Hidden behind a large stone wall in the pretty little town of Saint-Paul de Vence is an iconic restaurant and hotel, the Colombe d’Or. As you walk in through its giant gated archway you are met by a giant thumb, the work of French sculptor César. Hung on its walls are paintings and illustrations by Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Léger and Braque; centimetres from the pools edge is a giant Calder sculpture. Artists flocked to the Colombe d’Or from the 1920s through to the 1950s, where its owner Paul Roux would entertain them and in exchange for a piece of art would feed them and give them a bed for the night.
As I entered the courtyard I was struck by its beauty and relaxed atmosphere. Tables sit close together but with plants used tentatively here and there you are given your privacy. The waiting staff are kind and welcoming, there is no stuffiness here, even though the Colombe d’Or is a world-renowned restaurant and frequented by the likes of Madonna, Victoria Beckham, Jack Nicholson and Leonardo di Caprio. On the day we visited Roger Moore was also dinning on the terrace, I actually go to meet Bond!
The food was the best we had in the South of France and we ate a lot of very good food. The sea bass I ordered was exceptional and the crème caramel I had for dessert was just as I remembered it as a child. I can also highly recommend the house champagne, we were celebrating our wedding after-all.