Sightseeing and street style in St Paul de Vence

Tuesday 18 August 2015
Outfit: Panama hat, Miu Miu sunglasses, Love Sam top, 7FAM denim cutoffs (similar), Hermes Cape Cod watch, Birkenstock Arizona sandals and Louis Vuitton Speedy.

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Years ago, I gasped in horror when an acquaintance revealed that she'd spent the last 15 summers at a secluded cove in southern Peloponnese (Greece). I couldn't comprehend the thought of re-visiting the same place, year after year as if it were a habit that had become too ingrained in one's psyche to ever contemplate even the smallest change. Lately, I've had a change of heart about traveling, after having gone on the road with a big group where there was this constant pressure to hurry along and cram every church, gallery, museum or some amazing touristy spot in the shortest space of time. We had to re-orientate ourselves each time we moved from place to place. It felt like work. It was exhausting. Having a vacation in a city that I'm familiar with like Nice was a relief to a certain extent.

In fact, the idea of a familiar place, soaking in the atmosphere, perching my tush on a chair and people watch to my heart's content, wandering aimlessly to explore a new area and stopping to have a chat with a local or two sounded pretty darn close to heaven. Provided that I'm the mistress of my own schedule. In the past, I'd learned so much from elderly residents who were keen to share remarkable oral history of places that had never been recorded in history books. These are memories that I still hold very dear to my heart.

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This was my second visit to St Paul de Vence, a medieval walled town set in the hills, an hour and a half from Nice. It boasts several famous artists and actors amongst its residents but the one that left a indelible mark here would have to be Marc Chagall. The husband nipped into a few galleries and casted longing looks at the signed Chagall lithographs that had way too many zeros on their price tags.

It's impossible not to be enamored by St Paul's beauty as soon as you walk through its main entrance. It's an elegant historic town with uniformed rustic stone buildings, charming wooden shutters, cobbled stairways and cascading flowering vines. Sorry.....I'm starting to sound like St Paul tourism board now.....

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It seemed like half of Britons and Parisians exiled themselves to South of France in the month of August. Who wouldn't if you're getting guaranteed sunshine - perhaps the only dose of Vitamin D you'll be absorbing in summer (Northern know what I'm sayin' ). St Paul, like any other towns in Provence and along Côte D'Azur was packed with day trippers armed with smartphones and cameras slinging on our necks. One middle aged Eastern European woman was so incensed that other tourists (and me) were unknowingly blocking her view while she was trying to capture her holy grail shot with her iPad that she stomped her foot and let out a long string of curses.

It's interesting to observe how the advent of smartphones and Instagram has changed the way we travel. Gone were the days when you'd take in the view and have a chat with those around you. These days, everyone raise their smartphones in silence, much like a Roman Catholic priest as he offers up a goblet of wine during communion. And then frantically snap away and then tap tap tap (again in silence) share on Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, WeChat, Weibo, Twitter and a million other social media so that everyone and anyone knows we're HERE.

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There were quite a few depot-ventes (secondhand stores) in Provence. I've been to most of them. I haven't found a bargain at any of the depot-ventes including the ones in Paris. I'm generalizing here because I've met a smidgeon of good dealers though they are in the minority. What I've noticed is the resale price of luxury goods here is extremely high despite their poor condition. I've seen a sold-as-new-but-it's-not Hermes Kelly at twice its retail price yet the stubborn owner steadfastly insisted her intel was right despite getting all the facts (retail price, condition and leather) wrong. So buyers beware unless you have done your research well.

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You might see a common thread in these 3 photos. Yes, you're talking to a Hermes fan here. I hope these 3 ladies don't mind but I love their bags and outfits. I adore proper street style of the everyday woman who is well dressed with comfort in mind (casual or otherwise).


  1. As this is one of my favorite villages in the world, I love everything about this post - and your white Birkin, the Hermes eye candy and endless cobblestone charm. I miss it so much!

    1. Time to head back to Europe. The euro has dipped so perhaps that may be a great excuse.

  2. Oops, I guess Google thinks Birks= Birkin. And I know you don't have a white Birkin...yet...

  3. I want to go to this village so much, looking at holidays for next year in this area (expensive!) We encountered the same i-phone picture madness in Saint Emilion this summer, although I never saw a stomped foot .... funny. Beautiful pictures and especially the first one of you. x

    1. I keep on meaning to thank you for popping me on your blog list - thank you Marlene : )

    2. my pleasure, Annemarie. LOVE your style! I saw your photos of St Emilion. Looks so beautiful. There are so many places I want to visit. It'll practically take me a lifetime to see them all.

  4. What lovely pictures! So glad you are having a very good trip. Wish we were all there! I'm sorry you hadn't been feeling so great (but happy to hear you are over it). Please reach out any time you need to chat - I am always here to talk! Hugs - S in HK/NY

  5. Oh Marlene, these photos are breath-taking ...

    1. Thank you, Helen. St Paul is simply stunning. It's really hard to take a bad picture of the place.

  6. Beautiful photos!

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