Article by True Foodies
Provence, in the South-Eastern part of France, is a sunny region famous for its lavender fields, Mediterranean coast and beautiful villages…
As you enter the village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence you head first toward the sandy square just outside the gates of this beautiful walled town.
The square is usually hosting a match of boules with plenty of locals soaking up the sun and some Pastis- the local apéritif, at the Café de La Place. As you walk toward the square you pass an open wooden doorway – and – inevitably you stop to peer in. This doorway is the entrance to the enticing walled terrace of La Colombe d’Or.
Although there is nothing on the outside to tell you why you are so curious to see what is inside, when you peer through those gates you are greeted with a little slice of Provencale heaven and – you don’t know it yet – an incredible history.
La Colombe d’Or is the family owned restaurant and inn of the Roux family. Opened in 1931 by Paul Roux and his wife Baptistine, it was an unpretentious place for people to gather. What no one imagined then, were the people who would end-up making La Colombe d’Or their home away from home.
After World War I and through World War II many French artists were painting in the Cote d’Azur, among them Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and Fernand Léger. They began to gather at La Colombe d’Or and Paul Roux befriended them, began to collect their work, and often traded accommodation or meals for art.
The owner’s generosity has resulted in a priceless collection of art at La Colombe d’Or that is like one you would see in the Musee d’Orsay – except it is casually hung everywhere you look. As you head to the bar down a small hallway you pass a Chagall and a Matisse. A Miro and Picasso hang in the dining-room next to one of Paul Roux’s own works. A Calder mobile sits next to the heated outdoor pool. Priceless pieces are even hung in the guest rooms.
Inside, an intimate cozy dining room around a large fireplace with whitewashed walls and wooden beams. Outside, the terrace with ivy covered walls has tables set under the shade of white umbrellas during the day, and candle-lit in the evening.
The menu – a work of art of its own- consists of deliciously prepared, unpretentious but perfect food. Timeless French classics such as escargots, or boeuf bourgignon mixed with fresh local dishes such as asparagus in a hollandaise sauce, a plate of fried anchovies, a basket of crudites.
If you are staying in one of our French Riviera villas, this place is a must and it won’t disappoint.
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