Edition du Syndicat d’Initiative de Vence

August 23, 2023

A wonderful 88 page book from the late 1930s by the Vence Tourist Office with tons of information and photos about the town.

Steve and Carole in Vence - VENCE: Edition du Syndicat d'Initiative de Vence

I found this book at the weekly brocante (antiques and such) sale that is held every Wednesday here in Vence on the Grand Jardin. There is no date listed anywhere but based on the content I think it must have been released in 1937 or 1938. It was published by the Syndicat d’Initiative de Vence, the name of the old Tourist Office.

The book is divided into over 20 small chapters, each one covering a certain aspect of Vence (see table of contents below). The publication is clearly targeted towards tourists who might be considering visiting Vence but there is also a lot of information for people who might be considering moving to the town. Many vintage black and white photos are contained on the various pages.

It’s a fascinating look back at Vence almost 100 years ago. Clearly many things have changed but at the same time, many things remain the same. There’s information about the history of the town, the climate, location and the water (for which it was well known even then). There are numerous hiking suggestions and several tours of the area by car as well as information about sports, hunting and fishing.

The second half of the book is devoted to more in-depth information, more suited to someone who is looking to move to Vence: education information for their children, cost of living information, real estate costs, etc. There is even some detailed information about building modern houses with modern kitchens that is kind of interesting. Several pages are devoted to enticing French people living overseas in one of the many (at the time) French colonies to consider Vence as a place to retire.

Things are brought to a close with some excerpts from famous writers praising Vence and detailing all of the reasons they love it so much. For example, from Mr. Henri Giraud we have:

I say this without conceit, confident that I won’t be contradicted by those who have visited: My village is the most beautiful in the world. It is the radiant gem of Ligurian Provence. It stands proudly at the foot of gray baous, amidst landscapes divinely enchanted, the very ones that God must have certainly chosen when creating the terrestrial paradise. It is curious, picturesque, rich in old inscriptions, welcoming and hospitable. It has a faithful guardian in its Baou, which overlooks it, still holding on its plateau the remnants of its ancient citadel, for it has known all the assaults and fought all the battles.

The book is written completely in French, except for a small Preface in English. I have scanned the entire book and published it as a PDF in three different file sizes. I have also translated the entire book to English and carefully recreated it in its original design and layout so that anyone who doesn’t speak French can easily read and enjoy it. See the download links below.

Table of Contents:

  • Indications for coming to Vence
  • Preface
  • Preface (text in English)
  • Historical Notice
  • Location – Climate – Water
  • Tour of the City
  • The Surroundings of Vence
  • Walks on Foot
  • Journeys by Car
  • General Information
  • Sports
  • Hunting and Fishing
  • The Cost of Living in Vence
  • Education in Vence
  • Vence, Colonial Resort
  • Vence, Climatic Resort
  • The Evolution of Vence
  • Real Estate Study
  • Housing Evolution of Vence
  • Author Appreciations
  • – Excerpt from Homeland by Dominique Durandy
  • – Excerpts from Vence its Monuments by Jacques Daurelle
  • – Excerpt from a Lecture by Henri Giraud
  • Authoritative Opinions
  • – by A. Cheyssial
  • – by Humbert Ricolfi
  • – by Dr. Paul Bergeon
  • – by Dr. F. Barbary
  • – by Denys Amiel
  • – by General Maroix
  • – by A. Bertrand

   Download a high quality PDF of this book in FRENCH (111mb)
   Download a very good quality PDF of this book in FRENCH (14mb)
   Download a high quality PDF of this book in ENGLISH (35mb)
   Download a very good PDF of this book in ENGLISH (2mb)

[click on any image to see sample pages]

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