher in the room? These photos & words are book-glory ready!!!

Beatnheart said...

Glorious photograpy and imaginative storyteller..You got quite an active mind girl !!

Mise said...

These are beautiful images, Julie, that make me long to get out of here right now. Mademoiselle Francais would shake her head, non!, at my stay at home ways lately. Maybe I'll start packing up the children and getting on the move again. The more I read your posts, the more I want to.

Kilauea Poetry said...

I enjoyed all the words you've painted and I agree..what the heck it is what you felt. I'd like a glass of wine right now! ha..The cobblestone village and colors are lovley- thanks for the little tour!
Regards, Regina-