Villa HippoCampo

St. Paul de Vence

La Colombe D’or—a Very Special Experience In St. Paul De Vence

When you book your stay at Villa Hippocampo in Villefranche-sur-Mer, one of the must-see places is the La Colombe d’Or in Saint Paul de Vence. We’ll share a guide to this world-famous place and everything that makes La Colombe d’Or unique and appealing to many.

First, we need to outline the appeal of Saint Paul de Vence. This medieval fortified town in the French Riviera is among the most charming, quaint, and famous towns. The town is surrounded by massive walls built in the 15th century, and you can explore the main street, Rue Grande, and the many alleys and stairways that branch out to the sides.

Hidden among the alleys are restaurants, galleries, and cute artistry shops. However, the most remarkable features are the cobblestone streets where the stones are laid in flower shapes, the many public fountains and stonewalls covered with creeping vines and bright bougainvillea, and other Mediterranean blooms.

The Golden Dove – The Gem of Saint Paul de Vence

The Golden Dove – The Gem of Saint Paul de Vence

It is also famous for the world-famous hotel and restaurant La Colombe d’Or, but also for the many famous guests who visit the place. The hotel was founded over 100 years ago by the Roux family, who are still running the place, as a small café that later grew into an inn with only three rooms and a restaurant. However, the owners were devoted to creating a stunning place, and they hired a famous architect who built the stone façade, expanded the capacity to twenty-five rooms, and designed the central fireplace.

Priceless Art & Food Experience

During the 1940s, the French Riviera became a “free zone,” many artists and intellectuals fled here, favoring Saint Paul de Vence and the La Colombe d’Or. It helped that the owners were great art lovers and allowed artists to pay their bills with their artwork. It was how the owners were able to amass a priceless private collection. The same collection can be seen everywhere, and even today, many notable artists still gift their art to La Colombe d’Or.

Famous Guests

Some of the most notable guests of the town and hotel include Jean-Paul Sartre, Pablo Picasso, Matisse, Yves Montand, Simone Sigornet, Lino Ventura, and Jacques Prevert. However, these are not the only names who’ve resided in Saint Paul de Vence, as other notable artists have also lived in the town, including Jacques Raverat, Gwen Raverat, and Marc Chagall, who is buried in the town’s cemetery. As you can see, Saint Paul de Vence and La Colombe d’Or were and still are favored by artists, authors, and poets. It is common to see Bono, Michael Caine, or Roger Moore, among other celebrities, dining out on the La Colombe d’Or terrace.

Provence and the Mediterranean on a Plate

The food is fantastic and features specialties created with local ingredients. An excerpt from the book “La Colombe d’Or” summarizes the dining experience: “The main ingredient in the cuisine is sunshine. The menu, concocted by Paul Roux, features a basket of crudités and a host of famous starters: grilled peppers in olive oil, caramelized onions, stuffed baby vegetables, baked Provençal tomatoes, beans, anchovies, aubergines, and other specialties from the Mediterranean. Sensual but unpretentious dining that reminds guests that their host is a family.”

Much More than Food

Much More than Food

La Colombe d’Or is in the center of the happenings, and the restaurant looks more like an art exhibition than a traditional restaurant. The large wooden doors and the stained glass dove sign welcome everyone, and once you cross the threshold, you are transported into another world altogether. The walls of the dining patio are lined with letters, photos, various art pieces, and expensive paintings.

The dining patio at the La Colombe d’Or features an intimate setting with carved wood stools and small tables. The patio is partially shaded by large fig and olive trees, looking over the lovely terracotta roofs in the distance. In summer, guests can dine on the terrace, overlooking the impressive views, and in winter, lunch is inside, near the crackling fire in the impressive stone fireplace. However, art flows from every pore of the place, and everywhere you look, you can discover a hidden gem from incredible murals, statues, and much more.

When you stay at Villa Hippocampo in Villefranche-sur-Mer, you are only 26 km away from Saint Paul de Vence, so you can easily plan a day trip: walk the flower-like cobblestones of the town and have a complete lunch experience at the exquisite La Colombe d’Or.