A place of art and history with an exceptionally mild climate, the medieval city of Vence is situated in the hills not far from Nice and Antibes. Behind it stand the majestic Baous, steep mountains planted with olive orchards, orange trees and flowers, and, before it, the Mediterranean coast stretches out as far as the eye can see... Vence has a rich past: a Roman city called Vintium, of which some Gallo-Roman vestiges and inscriptions still exist, an important bishopric from 439 up to the French Revolution and the Villeneuve family’s fiefdom in the Middle Ages. It was in the Middle Ages that the walls surrounding the old town were built. Five gates still remain: the Portail Levis (13th cent.), the Tour-Porte du Signadour (13th cent.), the Porte du Peyra (1441), the Porte Pontis and, from much later, the Porte de la Brèche (18th cent.).
When this last one was built the neighbouring houses were realigned to permit Monseigneur Pisani de la Gaude, bishop of Vence, to arrive directly at his palace’s door without having to get out of his carriage. The old centre, with its narrow streets, its medieval and Renaissance houses, its big and little squares, has not changed over the centuries. In the middle stands the very pretty Romanesque cathedral built in the 11th century and the Saint Accolade Tower built in the 12th. The cathedral houses the marble sarcophagus of Saint-Véran, the bishop of Vence, dating from the 6th century and which serves as the altar. You can also admire a beautiful 16th century altarpiece, copper busts, an ensemble of statues in coloured wood and a mosaic by Marc Chagall.