Small booklet with eleven hikes in and around Vence
This is a small booklet released by the City of Vence and the Tourist Office. There’s no date anywhere on it but it doesn’t look too old. It contains eleven short walks in and around the Vence area. Eight are related to the Vence chapels, four are related to water and fountains and the last one is a circuit of trees that grow in the area. All the walks begin and end at the Grand Jardin in the center of Vence.
I digitized the original French version, but I have also created an English version by replacing the original French text with English translations. It was a fair amount of work but I think the results are worth it, as the booklet is now accessible to English speakers. Please note that most of the heavy lifting for the translations was done using Google Translate, so it may not be perfect.
Download a high quality FRENCH PDF of this booklet (619mb) – very large file, be patient
Download a very good quality FRENCH PDF of this booklet (115mb)
Download a good quality FRENCH PDF of this booklet (9.5mb)
[click on any image to see sample pages – more info after the samples]
The first walk is an easy 2km outing to the Chapelle du Rosaire, the famous chapel designed by Henri Matisse. The walk itself will probably take about 40 minutes and also includes a stop at one of Vence’s other most popular chapels, the Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs.
An easy walk of about 2.5km, this short circuit takes you past one of the oldest chapels in Vence, the Chapelle Saint Crépin, which has now been converted into a garage. The Chemin du Calvaire is up next, a street with not just one but six chapels. The Grand Chapelle du Calvaire is the biggest and most important, but it was originally surrounded by ten other smaller chapels, on which only five now remain.
An easy walk of about 4.2km, this is an “out and back” walk that will take you about an hour. You’ll pass by another old chapel, the Chapelle Saint Pons, that has been unfortunately converted into a garage and then down the hill leading into Vence to one of the most prominent chapels in the town, Chapelle Sainte Elisabeth.
An easy walk of about 3.5kms to the Chapelle Saint Lambert on the eastern side of Vence. It’s an “out and back” walk but they offer a small extension to make it more of a loop.
The Chapelle Saint Raphaël is located a few kilometers outside of Vence and this hike is a bit more difficult than the previous ones. You should allow at least three hours to make this walk which is around 8kms and will take you through a beautiful stretch of wooded land. The route makes a big loop and on the way back you’ll pass by the Chapelle Notre Dame de Bon Voyage which is now in partial ruins and privately owned.
This walk takes you past two old mills located on the Lubiane River before arriving at the Chapelle Sainte Colombe. It makes a little loop at the end and then returns back the same way. It’s around 4.6kms and should take you about 1 and 1/2 hours.
The last of the chapel hikes is a loop to the Chapel Sainte Anne which includes a stop at le Balcon du Malvan. An easy walk, it’s about 3kms and should take a bit less than a hour.
At 8.5kms this “out and back” walk is the longest in the booklet. It takes you to an old flour mill situated on the Cagnes River southwest of Vence. You’ll arrive at a point where a bridge once crossed the river for access to the mill. The bridge is long gone and if you want to actually explore the mill you’ll need to cross the river on foot which is not always easy depending on the flow. You should plan on spending around three hours on this walk.
The Malvan River is another river that flows through Vence and this walk of about 6kms should take about 2 hours as you cross over the river twice.
The Foux spring is what provides water to the fountains in Vence and this walk of 5.2kms will take you to the source. It should take around 1 and 1/2 hours. An optional addition of another 2kms will take you up to the Baou des Blancs the large cliff that overlooks Vence. If you have the time and energy this is an addition that I would highly recommend. But, be prepared to do some climbing to get there.
The last walk in the booklet is a leisurely circuit through and around Vence that is designed to showcase the many types of trees that grow in the area. Over a dozen different species are noted with special icons on the map to show you where examples of each can be found. This is a fun and informative walk that is perfect to children. It begins at Le Frêne, a 500 year old tree located near the entrance to the old town and makes a loop in and around the town.