The medieval city of SAINT-PAUL which is built within space-shaped walls and standing over green terraces of vineyards, bougainvillea, mimosa and cypress – plus lots of recently-built villas. The walled feudal city, with arch and cannon pointing right at the visitor, was built by François 1st in the 16th Century as a defence against Nice and the Dukes of Savoy.
It has long been famous as an heaven for artists, writers and movie stars. Picasso, Matisse and Chagall have all lived and created there, while numerous European stars and starlets call it their home. However, its notoriety has not detracted from its simple beauty and charm. People come to pay homage to its majestic Gothic church; its numerous sidestreets are quiet and clean. Craftsmen, such as olive-wood carvers, rope makers, weavers and silk painters sit working on doorsteps or in little shops.
Needless to say, the shopping is varied in the 40 little shops and 70 art galleries and it is not unusual to walk out unknowingly with an art piece that may one day become very valuable. Under the large plane trees of the “Place du Général de Gaulle”, local people usually play a lively game of Pétanque (bowls): this is the typical outdoor bowling game played with leaded balls, in southern France.