Contemporary days
  Different names for Saint Paul


" One day, our forefathers could see off-loading in some harbour of the coastal region a man of brittle and unhealthy appearance, but in lively and sharp look where shone a big ardour of proselytizing. He was spoken about an unknown God, the only truth, whose religion he was going to preach in Spain. It was the apostle Paul whose name will indicate our city later become christian.. "

Jeanne Faure

The most ancient known name is Sancto-Paulo. We also find in some ancient documents the names of Saint-Pol or Sainct-Pol as well as that of Saint-Paul-lez-Vence, especially before Saint Paul was county seat of viguerie and even Saint-Paul-de-Vence. During revolution, on Fructidor 6th of year II, its name was Sain-Paul-du Var and even Paul-du-Var.After 1860, when Nice became french, les Alpes-Maritimes occupied a part of the department of Var. Therefore Saint-Paul-du-Var remained name until 1913, when the official name became very short Saint-Paul by the decree of April 12th.

The name of Saint-Paul-de-Vence came only slightly later. The painters and then the poets and the singers first used this appellation: Prévert with A Saint-Paul-de-Vence that sang Yves Montand, Charles Trenet and Nationale 7 or also Michel Sardou with La Java de Brodway. On March 2011, Saint Paul has been officially renamed Saint-Paul-de-Vence (Décret n° 2011-311 du 22 mars 2011 portant changement du nom de communes)

It's true that Saint-Paul make this particular village fall again into the anonymity of the 10 cities and villages of France carrying this name (by forgetting the cities of foreign countries as saint Paul in Minnesota) while the appellation Saint de Vence gives again to him his unique character.





The wash

Built in 1850, it stands at the entrance to the village between the place of bowls and the "Colombe d'Or". At the time when the houses have no running water, it has its usefulness. It will be the ideal place for washerwomen to exchange the latest news, perhaps disputes. Washing have always been privileged meeting places for women,

Another view




Oil and wine

Around 1850, cultures are those of olive trees and vines.

Vine cultivation was introduced to promote exchanges between the Greeks established in Antibes and the Ligurians from the sixth century BC. This culture has know a great growth throughout the centuries. From the eighteenth century wine will be exported to Nice. Saint Paul gave its name to a variety of grape: the "clairette noire". Today, with the advantage of an ideal exposure for this kind of culture, the vineyard extends under the ramparts.

150 years ago, thre were seven oil mills. The water, necessary for the operation of these mills, came through an acqueduc dating from the seventeenth century, through the Queen Jeanne. Today one of these old oil mills houses the restaurant "Le Vieux Moulin", specializing in Recipes (socca, ravioli, stuffed ,...). The wheel of the mill of "Sainte Claire" who worked in the last century is still visible. A little further down, the current building that houses the "Cercle de l'Union Saint Pauloise" is an old mill which you can still see the water wheel on the outside wall and chapels presses arm. A little further down ruins of mill in the valley of the Ressence (named for oil "ressence" which was obtained by decanting after the various pressures olives and served for lighting and soap).


Small streets

Like all medieval villages, the village of Saint Paul is a maze of steep streets to strange or evocative names like "Rue du casse-coul" (street of breaking neck) or "Rue du Pontis". These streets are around the central axis that form the main street ("Rue Grande") from north to south of the village.

Over time these streets have changed little in appearance, only the clay from the beginning of the twentieth century has been replaced by an elegant paving stones arranged in the shape of flowers, giving their stamp alleys.

  Typical streets in the village: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
  "Rue Grande" : in 1910 / in 2008
  Entry of village : in 1910 / in 2008
"Plan de Castre" at interval of one hundred years



A tramway in Saint Paul

The idea of a tramway connecting Saint Paul to the nearby towns of Cagnes and Vence, via La Colle, will be launched in 1904. At a time when the car does not yet exist (at least its use is not widespread) and where the access roads are still only stony paths, the tram is an ideal solution for isolation of the village of Saint Paul. This project will be carried out shortly before the First World War and the line will operate until 1932, then experiencing a great success. The tram will be replaced at that time by the bus. This line will allow trade in products and promote local tourism development.

The picture is a postcard which was coloured to offer an unusual view of the bridge connecting St. Paul and Vence above the Malvan (Libac bridge), and permit the passage of the tramway. The Germans will blow the bridge during the Second World War (26 August 1944) and the last pillar (central pillar of the overpass) remained upright will be destroyed for the purposes of the film by Georges Lautner "Ne nous fâchons pas" in 1965. Today, all that remains is the foot of the first pillarr based on the hill. And for the line, it also remains vestiges of the link La Colle - Saint Paul.



  Bridge of Malvan when the tram's on it
  Tram station at Saint-Paul du Var
  Tram station at La Colle-sur-Loup
    Freinet, a famous teacher




Celestin Freinet has been teacher in Saint Paul from 1928 to 1933. His pedagogy based on the autonomy of childrens and the use of the printing press to produce texts, is far from the french republican conception of the secular school at the time. In Saint Paul, this pedagogy will not be accepted by a section of the population. The village will be divided into two clans and the conflict will take even a national scale. He will find his epilogue with the departure of Freinet of National Education in 1934. he will then create his own school in Vence.

The photo is a montage of Freinet, or ghost of Freinet in transparency, in front of the gate of his school in Saint Paul. The building dates from the thirteenth century. He served as City Hall and venue for the community. Later, it became a shelter for the poor run by the Confraternity of the Holy Spirit (hence the name "House of the Holy Spirit"). From the nineteenth century, he served school for boys (the girls' school located on the other side of the village) to the creation of the current mixed school, the school of Fontette. Currently, the building houses the hall of the municipal council and social services from the town hall.


