Wander round Vence
This hilltop village is popular with visitors due to its largely intact city walls. It's lovely to stroll around the medieval centre, browse the boutiques and stop for a coffee or lunch in one of the many restaurants. It is also famous for its spring water, which can be collected from numerous fountains in the town. The cathedral was built in the 4th century on the site of a Roman temple, and a mosaic by Marc Chagall in 1911 is a notable later addition. Modern and contemporary art is on display in the Fondation Emile Hugues housed in the former chateau.
The local market
A market is held every morning in Vence's place du Grand Jardin, the perfect opportunity to buy fresh locally produced ingredients, and on a Wednesday second-hand book and antique dealers also gather to trade. Or head for the old town of Nice where the daily flower market in the charming Cours Saleya square is a real institution and a fragrant sight to behold.
The Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence was designed by renowned artist Henri Matisse and was completed in 1951. Its fairly simple forms and white walls allow the beautiful stained glass windows to take centre stage and vivid yellow, green and blue light streams across the interior. Three large tile murals adorn the walls and the priests' vestments were also designed by Matisse.
St Paul de Vence
This compact walled village is superbly preserved and very popular. It is packed with numerous cafés, boutiques and art galleries, and there is a superb view of the surrounding countryside from atop the walls.
Why not book in for a massage or a pampering day at the small Spa & Beauty Salon in St-Paul, 'Le Mas de Pierre', or in one of the larger thalassotherapy centres along the Cote d'Azur.
‘Fondation Maeght’ Modern Art Museum
Set on the hill just above the village of St-Paul, the museum and its grounds house many interesting paintings, sculptures, mobiles, and mosaics including works by artists such as Bonnard, Braque, Kandinsky, and Chagall.
This museum dedicated to the work of Pierre-Auguste Renoir is only about 10km away in Cagnes-sur-Mer. Once his family home, it had many famous visitors including fellow artists Rodin, Matisse and Modigliani. Extensively renovated in 2013 there are now additional spaces open to visitors and an extended collection of works on display, both sculptures and paintings. Combine with lunch and a stroll in the old hilltop village, Le-Haut-de-Cagnes, with its impressive castle.
are available in Vence.
Water sports and activities
including jetskiing, parasailing and banana boats/rubber rings are at Cagnes-sur-Mer or Villeneuve-Loubet.
Keep the children entertained
Have a fun family day out down on the coast near Antibes, where you can choose from the Espace Marineland marine park, the Aquasplash water park, the Far West theme park and also a mini-golf course. Approx half an hour by car.
Treetop adventure courses
Great fun for kids (and adults!) who enjoy taking on a challenge and being outdoors. ‘Pitchoun Forest’ is a mini course especially geared up for children as young as 3 years old. Along the way there are nature-themed questions to answer and hidden animals to find. At ‘Canyon Forest’ in Villeneuve, older children and adults can tackle a larger scale adventure course. Rope swings, nets, log bridges, zip wires across the river etc!
Relax on the white sandy beach of Juan-les-Pins or explore the the little streets of the Vieux Ville (old town). Here you will discover the impressive cathedral and the Picasso museum, housed in the Chateau Grimaldi. Then follow the coast road around the headland, to admire the fancy yachts in the marina as well as the more humble fishing boats with their nets piled up on the quay.
Glassworks factory and museum
This fascinating museum in Biot, near Antibes, tells about the history of glassmaking there, with the chance to watch master glass-blowers at work. And of course the opportunity to buy a special souvenir or gift to take home.
The Chèvre d'Or gardens
are spread over almost a hectare of land, just outside of Biot. Originally created in 1948, the gardens are Italianate in style with features such as olive and cypress trees, fountains, pebble terraces and mosaics. Colour abounds, in swathes of blue African lilies, wisteria and bougainvillea. Other areas to discover include a wildflower meadow, an Orangerie, and a pond topped with lotus flowers and waterlilies.
One of the most luxurious and prestigious destinations on the Côte d'Azur, Cannes is easily accessible at only 30 minutes drive from St Paul, and offers a wide variety of activities for everyone. It is best known for its fashionable designer boutiques and being home to the famous annual Film Festival, which brings an influx of stars and celebrities every May. However, venture deeper into Cannes' older quarters to discover an area teeming with character, a labyrinth of winding cobbled passageways and tiny streets leading down to the Old Port, whilst enjoying the beautiful Mediterranean climate, dominated by sea, sand and sun.
Day out in Nice
Explore one of the oldest human settlements in Europe taking in the sights of the old quarter, Place Rossetti, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and Place Massena which is the main square of the city. Held in the Cours Saleya, the daily morning Marché des Fleurs is a riot of colour and fragrances. Then why not stay on for a spot of lunch on a terrace restaurant in one of the picturesque squares. Being so close to the Italian border, the pizzas are very good but when in Nice, perhaps only a quintessential Salade Niçoise will do?
Nice to Monaco
Enjoy breathtaking sea views from the winding hill road between Nice and Monaco, stopping at Eze - perhaps the most famous 'village perché' - and the Trophée d'Auguste at La Turbie, where the remains of a roman palace sit atop the hillside above the principality of Monaco.
Have you visited Villa des Artistes?
Click here to suggest a Great Thing you've done nearby ...