There are very few places in this world where you feel that time stops. One of those places is La Colombe d’Or in Saint Paul de Vence. At the second you reach this medieval village, nestled in the hills above Nice, you instantly get a sniff of the gateway to Provence.
This is the story of a legendary hotel that opened its doors in 1920 by the Roux family. During the 30s it only had three bedrooms and a small café today it has thirty bedrooms and an indoor and outdoor restaurant.
During World War II, the tiny terracotta hotel became a secluded safe haven for struggling artists. Paul Roux and his wife befriended the artists and decided to offer free accommodation in exchange for sketches and paintings. Whilst eating traditional French cuisine you can admire those masterpieces given by former guests’ such as Picasso, Matisse, Miro and Chagall, to name but a few! Art can be found on every inch of every wall, it’s a delight for the eyes.
Paintings by Sonia Delaunay and "Portrait de Femme" by Henri Matisse
One of the biggest pieces is a mosaic mural in the garden by Léger, an influential artist of the 20th century.
Dinner with our Gentler Soul Aris
Once you’ve eaten and admired the art, the best distraction left is treating you to a well-deserved nap beside the swimming pool in front of a giant Calder’s Mobile. Where else on earth could you do that? The blast of colours and the serenity of the place just makes you feel dreamy. The light breeze and the smell of the cypress trees makes you wonder if there isn’t a better place to enjoy a weekend break.
The artist César, known for his compression sculptures of cars, spent many years here and wrote the perfect poem describing this place:
“Provence has a treasure, it’s The Colombe d’Or (the golden dove).
It has the precious scent of thyme and nostalgia and the golden colour of olive oil and happy days. The Colombe is a part of my life. For me, it’s a place that’s as full of promise as of magnificent memories.” César.
Pablo Picasso's Portrait at the bar
This hidden gem is the perfect place for our Gentler men. It’s a wonderful place to relax from the noisy Côte d’Azur. Nowadays the clientele is eclectic, bohemian, intellectual and chic but the vibe remains rustic, simple and easy going. As the former French Vogue editor - Joan Juliet Buck said in 1996 “The Colombe d’Or is the fantasy of the simple life. It’s the fantasy of being authentic — and rich.”
The Gentler is all for a peaceful lifestyle, where you take time for yourself, where memories are made of places like this, where nature is all around and where all products are locally sourced.