Writing a review - St Paul de Vence

This time last week I was in the south of France. I stayed in a hotel near St Paul de Vence, in the hills surrounding Nice. On Saturday I had a lovely lunch in a famous restaurant in the village.

Just out of interest, I checked out reviews on Tripadvisor.


St Paul de Vence

Charming Hill Top Village”
 ***** Reviewed 4 weeks ago 

The small hilltop village of St-Paul-De-Vence apparently had a quiet and largely uneventful history, until Pablo Picasso took up residence in the 1920s and helped transform it into an artists’ village. Today there are numerous galleries and studios with working artists throughout the narrow alleyways, interspersed with cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops and clothing stores.

There are about 300 permanent residents and what seemed like 300,000 visitors each day in summer, or that’s what it seems like in the crowded alleyways and carparks. It is a popular day trip for people staying on the coast in summer. Arrive early to find a parking space close to the village and before the hordes arrive. Worth the later hustle and bustle.

 “Beautiful”
 ***** Reviewed 26 January 2017

St Paul de Vence is very touristy but this isn't a surprise as it's such a gorgeous village high on a hill top. We caught a bus from Nice which took approximately one hour and deposited us just out the old walls of St Paul de Vence. Maps aren't necessary as the village is so compact it's impossible to get lost. We walked around the walls as far as possible and found an empty seat where we gazed over the surrounding hills and villages towards the sea in the south. The artsy shops are extremely tempting and it was difficult to curb the urge to buy at least one unique-looking souvenir. Wonderful smells waft out of restaurants tucked into little side alleys and there is at least one luxury hotel that would be an ideal location for a romantic weekend. Perfect weather - warm with a cloudless sky - topped off a memorable day during our holiday in Nice.

 “Far too touristy ”
 **     Reviewed 17 July 2016

 I have visited St Paul de Vence a few times over the decades. In my view it is now drowning in its own beauty. Too many large tour groups, cheap souvenir shops, and average restaurants full of tourists. Any chance of experiencing its true attractiveness as a medieval town needs to be planned for very early in the morning or late in the evening.

 Disappointingly commercialized”
 **     Reviewed 13 August 2015

We had visited Saint Paul several times in the past and enjoyed walking the same streets as the locals and artists of the 20th century. How disturbing to see the streets chock full of shops catering only to tourists and galleries full of kitsch paintings typical of any tourist venue. The jeu de boules park, once populated with enthusiastic boules players of all ages, is now the location of a fast food truck. Not a single local resident to see, only tourists and shop workers. The only plus was the visit to the chapel with Folons mosaics and paintings, and that is worth the trip. The little historical museum next door is also expertly done, showing the history of the village.



Hotel Les Vergers

“A perfect place for anyone who wants to tour around the French Riviera without moving from on place to another”
***** Reviewed 7 April 2015

This is a lovely hotel, perfectly located in the center of all tourist attractions of the region (assuming, of course, that you have a car). It is a family hotel, with a very kind and hospitable staff, aesthetically designed rooms, beautiful views of the green hills, a pleasant swimming pool (although it was too cold to bathe when we visited the place). Unlike many hotel photos, those you see in the webpage of the hotel do full justice to the atmosphere and beauty of the place. It is good value for money. It is within walking distance of the wonderful village of St Paul de Vence, but since it is not in the village itself (which is very touristy), the hotel is quiet and pastoral. We spent seven nights there and used it as the perfect base for our trips to all the interesting sites from Menton in the East to Cannes in the West.



La Colombe d'Or

“Sunday Lunch”
**    Reviewed 24 July 2016

My parents live locally and love this restaurant visiting fairly regularly with friends... Personally I find it highly overpriced, the food is frankly underwhelming at best and half the staff have an air of contempt or fear!

I find it utterly charmless and in my opinion certainly not worth a visit.....unless you are the type to get excited by celebrities at the next table... The only good points are the location and the artwork on display...


“Old world charm” 
***** Reviewed 18 July 2016

Other reviewers say it never changes - it doesn't because it doesn't need to. It's simple, good French food with good service. Lovely setting and tranquil surroundings. It's not the cheapest but won't break the bank either. You'll likely need to book well in advance though such is its popularity.





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Comments

Anonymous said…
Hotel Residenza Cannaregio, Venice Italy.
Good hotel off the beaten track. I spent three nights there in early April with my wife and my kids. We chose the hotel due the price of the room and because it was near the centre of the city but not in the hustle and bustle. Easy to find from the vaporetto boat station.
The reception is large and the staff very friendly. It has a peaceful courtyard in the middle of the hotel. Our room for four people was a junior suite distributed in two floors. Clean but a little bit dark. On the overall it was a nice room with wood beams on the ceiling and a window overlooking the canal.
One of the tips is the breakfast, good range of different products and a superb coffee machine. Once you get the hang on it you will not stop having cappuccinos. Kids love the chance of moving around selecting their meal and pressing the buttons for the juice and my coffee.
Other of facilities of the place is the back wharf, where the taxi boats can drop in customers directly from the airport to the reception. Although far more expensive than the water bus it could be an excellent option if the departing day is pouring and you don´t have waterproof garments, as it was my case. Besides, the kids were delighted with the ride.
The hotel is located in a peaceful neighbourhood surrounded by narrow alleys between the canals. Numbers bridges connect the blocks. It is a forty minutes walk from the San Marcos Square or twenty if you take the bus boat. I found it pleasant strolling around watching the small boats doing their chores or supplying the corner shops and restaurants. There were even some barges selling fruits and vegetables.
If you are looking for a quiet place, not far from the centre and you enjoy discovering unique spots this hotel is a good value money.

Daniel
Graham said…
Hi Daniel,

Apologies for not replying sooner. I have fallen way behind with the blog but I always get round to correcting comments sooner or later.


Good hotel off the beaten track. I spent three nights there in early April with my wife and my kids. We chose the hotel due to / because of the price of the room and because it was near the centre of the city but away from the hustle and bustle. Easy to find from the vaporetto boat station.
The reception is large and the staff very friendly. It has a peaceful courtyard in the middle of the hotel. Our room for four people was a junior suite divided into two floors. Clean but a little bit dark. Overall, it was a nice room with wooden beams on the ceiling and a window overlooking the canal.
One of the highlights is the breakfast, good range of different products and a superb coffee machine. Once you get the hang of it, you will not stop having cappuccinos. Kids love the chance of moving around selecting their meal and pressing the buttons for the juice and my coffee.
Another of the facilities of the place is the back quay, where the taxi boats can drop off customers directly from the airport at the reception. Although far more expensive than the water bus it could be an excellent option if on the day of departure it is pouring and you don´t have any waterproof clothing, as was my case. Besides, the kids were delighted with the ride.
The hotel is located in a peaceful neighbourhood surrounded by narrow alleys between the canals. Numbers bridges connect the blocks. ??? It is a forty minutes walk from the San Marcos Square or twenty if you take the bus boat. I found it pleasant strolling around watching the small boats doing their chores or supplying the corner shops and restaurants. There were even some barges selling fruit and vegetables.
If you are looking for a quiet place, not far from the centre and you enjoy discovering unique spots this hotel is good value for money.


A nice review. Better than many of them you find on Trip Advisor - even those written by native English speakers.