Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving

Saint Paul de Vence, France


The flash floods in Cote d’Azur caused death, damage and destruction. We were very fortunate not to be effected and I felt terrible for the people around us who were badly effected. In the week that we spent in Cagnes Sur Mer the trains did not restart, any bus going east meant a long slow and crowded bus ride to Nice first before changing to another bus and that wasn’t fun. We considered hiring a car but the reviews for Europcar in Cagnes Sur Mer are terrible. As a result some of the day trips that we had intended to take were shelved for another trip.


Our lovely hostess at our favourite local café recommended that we take a day trip to Saint Paul de Vence because the old town is remarkably well preserved and in October it shouldn’t be too over run by tourists.


We waited for 25 minutes for a bus that didn’t come and were close to giving up when a bus finally arrived and took us inland and to the lovely hilltop, walled old town of Saint Paul de Vence.


When we arrived at the bus stop in Saint Paul de Vence we were appalled to see more tourists concentrated together than we’ve seen since Trondheim had the summer cruise ships in town. Instantly my husband and I wished we had gone somewhere else but we pushed through that feeling. We couldn’t quite bring ourselves to walk through the main gate in the town walls and skirted around the outside instead on a whim.


We discovered nice views of the surrounding countryside and orchards and vineyards planted in the slope below the town walls. I imagined life under siege in medieval times. How hard that would be!


There was lots of dog poo outside the walls and I suppose that it’s the most obvious place to walk a dog for people living inside the walls. We found a small playground and we found it tranquil outside the town. Eventually we walked inside the walls and rejoined the tourists.


We climbed onto the walls and walked apart from the other tourists, inspecting the arrow slots in the walls.


We headed into the old town and as we set munching nuts we watched 3 cars and a van impatiently navigate the only laneway into the town.


Hunger drove us into the throng and we were surprised and pleased to find a cafe with decent prices and gluten free crepes so we sat in a covered alleyway and had a nice meal. Our children had a great time exploring the alleyways. I sent them on a mission to separately explore in different directions (to prevent squabbling) and bring back 3 pieces of information. They applied themselves very well to this challenge and enjoyed the freedom to explore without supervision or worrying about vehicles.


We enjoyed our visit and on the way to the bus our children had fun sitting on the cannon mounted near the main gate. A Chinese woman took photos of them there and I wonder if they ended up on a social media site.


On the bus home my son and I were chatting about some of our travels when the women in front of us started a conversation with us. They are from Texas and every year they select a location they can travel to with a maximum of two flights and set off together to explore the world as a comfortable mother and daughter pair. I hope that I can get along that well with my daughter when she’s an adult. More to come in the next post about our time in Cote d’Azur…


2 comments on “Saint Paul de Vence, France

  1. Cathy746books
    October 19, 2015

    I visited Saint Paul de Vence as a child while on holiday with my parents! Your post bought back some lovely memories, thanks!

    • strivetoengage
      October 19, 2015

      Wow, I wonder what changes have occurred since you were there!

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This entry was posted on October 19, 2015 by in Europe and tagged , , , , , , .
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