Vence Tourist Attractions

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Vence is a superbly situated "village perché" in the east of the Côte d'Azur slightly inland between Nice and Antibes.
The town of Vence attracts artists, sculptors and painters who have created a thriving community.

Vence Townscape

In the center of the Old Town stands the former cathedral (St-Véran; 10th -15th C.). The interior has fine choir-stalls and a Roman sarcophagus which serves as an altar. In the baptism chapel there is a mosaic by Marc Chagall which depicts the rescue of Moses from the Nile. The choir and the tower chapel are decorated with Carolingan interlace work. On the facade of the cathedral there are two Roman inscriptions which are dedicated to the Emperors Heliogabalus and Gordianus.
East of the church, in the Place Godeau, stands an ancient column; also of interest are the battlemented belfry and the charming Renaissance gate. In the west on the edge of the Old Town lies the attractive Place du Peyra with the fountain of the same name. Also to the west, outside the town center, in the Avenue Henri Isnard, stands the 15th C. Chapelle des Pénitents-Blancs.

Chapelle du Rosaire

On the northern edge of Vence, to the right of the road D2210, can be found the inconspicuous Chapelle du Rosaire, which belongs to a Dominican convent. It can be recognized by the severely linear representation of Mary, Jesus and St Dominic, by Henri Matisse, to be found over the doorway. The interior was also designed by Matisse (between 1947 and 1951) with bold graphics (black outlines on white ceramic tiles) based on Biblical themes. These include the birth of Christ, St Dominic and the Passion of Christ (Way of the Cross). Kept completely white, the simple room receives color only through its glass window. The economy of form and the drama thereby expressed are very impressive. The altar furniture and various chasubles were also designed by Matisse; they are kept in the Matisse Museum at Cimiez in Nice.
Address: Avenue Henri Matisse, F-06140 Vence, France

Villeneuve Castle

Built by the Lords of Vence, the castle is situated at the heart of the town and presents art from the 20th C.

Surroundings

St Paul de Vence, France

The little town of St-Paul-de-Vence, which has managed to retain its medieval character, is attractively situated on a hill 3km/2mi to the south of Vence. The well-preserved circle of rampart-walls, dating from the 16th C., is provided with sturdy reinforcing supports on the steep slopes; there is also a government defense tower. In the early 13th C. church can be seen a fine treasury with silver-work, reliquaries and a ciborium dating from 1439. In the Place de la Fontaine (with a fountain) stands the Musée Provençal. In the 1920s St Paul was "discovered" by painters such as Signac, Modigliani and Bonnard.

Maeght Foundation Concerts

The Maeght Foundation was set up to promote contemporary arts. Under this mandate, it organizes a series of five-concerts every July in the small town of St-Paul-de-Vence. The concerts present 20th century music and other arts in various formats, including concerts, art exhibitions, film screenings and dance performances.
All the events take place in the Fondation Maeght, which is deemed to be one of the most important cultural centers in southern France.

Fondation Maeght

On the Gardettes hill, 1km/0.5mi to the northwest of St-Paul-de-Vence, lies the Fondation Maeght, a foundation established by the art dealers Aimé and Marguerite Maeght (husband and wife) and opened in 1960, which offers a very interesting combination of nature, architecture (Josep Lluis Sert) and modern art. Alongside mosaics by Braque, Chagall and Tal- Coat, the ceramic sculptures of Mirò are of special note, as well as the bronze figures of Giacometti and the stabile by Calder. The chapel was created by Braque and Ubac. In the museum there are works by artists such as Arp, Bonnard, Chagall, Giacometti, Kandinsky and Miró.
The Fondation Maeght also organizes temporary exhibitions, concerts and symposia; there is also an interesting bookshop for art lovers and an extensive archive.

Tourette-sur-Loup, France

The charming former defense village of Tourette-sur-Loup with its medieval towers lies on a rocky plateau 5km/3mi west of Vence above the Valley of the Loup, surrounded by olive groves, pine woods and fields of violets. In the 14th C. church is a notable ancient altar and an altarpiece of the school of Bréa. Also of interest is the Musée d'Artisanat Local (Museum of Local Industry).

Tourette-sur-Loup Festival

This annual festival includes a series of concerts that take place between late July and mid-August. The performances include choral and chamber concerts, as well as piano and vocal recitals. The events take place in the local church and the Chateau Mairie.
Address: 2247 route de Grasse, F-06140 Tourrette sur Loup, France

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