Vence – City of art
Vence is the home of Château Saint-Martin & Spa; the historic centre of town is only five minutes away for our guests. With much of the original walls intact one enters Vence through the "portes" which date from the 13th and 14th century, while the cathedral itself dates back to the 4th century. Known as "City of Art" it has been an inspirational place for some of the world’s most renowned painters including Chagall and Matisse.
The Chapelle du Rosaire is a magnificent feature, set against a backdrop of the Baou des Blancs, with its extraordinary stained glass windows. There is also the Fondation Émile Hugues, contemporary art museum, housed in the ancient castle. As a long established market town, the narrow streets are often filled with an abundance of flowers, fruits, spices, honey, local produce and patisserie.
Vence is located 3km away (5 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa.
More details on www.vence-tourisme.com
St-Paul de Vence – City of ramparts
St-Paul de Vence is one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera and certainly the most popular, making the cobbled streets invariably crowded. Medieval walls encircle its narrow streets and capture the heritage of more than a thousand years. Famous writers, poets, actors and other notable personalities flocked to the charming town, some of whom made it their permanent residence. Chagall died here, and is buried in the St-Paul de Vence cemetery.
The town is an open-air gallery with artists staging original and lively exhibitions. The creative highlight, with one of the foremost contemporary art collections in Europe, is the Maeght Foundation. This extraordinary private foundation was developed with the enthusiastic collaboration of leading artists, and many original works were conceived as part of the building and gardens such as Miró’s sculptural labyrinth and mural mosaics by Chagall.
St-Paul de Vence is located 7km away (11 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa.
More details on www.saint-pauldevence.com
Biot – City of glass
Biot is a charming Medieval town perched on a hilltop, amidst delightful countryside. It has a remarkably turbulent history destroyed by war and abandoned during a plague but in the 15th century it was repopulated by 50 families from Italy, which is still evident in the particular dialect of Biot. A pottery and ceramics industry evolved, and the town thrived, becoming famous for the large Biot jars.
The streets of Biot are filled with fascinating reflections of its craft history. You can visit La Poterie Provencale, the last traditional jar maker in the town or one of the glass blowing houses for which Biot is renowned today. In particular La Verrerie de Biot, a luminous glass with bubbles encapsulated between two layers of glass. It originated around 1950 when a young chemical engineer developed "bubble glass" by introducing sodium carbonate to the glass melting process. You can visit the legendary studio and discover how to blow glass yourself.
Biot is located 22km away (31 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa.
More details on www.biot-tourisme.com
Mougins – City of gastronomy
With panoramic views from its hilltop and surrounded by fragrant pine forests, the town of Mougins is not just beautiful but has long been of strategic significance in the region. It was a fortified medieval town, with ramparts, some of which exist today. From the 11th century, as a gift from the Count of Antibes, Mougins came under the administration of the winemaking Monks of Saint Honorat. It was damaged in the 18th century during the War of the Austrian Succession, but throughout the 19th century it flourished to a new prosperity.
Today it is a gastronomic stronghold and also renowned for its artistic influence, Picasso settled here for the final fifteen years of his life. The Mougins Museum of Classical Art is a private collection which shows the influence of the neoclassical on contemporary works exhibiting antiquities alongside Picasso, Warhol and Damien Hurst. Each year the world’s gourmands gather in Mougins for the International Gastronomy Festival, while La Place de Mougins and L’Amandier are the town’s most important restaurants, where Roger Vergé and Alain Ducasse honed their talents.
Mougins is located 32km away (31 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa.
More details on www.mougins-tourisme.fr
Eze – City of views
With its strategic hilltop location Eze had a chequered past of occupation; Ancient Greeks, Romans then Moors until the Count of Provence despatched them in 973 BC. In the 14th century the Italian House of Savoy ruled Eze, valuing its proximity to Nice, then came the Spanish succession and Louis XIV destroyed the fortified town. It wasn’t until 1860 that the inhabitants voted to become part of France, along with Nice and more steady times ensued.
Eze is perched on a 420 metre high hilltop with absolutely spectacular views. You enter the walled town through the single postern gate to discover a village of diminutive proportions, with narrow stepped streets and low archways. Charming stone houses are draped in plumbago and jasmine. At the top of the town is the Jardin Exotique planted with giant cacti that pierce the sky and exotic palms that fringe the sweeping panorama of the Côte d’Azur. The exotic flaura make an intriguing contrast to the traditional Riviera surroundings and terracotta roof tiles of this historic village.
Eze is located 45km away (42 minutes by car) from Château Saint-Martin & Spa.
More details on www.eze-tourisme.com