VILLA – ST. PAUL DE VENCE.

Posted by admin in Property Investment, Property Letters | July 30th 2005

Price – 800 000€
Living space –
Size of plot –
Tax Fonciere –
Tax d’Habitation –
Charges and Levys (if applicable) –
Approximate construction – 1950
Distance to Cannes – 30 minutes: Antibes – 20 minutes: Nice Airport – 20 minutes

The local geography and outlook;

The typically Provencal Villa is set on a hillside adjacent to St Paul de Vence. It faces south and the view in front is of forested hills, broken by occasional villas, tumbling down to the Mediterranean. The sea view is distant but panoramic. To the East is a lovely view of the old city of St Paul de Vence with its mediaeval towers and 15th century walls. To the West and above the Villa to the North are forested hillsides, broken up again by more villas and some ancient terracing still visible. The “neighborhood” is prestigious and discreet with quiet lanes and quality homes.
The property;
Entry to the property is through a shared electric gateway, to a tarred drive and spacious parking area, with a double garage. (The adjacent villa sharing the entrance gate turns right after the gate and is entirely independent as a driveway and for its parking)
One descends through a garden and lawns interspersed with three hundred year old olive trees, down stone steps to the villa. In front of the villa is a terrace and lovely pool, with a covered summer house and braai area. An established rose garden separates the pool area from a garden of shrubs, lavender and rosemary, and terraces descending to a flat area of mown grass below which is perfect for children to kick a ball and play in. Access to the grass below is under an arch of roses, and down a sleeper and stone stepped path through the shrubbery and another, lower arch. The bottom terrace also has to one side of it an ancient well and sun benches. The western edge of the property has a very well established and impenetrable hedge separating it from the adjacent property, while the eastern side is bordered by a smaller hedge as there is not another property as close by.

The villa;
The villa was renovated four years ago and it has been used only occasionally for holidays by the Italian owners since.
The large main room is divided into a dining and a sitting area, and opens up from each of them via big sliding glass doors directly onto the covered patio. The sitting room part of it is dominated by an attractive stone fireplace, and the walls are of original uncovered pale stone and mortar which is lovely. The floors throughout the villa are of cream tiles. The dining area is plastered and painted so that the division between the two areas of what is actually one long large room, is accentuated.
The dining area leads to a separate large “Provencal” kitchen in white and yellow with a separate pantry. It is fully equipped, and comfortably accommodates a table and six chairs if one wants to use it for breakfasts. Above the work surfaces is an expansive wooden framed window looking out at the garden with its olive trees, and St Paul de Vence beyond. It also has its own door straight out onto the patio and pool area.
Both the main and second double bedrooms are on the ground floor and look out at the garden and terraces behind. Each is very well cupboarded, with the main room having a walk in dressing room. Both have their own lovely, luxurious and spacious bathrooms en suite. There is a separate guest toilet.
Upstairs are a large playroom (or sitting room or work room), and two large double bedrooms which share a huge modern bathroom. The shapes of the rooms are irregular and interesting, and the ceilings and their wooden beams slope with the roof in different directions, with a lovely skylight brightening the bathroom. There is a lot of space and a great deal of charm and interest on the top floor.
The whole villa is air conditioned.

St Paul de Vence;
The wall and ramparts around the town were financed by Emperor Charles V in about 1540, and still stand in their entirety. St Paul de Vence was used as a military outpost until the end of the 19th century, and towering above its walls are still watchtowers dating back to the 12th century. The narrow streets and ancient buildings, carefully protected, are some of the loveliest in the region.
This town is also as bound up with contemporary art as any town in France. It is the home of the wonderful “Fondation Maeght” and has a unique chapel painted by Matisse, and both D.H. Lawrence and Marc Chagall died there. It is still the home today of writers and artists.
La Colombe d’Or is a restaurant which has been in operation since the First World War. Its first owner was an unschooled farmer named Paul Roux who developed a love of art, and he accepted paintings in exchange for hospitality for 40 years from the impoverished artists who flocked here. These included Picasso, Matisse, Bonnard and many others. By the time he died he had accumulated one of the finest private collections in France, and today we can all enjoy a great meal surrounded by these marvelous and unique pieces. The menu is reasonably priced, especially for lunches.
The Fondation Maecht is described in the Cadogan Guide as being the best reason of many to visit St Paul de Vence. Its founders Aime and Marguerite Maecht, friends of Matisse and Bonnard, were struck by tragedy when their son Bernard died of leukemia in 1953. They converted a dilapidated chapel near their home into a memorial to him, bringing together their collection of art and those of their artist friends and providing a place for them to work and exchange ideas. The setting was designed by a Catalan architect and student of Le Corbusier named Jose-Luis Sert, and the changes in level, the rainwater traps and fountains, the light traps, are all integrated discreetly and incorporated into the grounds, while the interiors are gently illuminated by stained glass windows by Raoul Ubac. The permanent collection of almost 6000 pieces today includes works by almost every major artist of the past century, and the sculpture gardens and courtyards contain some of the greatest works in the world, many created on site. Today it still operates as an art workshop, a film studio, and houses one of the world’s most extensive art libraries.

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