"Matisse's Vence" Vence by NiceLife

Vence Travel Guide: 22 reviews and 62 photos

Vence: your local Matisserie

You buy pastry from a patisserie. So you get your Matisse from a Matisserie, right?.

The main reason to visit Vence is the legacy of Matisse, where a number of his masterworks are to be seen.

Here is the wonderous stain glass of his Chapelle du Rosaire, which he described as the culmination of his lifes work,created while he was in his eighties. Everything is white - walls, ceilings, doors, except for the lemon yellow, bottle green and ultramarine of the glass, flooding the chapel with calming coloured light.

Unexpectedly moving.

Matisse was nursed through his final years in ill-health here in Vence by a former model of his, who had joined the convent next door to this chapel

The chapel is a brisk walk out of Vence, which also gives you the chance to see the whole of the town from the hillside opposite. Vence is perhaps better looked at from outside than from inside looking out.

Chagall mosaic in the baptistry of the Cathedral

Not to be seen as just a one-artist town, Vence resident Marc Chagall executed this beautiful mosaic of Moses in the Bullrushes fittingly overlooking the baptistry font.

In 1971 all the members of The Rolling Stones moved to the South of France as tax-exiles. Bassist Bill Wyman ended up staying a dozen years. In Vence, near St Paul , he bought a plot of land, built a house, and then found himself near Marc Chagall. Chagall was in his eighties by then, but he and Bill quickly established a warm friendship., celebrated in the limited edition photography book "Wyman shoots Chagall"

Other rock residents include Jon Anderson, lead vocalist of 80's band Yes, who created a recording studio in a converted farmhouse near Vence.

More Matisse: Chapel of the Penitents

Within the Chapel of the Penitents can be seen Matisse's Stations of the Cross as a grossly-simplified black and white sketch. Entrance is free.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:St Paul de Vences older brother
  • Cons:Perhaps lacking the charm and intensity of St Paul
  • In a nutshell:Artists works and some interesting views
  • Last visit to Vence: Aug 2004
  • Intro Updated Aug 7, 2004
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Reviews (7)

Comments (4)

  • themajor's Profile Photo
    Feb 13, 2007 at 8:59 AM

    Not a place I'd previously heard of. I can only assume you spend your days tripping over illiterate British tourists who think they've come to Venice?

  • Helga67's Profile Photo
    Sep 16, 2005 at 12:37 AM

    Nice to see Vence again through your pages. It's a lovely place

  • olja1234's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2005 at 12:21 AM

    Very likable page. Thanks for sharing. Greets.

  • vivalasteph's Profile Photo
    Aug 7, 2004 at 6:45 AM

    So glad to find Vence among your pages. The Matisse chapel was a very moving experience. The quality of light inside was breathtaking, wasn't it?

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