Vence

A delightful old cathedral town on a rocky ridge, Vence has long attracted artists. English writer DH Lawrence died here in 1930. Vence was a bishop's see from the 4th- to the 19th- centuries. Its notable prelates included Saint Véran (died AD 492), and the former wit and ladies' confidant, Bishop Godeau (1605-72). The 11th-century cathedral is the smallest in France.


(Left: 12th-century Saint Lambert tower; Right: the 19th-century crenellated bell tower)

Built in the 4th-century on the site of an ancient Roman temple, the Cathédrale Notre Dame de la Nativité was added onto during the 11th- &12th-centuries, and again in the 19th- century. The 51 oak and pear choir stalls inside the cathedral are carved with satirical figures. In 1979, Marc Chagall designed the colorful mosaic, Moses in the Bulrushes, in the chapel baptistery.

Henri Matisse decorated the Chapel of the Rosary between 1947 and 1951 to thank the Dominican nuns who nursed him through an illness; he was 81 when the chapel was completed. The Stations of the Cross are reduced to black lines tinted with stained glass.

The modest chapel is a simple collection of white walls, laced with yellow, green, and blue stained-glass windows and charcoal black-on-white tile sketches.

Back to top

Provence & Riviera trip homepage

_______________________________________________________________________