Hotel Life: La Colombe d'Or

La Colombe d’Or in Saint-Paul de Vence was on my list of hotels I wanted to stay at someday...  

The small hotel dates back to the 1920’s when local artists like Picasso, Signac, Dufy, Bonnard and Matisse would exchange paintings for a meal and place to sleep. By the 1950’s, Colombe d’Or had amassed an assortment of art that also included artists like Chagall, Miro, Braque, Calder, Modigliani and Leger. Today the private collection is so large that it is rotated like a gallery, displayed organically amongst the walls and hotel grounds. It reminded me of when I went to Naoshima, where there is no obstruction between art and viewer. All of the art is enjoyed freely without the structure and confines of a modern museum.


There’s something heavenly about being able to swim in a heated pool while staring up a giant Calder mobile. A Braque mosaic bird shines behind a pair of lounge chairs while towering dark green cypress trees set against a pink house stand guard for shade. On the other side of the pool, beneath the multi-colored roof tiles, there’s a large green Hans Hedberg apple sitting next to a Sean Scully mural.  It’s all out of the ordinary and the feeling of being able to enjoy something like that stays with you for a long time.


The other great thing about Colombe d’Or is the restaurant within the hotel. We had a late dinner sitting across from Portrait of a Woman by Matisse. In the morning, a simple French breakfast post-swim, with wet hair outside in the sun. When we weren’t by the pool, we were exploring the mountaintop town.


The two days we had in Saint-Paul de Vence and at Colombe d’Or wasn’t enough to time get over how beautiful this place was. Hopefully next time I will, after the first dive in that pool.

All illustrations and photos by me.