Saturday, June 3, 2017

La Colombe d'Or - Saint-Paul de Vence

For my birthday last month we went to an old favorite, the Colombe d'Or in Saint-Paul de Vence. I was yearning for its peaceful atmosphere and found myself dreaming of a long alfresco lunch on their terrace. We hadn't been there for more than a decade, so I was wondering if it would still be the way I remembered it, and whether it would have retained the laid back atmosphere I loved on previous visits. As soon as we arrived it was clear in an instant that it had.  What a joy.



Some elements of staying at  the Colombe d'Or make you feel as though you're staying at a friend's house, but a friend who has the most amazing modern art collection on the walls. 

The history goes back to the 1920's when farmer Paul Roux opened a café where the locals  could come for drinks and home cooked food, and dancing at the weekends. In the mid-twentieth century, many artists moved to the hills above the Côte d'Azur, and Roux's cafe became one of their favorite spots. Roux had a feeling for art and artists, and cultivated friendships with his clientele, offering those who were struggling, food and accomadation in exchange for paintings and drawings. Over time of course, Roux amassed a stunning art collection consisting of exchanged and commissioned pieces including works by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Léger, Braque, Mirò and many more. So now famous pieces as well as those of unknown artists, line the walls of the dining rooms and corridors, while sculptures and mosaics frame the terraces and pool area. The tradition is carried on by Roux's son and his wife, who continue to expand the collection while keeping the esprit and soul of the Colombe d'Or intact.



the reception area



Dining under the stars...the walls of the main dining room lined with paintings by some of the 20th Century’s greatest artists...They're hung unostentatiously without labels or placques. The presentation is simple and confident, each painting lit by a single uplight covered with a pretty shell. The juxtaposition of the importance and value of these pieces, together with the casual unpretentiousness in which they are displayed creates a unique and very special atmosphere...it is an inspirational and romantic setting, and a wonderful place to eat your dinner.





The rooms too are furnished in a simple rustic provençal style, and decorated with colored tiles and rugs and, of course, paintings and drawings from the Roux family's collection. Most have small private balconies or terraces, and I loved our romantic little terrace with its beautiful view over Saint-Paul de Vence's town center.





Breakfast in bed is a rare and special treat.. what could be a better on a birthday than to bite into a buttery croissant while opening gifts and reading cards! Alexandra Shulman's Inside Vogue book turned out to be a fascinating insight into the workings of British Vogue's 100th birthday celebrations (plenty of gossip too). A perfect summer read!



the bar..



.. which seems unchanged since Pablo used to come in for a drink



lounging with my book in a new kaftan (a find from accross the street the day before, details further down). Long gemstone necklace in or (similar available here)





a 'golden' Mirò in the dining room



a peek from the street into the courtyard



There are many reasons I love the Colombe d'Or, and having a meal on its secluded and beautiful terrace is definitely one of them. It is the perfect place for a long lunch, and I only wish the picture below would have captured its magic better... it's a haven of tranquility and conviviality, where you can relax and enjoy delicious and simple fresh mediterranean food and local wines, and even find yourself exchanging a word or two with your fellow diners... We met such a lovely group of people!



the house starter (best to be shared).. an hors d'oeuvres platter consisting of at least a dozen small dishes


a Léger mural of the hotel’s namesake, only in red



Getting ready for dinner, wearing a Parures de Samouraïs 90 carré in a basic bias fold with a MaiTai Collection gemstone necklace in or (a new version is available here)



the golden dove



Let's explore the town!

Damier shawl in a basic bias fold and MaiTai Collection Double Anneau necklace in or (available here)


Saint Paul de Vence is an especially picturesque and charming little village perched high up in the hills above Nice and the Côte d'Azur. It's not surprising that it attracted so many artists to live and work here, and that it has become such a popular place to visit. It is probably a good idea to avoid going during high season, when it does get very busy!



Happy making sidewalks!



every corner you turn is picture perfect





A few years ago, the traditional French parfum house Fragonard was taken over by its heirs. The three sisters brought their passion for colorful and uncomplicated clothing and home decoration into the company, and expanded the fragrance line to include light and summery tunics, kaftans  and robes, along with table ware and table linen, travel kits and a small collection of jewellry. The fabrics of the tunics are lightweight but not transparent, which makes them perfect for the upcoming hot summer months. The long blue kaftan (left below) came home with me, along with a couple of shorter blouses and, of course, some of the beautifully packaged soaps and interior scents.



The fragrances and a selection of the homeware products can be bought online, where you can also find the locations and opening hours of their Parisian and other provençal boutiques.





On Saint-Paul de Vence's main street, the 'Grand Rue' you'll find two shops by the same owner... Saveurs Sucrées specializes in sweets, teas, honeys, biscuits and jams, whereas the other, Saveurs Salées, offers truffels, mustards, terrines, spices, sauces and beautifully made olive wood spoons, bowls and boards. Both places are perfect for picking up little gifts... the produce is regional and artisanal, made by provençal Maison Bremond 1830.



