How To Get To Saint Paul de Vence from Nice - Emma Jane Explores

A Day Trip to Saint-Paul de Vence from Nice

How to get to Saint-Paul de Vence from Nice?

Nice is the perfect base for a French Riviera holiday, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t head out and explore the other towns on the Cote d’Azur. Once such town that is unmissable is the hilltop artistic haven that is Saint-Paul de Vence.

Saint-Paul de Vence is a great day trip from Nice for many reasons. It’s a complete change of pace from the beachside towns of the French Riviera with romantic, hilly countryside, olive groves and mountain vineyards.

How To Get To Saint-Paul de Vence from Nice - Emma Jane Explores
The houses of Saint-Paul de Vence

Getting to Saint-Paul de Vence from Nice

It’s super easy to get public transport from Nice to get to Saint-Paul de Vence and given that an Uber will set you back around 40 euros, the bus or the train is 100% the way to go for ease and cost efficiency.

Bus (+ likely tram)

For the most cost efficient method, but the longest travel time, the bus will cost 3 euros return from Nice (Parc Phoenix Station) to Saint-Paul de Vence. This method of travel will take an hour and ten minutes, so if you’re short on time it may be worth paying a little extra for the train option.

The French Riviera bus lines are extremely reliable and cheap. From Parc Phoenix, you’ll be looking for the 400 Bus, which goes from Nice to Vence via Saint-Paul de Vence. The timetables for that service can be found here. It is worth considering that Parc Phoenix is out near Nice airport, so you’ll likely have to get the tram towards the airport in order to connect with the bus.

From the tram stop Jean Médecin in central Nice, a oneway tram trip to Parc Phoenix will take around 30 mins and cost 1.50 euros. When you add this all up, the journey could take up to an hour and forty minutes and cost 6 euros, when for four euros more on the train, the trip could take around 40 mins. 

Train + Bus

For travel that won’t break the bank, but that gets you there a little quicker than just staying on the bus, then grab the train from Gare de Nice Ville (Nice Station) to Cagnes sur Mer station and then pop across the road to catch up with the number 400 bus from there.

It’s about 25 minutes from Nice to Cagnes sur Mer on the train and then a further 15 minutes on the bus, so journeying this way will save around 30 minutes if you time the train to bus transfer well. A return train ticket will cost just under 7 euros to Cagnes sur Mer, plus the 3 euros for the return bus fare. A total of 10 euros for a return trip is not too bad if time is of the essence. 


The History of St Paul de Vence

St Paul de Vence has a truly remarkable history that dates back to medieval times. The area itself has been populated since 400 BC, however the walled commune as we know it came to life around the 1400-1500s. The city ramparts were constructed in 1547 and encircle the village. 

In the 1920’s Saint Paul de Vence garnered new life with the arrival of some very notable artists such as Paul Signac and later Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall also made the picturesque village their home for a time, making it the artistic haven that it has become today.

Where to stay near Saint Paul de Vence?

Being a small hilltop village, there are limited accommodation options in St Paul de Vence. Many people like to make one of the bigger French Riviera towns their home base and explore Saint Paul de Vence on a day trip. I chose to base myself in Nice for the duration of my stay in the French Riviera region, where I can wholeheartedly recommend the Mercure Nice Marché Aux Fleurs as a great accommodation option.

However, there are several lovely options for hotels in St Paul de Vence for those wanting a longer stay. Le Saint Paul is located in the heart of the village itself as is La Colombe d’Or. Both of these are restaurant-hotels and are very luxurious. 

Other five star options are located just outside the ramparts and boast gorgeous views, such as La Grande Bastide or Le Domain Du Mas De Pierre

What to do on a day trip in Saint-Paul de Vence?

Walk the ramparts

The walls surrounding the village of Saint-Paul de Vence date all the way back to the 16th Century. Today, visitors to the city can step up onto the ramparts and take an elevated walk around the perimeter of the walled-in town. There are no guard rails and the walkway is only narrow, but the walk is easy enough provided you keep an eye on where you’re walking.

The views from the ramparts look out over the different corners of Provence. From one direction, the Mediterranean sparkles in the distance. From another, olive groves and vineyards can be seen deocrating the hillside. In a different corner, the famous cemetery of Saint-Paul de Vence lies below, facing out over the countryside. 

Looking inwards, the quaint medieval village houses can be seen, many of them covered in vines that change colour with the seasons. Washing is strung out precariously from shuttered windows; a reminder that some folks are lucky enough to call this picture-perfect village home. 

How To Get To Saint-Paul de Vence from Nice - Emma Jane Explores
Walking the ramparts provides amazing views of the French countryside.

Visit the Cemetery

The beautiful cemetery just outside the ramparts of Saint-Paul de Vence is small and intimate, with just a few rows of headstones and graves to walk amongst. As you enter the cemetery from the town walls, the grave of local artist Marc Chagall can be seen on the left side of the right hand pathway, covered in little pebbles that locals and tourists alike have used to scrawl farewell and thank you  messages to the revered painter. 

The cemetery of Saint-Paul de Vence also offers up beautiful, sweeping views looking all the way back to the vibrant ocean of the Cote d’Azur through the Provence countryside. 

