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Non-touristy alternative to St. Paul de Vence

Baltimore, Maryland
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Non-touristy alternative to St. Paul de Vence

Hi All,

I am hoping to spend a few nights in an authentic village in the middle of July. I like the medieval feel of both Eze and St. Paul de Vence, but would rather not be around so many people. I don't need much that caters to tourists -- just a few restaurants at least. I was thinking Peillon might be an option? Does anyone else have any other recommendations?

I really appreciate it. Merci!

23 replies to this topic
Vence, France
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1. Re: Non-touristy alternative to St. Paul de Vence

Peillon is indeed beautiful and absolutely unspoilt by tourism. It's a time machine.

BUT - that said - when not hiking all day you'll feel a bit lost there. There are not "a few" restaurants. There are just two, one of which only open for lunch (someone correct me when I am wrong). Apart from that there is nothing else, no bar, no shop and no ice-cream. You can't have everything, can you? :)

Maybe Tourrettes, St. Jeannet or Vence will suit you. But in mid-July there will be tourists everywhere or you'll have to drive into the mountains. But again: from 150 villagers you cannot run "a few restaurants".

Italy might also be an option (Dolceacqua, Apricale...)

Edited: 10 December 2017, 23:49
Vence, France
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2. Re: Non-touristy alternative to St. Paul de Vence

... the more I think about, there are dozens of options. Roquebrune, Valbonne, Mougins, Biot, La Turbie...

Baltimore, Maryland
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3. Re: Non-touristy alternative to St. Paul de Vence

Thanks, tplus!

What would you say are the big differences between St. Jeannet and Vence? Vence seems to have more accommodations and restaurants available. Which one is likely to have less tourists? (St. Jeannet, I'm guessing?) Which feels more medieval?

I'm not sure if I'll have a car yet or if I'll be taking public transportation. Would it make a difference for either one?

Thanks again for your help!

Moscow, Russia
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4. Re: Non-touristy alternative to St. Paul de Vence

I've been once to Aspremont - two or three buses a day, and I was the only passenger definitely not crowded with tourists :)))

Antibes, France
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5. Re: Non-touristy alternative to St. Paul de Vence

Vence is far more blessed with the kind of resources you need . St Jeannet,like a lot of the 70 or so villages in the area is the kind of place where you go to write that novel in peace and quiet with no distractions. Just a few sleepy cats..Indeed one village close by is called Gattieres ("cats"). Ideal too if you enjoy a diet of goat's cheese.

Vence has a reasonable bus service from Nice ..from memory no.87 and 400. But few small villages are easily accessible by public transport.

One thing..the villages in the Roya Valley can be reached by train (the wonderful Train des Merveilles). Saorge is incredibly picturesque ..like something in Tibet..

Ed

Moscow, Russia
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6. Re: Non-touristy alternative to St. Paul de Vence

I think they have a Matisse chapel in Vence, only it tends to be always closed for visitors

Vence, France
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7. Re: Non-touristy alternative to St. Paul de Vence

St Jeannet (4000 inhabitants) has a few restaurants (2 or 3 which deserve the name), Vence (20000 inhabitants) has 20, or so. Its a (small) city with real local life. You can walk a 2000 year old street, but as its not a museum there's a mix of old and new with the "old town", well, old.

In mid-July there will be tourists everywhere. The calmest ones are these off the tourist track, read: not in good reach by buses.

Most "medieval" will feel Roquebrune and Tourrettes, also Grasse (in a bad way). And the Italian ones.

The villages in the hinterland of Menton are also quieter and old, Gorbio comes to mind or Ste Agnes, Castellar.

For medieval feel don't miss the rue Obscure in Villefranche. But better not when a 4000 pax cruiseship has moored, there.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rue_Obscure_(Villefranche-sur-Mer)

When you're interested in medieval heritage, you'll need a car (and hiking boots and guidebooks and maps). There can be some interesting finds...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n3gOJMYQAQ

New York City, New...
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8. Re: Non-touristy alternative to St. Paul de Vence

will you have a car? If so there are dozens (more) near Nice.

By bus, taxi or uber, go to Biot. It’s easy, quaint, historic and few tourists. Really cute little village.

Vence is fantastic but bigger, more of a town.

By car, the villages of Var are fshtsdtic and still authentic. Look at Aups, Tourtour and Cotignac for example.

I disagree with Mougins. It’s as touristy or more than St. Paul. Artificial. Nothing authentic left. Just art galleries and tourists.

Edited: 12 December 2017, 02:11
California
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9. Re: Non-touristy alternative to St. Paul de Vence

The Matisse Chapelle de la Rosaire is NOT closed to visitors, but it takes some research to discover the opening times. Because the chapel is part of the convent, closings can take place on a number of holy days when the chapel would normally be opened. We've found it's best to call and ask at least a few days in advance. The chapel is more than worth the effort--it's as though all of the splendid light of the south has been gathered in one smallspot.

I agree about Biot and Tourettes-sur-Loup, but Opio is another possibility. So is Châteauneuf-de-Grasse, which would be my first pick.

Edited: 12 December 2017, 03:18
Vence, France
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10. Re: Non-touristy alternative to St. Paul de Vence

Here you'll find the opening times of the Chapelle de la Rosaire:

chapellematisse.com/FR/horaires-visite-chape…

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