On Monday, July 18, we deviated from our normal mode of getting around by bus and train in that we rented a car for a four-day Provence driving trip. We wanted to visit several inland towns that were logistically easier to reach than via the train. The places we were targeting were Saint Paul de Vence, Aix-en-Provence, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, the Pont-de-Gard, Vaison-la-Romaine and Roussillon.
Rich, Dawn, Jill and Henry Warner picked up the rental car adjacent to the Nice train station and headed out for our first stop. Saint Paul de Vence is west of Nice about 25 KM. However, the route to get there is a bit tortuous through small towns and over winding roads. Approaching Saint Paul de Vence from the south, one is treated to a view of the walled, medieval city looming over the countryside.
Medieval charm is virtually oozing from nearly every location within the walled city. Saint Paul de Vence is almost too cute. Obviously a lot of other visitors to France feel the same way, as Saint Paul de Vence is advertised as the third most visited location in France after Mont-St-Michel and Versailles. We were warned by Rick Steves that it is best to avoid Saint Paul de Vence during mid-day, but the particular day we visited (Monday afternoon) the crowds were really not too bad. Even though you can expect to encounter a healthy number of tourists, that should not be a reason to skip a visit. While Saint Paul de Vence is now home to many museums, galleries, gift shops and restaurants, one can easily imagine what it must have been like to walk the city’s streets hundreds of years ago.