• Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/stankuns/9524133910/">chapelle du rosaire</a> by Fernando Stankuns
  • Photo: (c) Paulprescott | Dreamstime.com


If you've visited St-Paul-de-Vence first, Vence will come as something of a relief. Just outside the Old Town, its morning food market, though not extensive, attracts genuine producers from the area (look for Tony and his exceptional socca, a pancake made with chickpea flour), and the cafés facing this square feel more down-to-earth than anything in St-Paul-de-Vence. Inside the stone walls of the Cité Historique (Historical City), the newly restored Place du Peyra invites you to linger, with its restaurant terraces, relatively tasteful shops selling tablecloths or pottery, and a pretty drinking fountain whose water comes directly from the Peyra source. Vence is slightly more conscious of its history than St-Paul-de-Vence; plaques guide you through its historic squares and portes (gates). Wander past the pretty Place du Peyra, with its fountains, and Place Clémenceau, with its ocher-color Hôtel-de-Ville (Town Hall), to Place du Frêne, with its ancient ash tree planted in the 16th century, and don't miss the Rue du Marché's old-fashioned food shops, including a butcher, a baker, and a fishmonger.


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