How To Get To Saint-Paul de Vence from Nice - Emma Jane Explores
The Cemetery of Saint-Paul de Vence

Visit the town’s boutique shops & galleries

Saint-Paul de Vence is known for its myriad of art galleries and gorgeous little boutique shops hidden amongst its winding, pebbled streets. As the village isn’t all that large, it’s definitely possible to walk through all the nooks and crannies on a day trip and uncover the delights of these shops buy yourself, however if time is of the essence, there are a few stops that I believe are a must visit.

For perfumes in a picturesque setting, the Maison de Parfums Godet on Rue Grande is the perfect spot to tantalise your nostrils. Frequented by the muse of artist Henri Matisse, this gorgeous Parisian parfum house has a proud history of serving the village of Saint-Paul de Vence and is the prettiest store in the entire village.

For the food and wine seekers, never fear because Saint-Paul de Vence has plenty to offer you, too. The narrow, cramped and totally authentic La Cave de Saint Paul is awaiting your visit with wine tastings on offer in the teeny tiny 14th Century French cellar. 

If wine isn’t your thing, but you’re on a culinary quest, then local produce in the beautifully decorated Maison Bremond or La Maison BB should impress with local olive oils, tapenade and dressings. Truffle oils, pesto and vinegars are all on sale here, and make a great present for any would-be chefs back home. 

How To Get To Saint-Paul de Vence from Nice - Emma Jane Explores
One of the many picturesque parfumeries of Saint-Paul de Vence

The best restaurants in St Paul de Vence

The tiny town of Saint-Paul de Vence packs a big punch when it comes to great restaurants. The local restaurants aim to reflect the many flavours of the Provence-Alpes region and many come with stunning views. 

Al Fresco dining is popular in the village, so you’re sure to find a lovely meal to suit your budget and be able to sit out in the fresh mountain air to enjoy.

It is totally possible to spend a full day wandering the streets of Saint-Paul de Vence and when the scenery is this pretty, why wouldn’t you? There are plenty of spots to grab a meal along your stroll – whether it be a crepe from a street food stall or going all out with a fancy meal at the town’s signature restaurant at La Colombe d’Or.

Some of the most picturesque restaurants in town are:

  • La Petite Chapelle: a 19th century chapel converted into a brasserie; 
  • La Sierra: a pizzeria which has beautiful terrace views; 
  • Le Tilleul: a Michelin recommended French Bistro
  • Les Remparts: for cocktails with a view 
  • La Colombe d’Or: for a luxurious meal in the village’s most famous hotel
How To Get To Saint Paul de Vence from Nice - Emma Jane Explores
The walls of the city of Saint Paul de Vence

St Paul de Vence FAQs

How far is St Paul de Vence from the beach?

The closest beach to Saint-Paul de Vence is Cagnes-sur-mer which is one of the least touristy beaches on the French Riviera. A drive from St Paul de Vence to the beaches here will take around 15 minutes (approx. 8km).

What is the best time of year to visit St Paul de Vence?

I love visiting the region in the shoulder seasons to try and avoid the peak tourist times. October is a great time to visit as St Paul de Vence is still nice and warm and you can still swim at the French Riviera beaches, but you can avoid the biggest crowds. 

What artists lived in St Paul de Vence?

Famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Jaques Raverat, Fernand Léger and Jean-Michel Folon all either lived in St Paul de Vence or frequented the village regularly to create works of art and enjoy the stunning scenery. Chagall, in particular, had such an affinity to St Paul de Vence that he is buried in the cemetery here. 

How long do I need to visit St Paul de Vence?

Saint Paul de Vence is absolutely possible to do on a day trip from Nice, Cannes, Antibes or one of the other towns along the French Riviera coastline. The village’s charm really comes from strolling around and enjoying the scenery, however there are hotels available for a longer stay if that is desired. 

Is it worth visiting St Paul de Vence?

Absolutely. Saint Paul de Vence is a spectacularly unique village with breathtakingly beautiful surroundings. It is well worth a visit for a change of pace from the bustle of the huge glitzy towns on the coast. 

Should I stay in St Paul de Vence?

This is completely up to you. Hotels in the walled village are expensive because there are not many. However, if you’d like to splash out the extra cash, a longer stay in Saint-Paul de Vence would not be wasted. I think you’d really be able to take in all the great sights and restaurants with an overnight or longer stay and come back feeling very relaxed. 

What other towns are worth visiting in the area?

For beaches and gorgeous European old towns then Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Villefranche-sur-mer or Menton should definitely be on your French Riviera bucket list.

Eze Village is another perched medieval village with wonderful views that is easily accessible from the coast on a day trip.

And a visit to the mountainside town of Grasse, the home of French perfumes is also a great option for a day trip. And if you’d like to visit another country for a day, then the Principality of Monaco is an easy train trip away!

Like this post? Pin to save it for later.

How to get to Saint-Paul de Vence from Nice - Emma Jane Explores - French Riviera Towns
Pin Me!
How to get to Saint-Paul de Vence from Nice - Emma Jane Explores - French Riviera Towns
Pin Me!