Last modified: 2010-07-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: alpes-maritimes | vence |
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image by Arnaud Leroy
Source: Mairie de Vence
Vence is a city of c. 15,000 inhabitants located in the hinterland between Nice and Antibes.
The first settlement was established in Vence by the Ligurians,
and was later increased by the Romans (Vinctium). Vence became
very early an important episcopal city. The most famous bishops of
Vence were St. Véran (Vth century), St. Lambert (XIIth
century), Alessandro Farnese (XVIth century, later pope as Paul III),
and Antoine Godeau (XVIIth century, the first appointed member of the
During the Religion Wars, Vence was unsuccessfully besieged by the Huguenots in 1592. The resistance of the city is celebrated every Easter by a festival.
The bishops of Vence permanently fought for the rule of the city against the barons of Villeneuve. In the South of France, e.g. in Marseilles, it was not usual to have a dual power in the important cities, resulting in a strong rivalry between a bishop and a secular lord.
The medieval city of Grasse is still enclosed in circular walls and is one of the most picturesque ancient city of the French Riviera. The neighborhoods of Vence are still the place of traditional crops (olive trees, roses, violets, carnations etc.)
The Rosary Chapel stands outside the city of Vence. The chapel was built and decorated by the French painter Henri Matisse (1869-1954) between 1947 and 1951. There are still several art galleries in Vence.
Col de Vence (870 m) is an example of Mediterranean karstic plateau, with white limestone rocks and a sparse vegetation. It was in the past the place of a summer music festival directed by the French violonist Ivry Gitlis.
Ivan Sache, 19 January 2002
The flag of Vence is vertically divided blue-yellow
Olivier Touzeau, 19 January 2002