Vence et le Pays Vençois: En Toute Intimité (Carnet de Visites)
This little book looks to have been issued sometime in the 1990s by the Office de Tourisme in Vence. I say that because there is a price on the back cover of 15 Francs. The Euro was launched on January 1, 2002, so it had to be before that. Additionally, there’s a fax number listed on the back cover and a fax machines didn’t become commonplace until the late 1980s and early 1990s.
IMPORTANT: It is NOT my intention to infringe on anyone’s copyright in any way. I simply want to make this wonderful book available to people who otherwise might not be able to read it, as it is not possible to purchase anymore. If anyone knows of any reason why I should not offer it here, let me know and I will remove the downloads immediately.
[click on any image to see sample pages – more info after the samples]
Subtitled Carnet de Visites (Booklet of Visits), it’s 28 pages long and is written in both French and English. There’s a small table of contents on the front cover overleaf and a place on the reverse of the back cover for “notes.”
It’s a wonderful guide to almost every feature of Vence that would interest anyone visiting and touches on just about everything you need to know regarding the town. The fact that it is written in both French and English make it very useful for all kinds of visitors. After a very brief introduction to the history of the town there is information about Vence’s most famous resident, Henri Matisse, his home and the Chapelle du Rosaire which he designed near the end of his life.
A little information about the old town is followed by a look at Le Château de Villeneuve (Fondation Émile Hugues), now known as the Vence Museum. There is a listing of galleries and artist studios and an “arts and crafts” tour as well. You’ll also find in-depth information on the Cathédral Notre-Dame de la Nativité, the smallest cathedral in all of France, as well as six of the most accessible chapels in and around the town.
If you’re inclined to drive around the nearby area there is an excellent guide to the churches and chapels near Vence in Coursegoules, Saint-Jeannet, Bar-sur-Loup, Tourrettes-sur-Loup and Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Another guide features some of the famous perched villages in the area (well actually four of the above six, but looked at from a different perspective). Regional products such as olive oil, goat cheese, pissaladière (a kind of onion pizza), pastis and wine are featured, along with information on where to find these edible delights.
There’s more information about the fruit, vegetable and flower markets held on various mornings in Vence and neighboring towns and even a short section about pétanque, the revered game of balls in the south of France. Finally, you’ll find some information on hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and canyoning (hiking in rivers).
Some of the information is understandably out of date, this being twenty to thirty years old, but overall it’s an excellent guide to the town, one that I would highly recommend. There are some nice photos, the text is short and easy to read and there is a wonderful drawing of the old town in the center of the booklet.