Posted on

I lost my heart in… St Paul de Vence, France

Gloria Hunniford

Why? Because of the softness of the light. All the major painters painted there years ago for that reason. In the early mornings the light can be almost pinkish. It’s an exquisite medieval village 12 minutes by car from Nice airport, right back in the hills in the South of France. There is a family hotel, La Columbe D’Or, and years back when the painters had no money the then owner took pity on them and provided free meals in return for a painting. All those paintings still hang in the dining room to this day – so when you eat there it’s like eating in the most wonderful art gallery. I discovered the village in 1982 and then for about 10 years we teamed up with another family and had every Christmas out there.

The best thing: The smells and the sounds. I can still smell the smells, like wood burning down in the valley accompanied by the echoes of barking dogs. Also, there’s such a wealth of galleries and museums in the region that from a cultural point of view it’s fantastic. Anywhere you eat, you eat very well. As you also have to walk everywhere up that mountain you still feel healthier, even if you are probably eating and drinking more than you would at home.

Continue reading…

Posted on

Queen on tour

The Riviera is one of the world’s most chic resorts, but it took a woman with a reputation for prudishness to put it on the map. Michael Nelson on how Queen Victoria paved the way for royalty and the rich

‘Oh, if only I were at Nice, I should recover,” said Queen Victoria as she was dying. As it is, this is the centenary of her death, and so it seems appropriate to follow in her footsteps across the region in which stayed nine times.

The Riviera wrought a transformation on the last two decades of Queen Victoria’s life. Whenever she arrived on French soil her face lit up, she became exuberant and girlish and she shed many of the inhibitions of her life in England.

Continue reading…