    View of the "House of Holy Spirit" in 2007
    Art and artists: painters, poets and writers

Many artists, painters or poets, chose Saint Paul to stay and create dedicating St. Paul in the title “village of artists”. The painters arrived in the 1920's and among the most famous who have lived in Saint Paul are:

Picasso, Braque, Miro, Chagall, Utrillo, Derain, Soutine, Signac, Modigliani, Matisse and now Théo Tobiasse, Giulano Mancini, Luc Trizan (sculpteur) or Rémi Pesce.

A few years after poets and writers chose St. Paul as a land of inspiration:
Jacques Prévert who has lived between 1948 and the late fifties in the village. He wrote “FatrasI” at Saint Paul. He became André Verdet's friend.(poet, painter, musician and cosmologue) also from Saint Paul and who dead in December 2004. Samivel, Jean Giono, and James Baldwin have also lived in Saint Paul. Other writers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Colette, Andre Gide, Paul Valery, the list is far from exhaustive, were only passing but left a trace of their coming to St. Paul by a word, phrase or a poem.

    A stamp for Saint Paul
  Visiting Saint. Paul in September 1961, the PTT minister, Mr Bokanowski, took the commitment to the mayor Mr. Issert and the prefect Mr. Moatti at the end of a party of bowls, to issue a stamp in honor of Saint Paul.

The stamp was designed and engraved by Robert Cami from a painting by Pierre Ambrogiani,artist painter ifrom Marseille.

The first day of issuance of the stamp (October 7, 1961) happened in Saint Paul and was accompanied by the stamp first day on the envelops and cards.The general sales began on October 9. The stamp was issued to 22 million copies and withdrew from the sale on July 11, 1984.

  One of the postcard sent the first day of issuance
    The Maeght Foundation




The Maeght Foundation was inaugurated in 1964 by André Malraux, Minister of Cultural Affairs. This architecture has been completely designed and funded by Aimé and Marguerite Maeght to introduce modern and contemporary art in all its forms. Painters and sculptors worked closely to this achievement with the Catalan architect Josep Lluis Sert (disciple of Le Corbusier) by creating works, often monumental, integrated to the building and the gardens court Giacometti, Miro populated maze of sculptures and ceramics, mural mosaic Chagall and Tal-Coat, pelvis and window Braque, fountain Bury…

The building of the Maeght Foundation is included in the inventory of "Historical Monuments" under the heritage of the twentieth

And to learn more about the Foundation :

  Foundation Maeght website (french)
  Films actors

The actors, through their contacts in the village of St. Paul contributed to the boom in tourism in the village. Since the famous Simone Signoret and Yves Montand marriage in 1951 to the more recent of Arielle Dombasle and Bernard Henry-Levy in 1994, many have appreciated Saint Paul such as Lino Ventura, Fernandel, Gérard Philipe or even currently reside Michel Boujenah or Aldo Maccione.
The rallying place, the ending point of all these personalities, is the "Colombe d'Or", hostel created in 1932 by Paul Roux, himself a great lover of art as evidenced by his famous phrase written on the wall: "Here we houses on foot, on horseback and on painting. " This hostel is inseparable from the history of St. Paul, as evidenced by the books since 1928 or filled with the names of famous people who have attended the hostel and works of art which are within the walls and the garden of the "Colombe d'Or". The sign at the entrance has been painted by Folon, the inch guarding the entrance has been made by César, or Fernand Léger ceramics: "The woman with parrot" or also the Calder mobile.

  Photo © Edward Quinn

The place where to play bowls

This place is located at the entrance to the village of St. Paul. Its real name is place Charles de Gaulle, named so after the visit of the General in 1948,but it's mostly known as "the place of bowls". The bowls are practiced on this place from sunrise to sunset allalong the year. Although the existence of the bowls so dear to the region dates back to antiquity, the Provencal love to tell that they are the cause. In 1910, when Ernest Pitiot, moving with difficulties, due to rheumatism rolled the ball joints of the feet, "pe Tanque" in Provencal, in a circle drawn on the ground. Thus was born the Petanque which acquired real nobility by the renowned artists such as Chagall and Matisse, the sculptor Mancini, or the actors Fernandel, Yves Montand and Lino Ventura true believers. The latter, admitted sometimes delaying time of playing a movie to enjoy their endless parties. "When part of balls starts, it's a whole village that is born," said Marcel Pagnol.






The feasts in Saint Paul

There are many feasts throughout the year in St. Paul: feast of oil at the end of the winter, feast of chestnuts in autumn, fire at Saint Jean, Sainte Claire mid summer. These feasts are organized by the association SOS blood, presided by Jean-Louis Raffaelli. The feasts of St. Claire and St. Roch are organized by the Feasts Comittee of the village.


The Saint Jean fire

This is the tradition at the Saint Jean to jump over a fire, a guarantee of health and happiness for the coming year. Saint Paul meets this ancestral custom (it dates back to the Celts) and each year late june, every one young and old, eagerly jump.over the great fire.




The "Sainte Claire" festivities

Each year during the month of August Saint Paul celebrates Sainte Claire, one of the village patronnes. The three days festivities is closed by a magnificent firework displayed over the ramparts and followed by the conflagration in the village.

View the village conflagration


The cemetary

And at least, but not least the cemetary:

IThe cemetary is located at the South of the village, "sails" of the boat Saint Paul, with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean sea. It is the site of the initial village of Saint Paul on the "Puy" which has been excluded from fortifications built by François 1er. Marc Chagall and his wife have their tomb close the entrance to the right

Last modification on 20/7//2017

A photographic stroll in the village of Saint Paul de Vence


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