Vence is a picturesque town on the Côte d’Azur, right at the foot of the French Maritime Alps. Perched high on a rock, the city, which belongs to the Nice metropolitan area, was founded in Roman times. Vence has numerous historical monuments and attractions. Above all, the historic old town of the town gives Vence its unique romantic character. No wonder that since the 19th century Vence has become a popular place of residence for artists, writers and wealthy people from all over the world. Prominent residents of Vence in the past included Curd Jürgens, Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse.
Cathedral de la Nativité-de-Marie
One of the most famous buildings in the formerly fortified old town of Vence is the Romanesque Cathedral de la Nativité-de-Marie. It dates from late antiquity and was built on the foundations of a former Roman temple. The historically significant church building with its numerous testimonies from Merovingian times was changed and expanded again and again into the Middle Ages. A chapel inside the Cathedral de la Nativité-de-Marie shows a mosaic designed by Marc Chagall from 1911. A visit to the cathedral is of course a must on any study trip along the Côte d’Azur.
Historic old town of Vence
The same applies to the picturesque old town of Vence. If the visibility is good, you have a wonderful view of the French Riviera coast and its vast hinterland from its city walls. The numerous cafes, galleries and shops of the “Ville medieval” of Vence, around the market square, the Place du Grand Jardin, always invite you to linger. Also recommended for a walk through Vence: a visit to the famous Rosary Chapel, the so-called “Chapelle Matisse”. The chapel, built for the nuns of the Dominican Order after the Second World War, was designed with great effort by the French painter Henri Matisse. The chapel, consecrated in 1951, contains, among other things, wall decorations and glass windows based on Matisse’s designs.
Nice old town
The old town of Nice should not be missed when visiting the south-east of France. After all, the old town is one of the main attractions of the popular port city on the Côte d’Azur. The most popular part of the 350,000-inhabitant city is characterized by numerous narrow streets, in which there is a lot to discover, and numerous magnificent buildings. Due to the various flower, vegetable and fish markets, there is always a very special flair in the entire old town. In addition to countless small and large insider tips, the old town of Nice naturally also offers some sights. Among other things, you shouldn’t miss the remains of the former fortress on the so-called castle hill. From the 100 meter high hill you have a breathtaking view of the entire city. Other imposing buildings that you should definitely visit on a walk through Nice are the City Hall, the Palace of Justice and the Cathédrale Ste. Réparate. You can also take a stroll along the banks of the river Le Paillon.
The heart of the old town of Nice: Promenade des Anglais
The port of Nice is right next to the castle hill. The heart of the old town of Nice is the Promenade des Anglais. The beach promenade directly on the Mediterranean Sea, where thousands of walkers, joggers and skateboarders frolic every day, is lined with large hotels and small restaurants.
Lyon old town
The old town of Lyon has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, as it is a living testimony to over 2000 years of uninterrupted settlement history. Lyon thus has one of the most historically valuable old towns in France. Study trips to the old town of Lyon give an insight into the trading city of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and at the same time allow a glimpse into the modern metropolis and capital of the Rhône-Alpes region.
Vieux Lyon – Old Lyon
With an area of 424 hectares, Vieux Lyon is one of the largest Renaissance quarters in Europe. The old town is made up of the three quarters of Saint Jean, Saint Paul and Saint Georges.
The Saint Jean district was the center of political and religious power in the Middle Ages. Here is also the impressive Gothic Cathedral of St. Jean, seat of the Archbishop of Lyon. The Manécanterie, probably the oldest completely preserved building in the city, is located directly at the cathedral. The choir school, built in the 11th century, now houses the diocese’s treasury with valuable liturgical implements, books and clothing.
Saint Paul was created in its current form in the 15th and 16th centuries. Above all, wealthy Italian merchants built their large townhouses here – the famous Hôtels Particuliers. Two of them are the Hôtel Bullioud and the Hôtel de Gadagne. The latter is now home to the city’s historical museum. On the northern edge of the quarter stands the Saint Paul church with its Romanesque towers.
Silk weavers populated the Saint Georges quarter in the 16th century. The first so-called “Traboules” were built here in the Middle Ages, narrow passages through houses and backyards, which sometimes connect the houses and alleys with one another via steep spiral staircases. Around 40 of these traboules are now also open to travelers and are considered the most important landmarks of the city by the “real” Lyons.