Saveurs Sucrées



French market baskets serve as shopping trolleys



Saveurs Salées


La Colombe d'Or: 1 Place du Général de Gaulle, 06570 Saint-Paul de Vence
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 32 80 02
www.la-colombe-dor.com

Inside Vogue by Alexandra Shulman, available on Amazon: click here

Fragonard Boutique, Chemin Ste Claire, 06570 St-Paul de Vence. Tél : 04 93 58 58 58 
www.fragonard.com

Aux Saveurs Sucrées et Salées, 68 RUE GRANDE - 06570 SAINT-PAUL DE VENCE Phone: +33 (04) 93 24 09 68
www.maison-bremond-1830.com

Saint Paul de Vence (general): www.saint-pauldevence.com


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43 comments:

  1. A belated Happy Birthday! Wishing you happiness & good health! Such a beautiful post and place to celebrate!

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    1. Thanks so much for the lovely comment and good wishes, dear itztru!

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  2. Dear MaiTai, Thank you for this beautiful and inspiring post. What a lovely birthday for you! And what a tranquil atmosphere. It's wonderful to see art displayed with such sensitivity and lack of pretension. Wishing you a lovely and sunny summer ahead. Helane

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    1. So happy you enjoyed the post, dear Helane, thanks so much for the lovely comment. Wishing you a most lovely and happy summer too!

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  3. Lucky MT!! Happy belated Birthday! I love Saint Paul de Vence AND the Colombe d'Or! I'm glad to hear neither has changed and both are as charming as ever. You've inspired me to plan a long overdue trip.

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind good wishes. Hope you can come back to (an unchanged) Colombe d'Or and Saint Paul de Vence one day very soon!

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  4. Wonderful post! The perfect place to celebrate a birthday! We have loved this place for years - and were there in May too. It's everything you say - such wonderful ambience, relaxing and beautiful. As well as all the other artists I also love Calder's work, particularly the stabile by the beautiful pool. Also he seems to have done a special painting for Madame Roux for her birthday every year for many years.
    Also shop at Fragonard. Last year found a gorgeous mirror - this years a colourful tray.
    Love the history of all the people who've stayed at La Colombe d'Or or who lunched or haunted the bar. Everyone from Scott and Zelda, Isadora Duncan, Audrey Hepburn, Dirk Bogard, Simone Signoret who worked in the bar during WWII and Yves Montand and so many others. When we were there last month there were tables of people from the Cannes Film Festival.
    In addition, the Fondation Maeght up the hill is worth a visit too - for its collection, architecture and gardens. Best wishes, Pammie

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    1. Oh how closely we missed each other! So glad you found that the post mirrored your experience, and how fun to hear about the fellow diners from Cannes and the treasures you found at Fragonard. Must visit the Fondation Maeght next time, thanks so much for sharing the tip! Warmest wishes

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  5. What an amazing place to spend your birthday! I was secretely hoping for this post- your choices of places and their description is so much better than what any travel guide could do, alongside with picture perfect photographs. It sounds like a very attractive little village and I need to plan a trip to the south of France for next spring- shame that it's such a long drive...
    The Kaftan, a good book and breakfast in bed - I couldn't think of a better way to start your birthday. Thanks again for sharing and have a nice Whitsun weekend! Katja

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    1. So true, the celebration could not have started better than with a breakfast in bed and a whole day of fun to look forward to, dearest Katja. Hope you can schedule in a visit to the Colombe d'Or one day soon, spring is a lovely time of the year to come to the South of France. Have a wonderful remaining week!

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  6. Happy Birthday what a beautiful place x

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  7. What a lovely travel post. I would love to go there! Seems like right up my alley. Thank you for the book tip, too. Happy birthday!

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    1. Hope you can visit one day soon! Have fun reading the book, I very much enjoyed it :)

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  8. Dear Mai Tai,

    Thankyou for this lovely post. It brings back fond memories of dining on the terrace.

    Best wishes,
    DK

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    1. Aww, so happy the post evoked special memories, dear DK!

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  9. What an absolutely blissful way to celebrate -- anything! Happy belated birthday, dear MaiTai. Wishing you a joyous year ahead, and many more to come.
    Warm aloha,
    Fifi

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    1. Anything indeed, or even nothing, dearest Fifi! How I'd love to go back, even if I'd fail to conjure up a reason ;) Have a lovely rest of the week! xx

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  10. What a charming place to spend your special day, MT! All of the ingredients look like they made for a most memorable celebration!
    Cheers to happy days, T xx

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    1. The 'ingredients' worked beautifully together, darling Trudye! Mwahs to happy days and to a lovely and blissful early summer xxx

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  11. How beautiful! La Colombe d'Or and Saint-Paul de Vence just ooze charm - so unpretentious, so authentic and not a crystal chandelier in sight - definitely my kind of place. But I believe that true elegance stems from simplicity, so there you are.

