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About St Paul
The medieval village of Saint Paul.
Quietly dominating the foothills a few miles from the Mediterranean.
The jewel of the Nice countryside.

It was by command of king Francois 1er that St. Paul became a "Royal Town", and noblemen's houses, ancient parchments and the treasures of the Collegiate Church bear witness to its historical significance.

In the 20th century, successive Modern Art movements have left their mark upon St. Paul. Many of the most famous painters, poets and artists came to stay, and were inspired by the outstanding quality of its lights, its beautiful position, and the simple pleasure of living here.

The lucky visitor who comes to this enchanting spot will discover the Ramparts, the Fountain and the Grande Rue - but also a rich cultural and artistic heritage out of all proportion to its size. The Foundation Maeght is one of the most splendid Museums of Modern Art in the world, and there are local artists and craftsmen, art galleries, the Town Museum and the Museum of Local History celebrating the great moments of St. Paul's past, as well as lectures and concerts.

The first evidences of the existence of Castrum of "Sancto Paulo" date from 10th century, it is at that time a large borough which importance will keep increase all along the centuries. Managed by Consuls, Saint-Paul enjoys a great financial and administrative autonomy. The nobility of Provence has residence and pageantry there.

County-town of a Viguerie (somehow a small county). as of the 1480s, Saint-Paul is one of the most important strengthened cities of Eastern Provence.

In 1537, France and Charles Quint wages war for over 20 years, for protecting the border of the Var, François the 1st brings out the Royal Town again and turns it into a bastionned city.

At the time of the great religious disorders, then with wars of succession, until 1747, Saint-Paul is one of the main fortified towns of the catholic league. Saint-Paul will have to open its gates to many visitors, invaders or allied plundering. Massacres, vandalism, scarcity, sow with ruins the region, but Saint-Paul straightens out and increases its importance..

On the eve of the revolution, "San Pau" is with its apogee. In 1790, it becomes county-town of district and even a court of justice takes place within its ramparts.

Then successive regimes after the revolution, withdraw bit by bit its privileges, its proxies and its troops.

When Nice the rival, becomes French in 1860, Saint-Paul is nothing any more but one deserted and useless bastion that will soon disappear from the maps and the dictionaries.

However, the formidable tourist and artistic rise in the very beginning of the century will attract famous visitors, crowned heads and constantly present painters, in the ghostly maze of a city drowsed for a century. Thus, about 1930 a chronicler quotes, among the hosts of Saint-Paul: prince Carol of Romania, George V, the sultan of Morocco, Maeterlinck, Bernard Shaw, Tristan Bernard, Roland Dorgelès, Jean Giono, Signac, Max Jacob, Derain, Picabia : Saint-Paul is now up to date.

Today, the village is entirely renovated, the names on the door-knockers come from everywhere. Here, after wars for centuries, the universe was summed up for building a tower of Babel, a nest of art and culture without presumption and border.

Ingo von SAENGER

390 Route de la Colle | St. Paul de Vence | F-06570 France
Tel: (0033) 4 93 32 7600

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