We had heard much about St.Paul-de-Vence, a well-known artist colony and a beautifully located mountain-top walled city. Thus one of the couples we had befriended and we chose to go there together. The taxi driver wanted 120 euros (almost US$150) for the round trip, so we chose to use public transportation. For 1 euro, we took the bus up a steep hill to the center of Villefranche to the main bus station and, for another 5 euros, bought tickets to Nice. There we were dropped at the central bus station and after waiting about 15 minutes boarded the bus for St. Paul. After a delightful and comfortable ride through the center of Nice and then along the famous Promenade des Anglais and further through the countryside, the bus began a steady climb into the hills and after about 50 minutes we arrived at the gate to the walled city of St. Paul-de-Vence.
It clearly was a post card town. High on the hill and surrounded by a thick wall. The streets were steep to climb and all cobble-stoned. The houses were all of stone and in excellent repair. Nearly every other house had an art gallery on the first floor, interspersed only by attractive restaurants. The two ladies in the party were particulaly interested in the art (my wife is a succesful watercolorist) and our friend was looking for an unusual piece of art for her house. At least this way the men could rest in a cool place every few minutes without admitting all the climbing was getting to us. At lunchtime we found a nice Crepery with a delightful outside terrace overlooking the whole valley and enjoyed a wonderful repast. We climbed a part of the wall prepared as a lookout point and saw a beautiful panorama of the landscape with its many trees and vineyards. The town even has a small cemetery, it is impossible to dig deeply into the ground so the tombs and graves are all above ground.
We were lucky when it came time to return -- one of the tours from our ship had an half-empty bus and, when asked, offered to let us board and return us to the ship. Thus ended one of the nicest excursions we made during the whole trip.