    The star, of course, is the artwork. It's stupefying. I don't think I could keep my mind or my eyes on my dinner. The art would have to satisfy my appetite (that golden Miro - ooooh! and Leger's red dove - ooooh again.)

    You look beautiful in your azure Fragonard caftan, and I love the intricate embroidery. I haven't worn mine yet - I think I need to save it for a trip to Saint-Paul de Vence and La Colombe d'Or.

    What a magical birthday, and it definitely agrees with you . . . you look about 16!

    Much love,
    Jerrine

    PS - MT, If you find a duplicate, please delete. My internet was not cooperating over the weekend.

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    1. Oh dearest Jerrine, you always sum it up perfectly... 'elegance stems from simplicity' is beautiful and true!
      Re the dining room.. what a perfect place it would be to start a diet! Second stop could be the Emile Hermès collection.'See-food' allround ;) So happy to be kaftan twins with you xx

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  12. I love Saint Paul de Vence. I have been there twice, but never for dinner. Your photos are gorgeous. One time I found some beautiful handmade pottery bowls in all shades of green. The second time a small painting of Saint Paul overlooking the valley. Could you tell me what the beautiful stainless watch is in the photo with the black suit. I just discovered your blog. Thanks Judy

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    1. A belated, but very warm welcome to my blog, dear Judy. So nice to hear about your finds in Saint Paul de Vence! The stainless steel watch is by Jaeger LeCoultre. I had it for 20 years and I still love it as much as one day one :)

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  13. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!Don't you just LOVE Them?We are SO LUCKY to have another year!!!!!
    What a PLACE you brought us all along and THANK YOU!I think I will go on line and find that book and maybe see if the KAFTAN is available............I do not think it will be long enough for me but one never knows.KAFTANS are MY THING!Especially, with your necklaces.............I wish you a VERY HAPPY HEALTHY YEAR!XX

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    1. I'm with you dearest La Contessa, love birthdays! It's always wonderful to have something to celebrate, and since they (thankfully) roll out only once a year, it is rather special and fun. So happy you love the necklaces and hope you can find the Kaftan. Hope you enjoy the book! xox

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  14. Absolutely beautiful beautiful you and the pictures. Happy Birthday a bit lately

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    1. I am answering in the wrong order, thank you again! Amitiés

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  15. Happiest of birthdays to the head swan in our beautiful pond!

    It looks like you ha a wonderful celebration, complete with being spoiled by breakfast in bed--the height of luxury.

    Thanks for the beautiful photos and detailed travel notes--now I've got another place to add to my wish list!

    xoxoxox--Greta

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    1. Thanks so much for the lovely comment and good wishes, dearest Greta!
      You are absolutely right, breakfast in bed is such a treat. It certainly is the rarest!
      Hope you can visit La Colombe one day soon, breakfast in bed et all xoxox

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  16. Beautiful. Happy Birthday lately

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  17. Also from me: A happy belated birthday.I hope the year ahead is full of health, strength and happiness. The places you describe and show us are God-blessed and we can only hope they remain as they are for the next generation(s). When I was much younger I Read: La nostalgie n'est plus ce qu'elle était... By S.Signoret. It was a home to her, as It was to her husband too. All the best from Marie (Brussels)

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    1. Dear Marie, - thanks so much for the lovely message and good wishes! Thank you also for sharing S.Signoret's quote.. how very fitting and beautiful. All the best and have a beautiful summer!

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  18. Happy birthday! Seems like you had a wonderful celebration! Thank you for an inspiring blog! I have a question: do you know what to to with old plissé scarves, where the creases are starting to wear out? I consider either trying to wash them and iron the creases out, or taking them to an H store asking to renew the creases. But I'm doubtful about the outcome of both. What do you suggest?

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    1. Thank you for the lovely good wishes! Re your question.. I never had a Plissé re-pleated, but since Hermes offers the service, I assume that it is impeccable. Not sure if washing and ironing could completely 'uncrease' a Plissé.. I'd be too scared to try it out!

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    2. Thank you for your advice! I'll follow it and take my scarves to be re-pleated at my local H store :)

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  19. Dearest Mai Tai,

    So happy to hear that you celebrated your birthday in such a charming place as S. Paul de Vence. I visited it some years ago. It is so charming! Thank you for sharing your lovely pictures. Wishing you a beautiful week ahead. Much love, Manuela xx

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    1. So happy you enjoyed the post, dearest Manuela! Hope it brought some lovely memories back <3 Have a wonderful week! Hugs xx

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  20. :-) Dear MaiTai,
    I've heard so much about the restaurant and all I can say form your pictures and your description is that I'd really love to go there some day.
    Thanks for sharing these beautiful memories.
    Have a very HAPPY week :-)

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    1. Thanks so much for the lovely comment, dear HappyFace313 Hope you can make a visit one day soon!

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  21. So happy to read this post! Just booked my trip to France later this month and Saint Paul de Vence is already on my list of places to visit. Can't wait to be back to Provence!

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    1. Have a fabulous trip and a most wonderful time in France and Saint-Paul de Vence!

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