21st July 17
I’m so excited to be able to post another travel piece on the blog! I wish with all of my heart that I could just spend my life jetting all over the world to the most exotic places, experience their culture, snapping photos and writing about it all. Maybe one day that’ll be a possibility, but right now my bank account is saying not a chance. Anyway, this week I visited Vence in the South of France, a little town located next to Nice. I wrote a bit about it already¬†here, in my post about what I wore on the holiday, but I wanted to swoon for a minute more about the gorgeous village, so here I am doing just that. Enjoy!

I visited Vence as a grateful addition on my boyfriends family holiday. We stayed in a spacious villa which we ended up spending much of our time at. The villa was completely beautiful – set in the hills of Vence and shrouded in greenery with an ocean view peeping over the horizon in the far distance. Everywhere you looked there was beauty, be that the sparkling blue waters of our own private pool, the cloudless sky or the cascading view of other villas nestled in amongst the trees as far as the eye could see. It was a little piece of heaven which meant that staying in was just as wonderful, if not more, than venturing out.


This villa was our base from which we ventured every now and then, but the real moments of joy happened within its walls. French bread and cheese was eaten, swimming contests were sped through, tournaments of basketball, boulles and water tennis were endured. The sun beat down, the drinks and food flowed and the laughter could not be canned. Our little villa was a happy little home for those few short days.


Possibly one of my favourite parts of our week in Vence was the morning we all clambered into the car and wove down the right side of some winding roads to reach the picturesque little town of St-Paul-de-Vence. This tiny village is nestled at the top of a hill, its winding cobbled streets snaking their way up to a towering church which takes its crowning place at the top of the town. From a distance, St-Paul-de-Vence looks like a village suspended at the top of a mountain of trees, the spires of its namesake church peeping out at the top and glowing in the sun. But from inside, the village has even more character. Every winding path reveals a new little corner to explore and every turn exposes more beauty than the last.


The town was gorgeous and I’m so glad we took the time to visit it. Its narrow streets are lined with art galleries and small boutique shops, all with their doors hung lazily open, waiting for locals and tourists alike to pay a visit. Bursts of colour poke out from every crevice and corner, with flowers blooming through every crack. A bloom wherever the light hits. Nature is persistent in this tiny town and all over the streets you can see it trying to claim the village back. Each rustic brick is draped with vines and leaves, petals and beauty. It is a feat for the eyes.


While in St-Paul-de-Vence, we walked around the pedestrianised streets, snapping photos, walking with our eyes to the sky and taking in all of the views. It’s canopy of trees meant that for a few hours, the beating sun was off of our backs. It felt like we’d stepped into a mystery utopia which was worlds away from the bustling streets of the cities nearby. We took a walk through the church itself and meditated in silence as we passed through the dusty pews. The interior was just as beautiful as its towering outside. Stained glass windows let in scatters of light which fell delicately in the corners that the rows of carefully lit candles didn’t illuminate. Again, this place felt like magic.


At the end of our walk around the town, we settled on a wide wall overlooking a trickling blue fountain at the base of the town. Smiling tourists passed by below our dangling legs, dipping their hands in the waters of the fountain and cleansing themselves of the world we’d left outside. We sat and ate chocolate covered crepes and waffles which we’d ordered in French from a tiny tourist trap on the corner. The sun beat down. The light breeze tousled with the heat and we sat, watched and ate. Everything felt good. Everything was good.


The next snapshot of Vence takes place in the main town itself. On one of our nights, we decided to leave the cooking utensils stored safely in their cupboards and head to the centre of the bustling town to see what the nightlife of Vence had to offer. We set out to the centre as Bastille Day celebrations were just beginning, so the town was alive with the kind of excited buzz that only a national holiday can bring. Again, tourists and locals were mingling freely, excitedly bustling past one another under a canopy of blue skies and french flags. The town was busy and people were sprawled out everywhere, some drinking wine at tables delicately placed on street corners, others stood snapping photos as street performers practised their trade. The air was alive with mingling languages and the sounds of music spilling out of restaurants.


As the streets got busier and busier, we made our way to a restaurant close to the centre of the town which had been recommended to us by the owner of our Airbnb. We were seated on the street, under a large canopy of leaves and fabrics, at a table with optimum people watching potential. As we sat, people continued to wander past, all of them seemingly headed to the same spot just up the road from our table, where loud and joyful music could be heard blasting out of temporary speakers. As we ate, a three-man-band, with an assortment of percussion instruments belted to their bodies and each with strings in hand, walked by and began to play for us. Their music was soulful and sweet and meshed with the warm air as it washed over our table.


My favourite thing about the French is their love for food. Plate by plate, we were brought course after course of the most wonderful dishes. The table was never left empty and the bread bowl was never allowed to be left bare. Our waiters and waitresses pulled out all of the stops, supplying us with soups, fish, bread and wine, filling us to the brim before our main courses had even arrived. The main event itself lived up to all expectations too, and the table fell silent as we tasted the delights that this tiny town in the South of France had to offer.


Before leaving Vence for the comforts of our villa, our curiosity got the better of us and we let our ears lead our feet as we followed the increasingly excitable sounds exploding from the towns centre. Lit up by strings of dangling fairy lights, a square opened up in front of our eyes with a French woman stood upon a small stage, microphone in hand. She was belting out fast and furious symphonies and the crowds that gathered at her feet were dancing upon her melody. Two by two, couples were joining the floor and dancing to each others beats. It was a sight to behold and we were quick to join in with the dancing ourselves, allowing our two-stepping feet to take control. It was the perfect end to a blissful evening.


Vence is a beautiful town and if you’re ever in the South of France and want a break from the bustling nature of the cities, I’d definitely recommend a visit! I know I’ll be returning some day for it’s quaint views and bursting atmosphere. Until next time, Sud de la France.