La Colombe d’Or, where Picasso and Matisse got discovered

La Colombe d'Or, where Picasso and Matisse got discovered

Remember how I mentioned that my definition of local is anything that can be accessed by car or a short flight? Well South of France is one of those destinations. For our Easter holiday we decided to take our car and drive to the French Riviera, one of my all time favorite spots in the world. It encompasses all the elements that I look for when vacationing: breath-taking landscape, amazing beaches, sun, fun, and the possibility of staying low-key or live it up like Mick Jagger!

This post is about my dream town, Saint-Paul de Vence, and more specifically La Colombe d’Or. We never fail to go there, even if it’s to look at the art on the walls. The restaurant offers an exquisite menu which makes me salivate just thinking about it! Luckily for us we were able to get a table without having had a reservation 🙂

Here is a little excerpt about the fascinating history of this place (copy from their website)

“The Colombe d’Or started life in 1920 as “Chez Robinson”, a café bar with an open air-terrace where people would dance at weekends. It soon attracted characters from the neighbourhood, which gave the idea to Paul with the support of his wife Baptistine “Titine”, to extend and reopen as the Colombe d’Or, an inn of 3 rooms. The friendly atmosphere together with Paul’s deep interest in the arts brought the visit of many artists and the walls were soon covered by paintings, which often were exchanged for a stay or a few meals.

In 1940 the south became the “free zone” and a whole variety of thinkers and artists moved to the Cote d’Azur turning the Colombe d’Or into one of their places to meet. Jacques Prevert for instance, on the set of Carnet’s “Devils Envoys” lodged at the hotel and somehow never left, he moved to the village and became Paul’s close friend. The careful expansion continued with the facade being assembled with stones from an old castle in Aix-en-Provence and the architect Jacques Couelle designing a fireplace with the hand imprints of the people who helped to build it.

The end of the war saw the arrival of the international crowd and the new friendships between Paul’s son Francis and new visitors: Yves Montand, Lino Ventura, Serge Reggiani. Francis married Yvonne a young women of Danish origin and together they followed in Paul’s steps, commissioning amongst other things a colourful ceramic by Fernand Leger for the terrace. The fifties were the time of Miro, Braque, Chagall, followed by the time of Calder, Cesar and all the others, it is also, in 1951, the story of Montand and Simone Signoret and their wedding in Saint-Paul. The art collection has grown years after years until today; the latest work installed is a large ceramic by the Irish artist Sean Scully for the swimming pool area.

And the Roux family continues to take care of the Colombe d’Or.”



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