Bringing together original Chagall works and flower-laden terraces with views stretching to the Côte d'Azur, hotel Le Saint Paul is a popular posting in the French Riviera's most bohemian neighbourhood.
For a taste of the picturesque countryside, look no further than Saint-Paul-de-Vence in Provence. Tucked between the hills of Nice and Alpes-Maritimes, this superlatively beautiful settlement, known for its art, is among the region's best. With original Chagall works adorning its silken walls and flower-laden terraces overlooking the maze of cobbled streets, it's easy to see why Le Saint Paul is deemed to be one of the area's most popular postings.
Narrow corridors lead to generously sized rooms at Le Saint Paul. There's a total of 16 bedrooms, including 13 suites. Room 18 is a standout; it's spacious, with red- and mauve-striped linen wallpaper and interiors that border on vampish - a canopied bed, gilded mirrors and velvet brocade add to this sultry mood. Populated with objets d'art, this is a space in which you'll scan a selection of antiques and oddities - think brass pug-shaped bookends and chinoiserie-style, lacquered urns - positioned on every available surface. Peep through your window for vistas across backstreets and the Provençal countryside beyond.
What's for breakfast?
Rates exclude breakfast, so deciding on what break your fast on is likely to be your first (and only) chore of the day. The continental costs €22, so we suggest going all out and throwing in a couple extra quid (€8 to be exact) and selecting the "Le Saint Paul" option in which you can sample the sweet- and cold-buffet selection - think: bread, daily pasties, cheese plates etc. - in addition to hot dishes (the omelettes are worth the price hike FYI). Linger over whichever breakfast you choose between 7.30am and 10am (although late risers can order breakfast to their room until noon). Weather permitting, take a table on the terrace, amid hibiscus and bougainvillea.
How about lunch and dinner?
Serving modern Mediterranean cuisine with an emphasis on seasonal flavours, Le Saint Paul's Michelin-starred restaurant is one to book in advance. It occupies two dining rooms - choose between a candlelit space with vaulted ceilings and flower and fruit murals, and the salle a manger fitted with a romantic fountain. Lunch is served between 12.30pm and 1.45pm, while dinner is dished up between 7.30pm and 9.45pm. Whatever time of day you choose to dine, always save room for dessert - we recommend the iced lavender macarons and the caramelised puff pastry served with blackcurrant and peach sorbet.
Is there a bar?
No, but guests can enjoy an afternoon tea of homemade biscuits, cakes and tarts on the ground-floor lounge. Chase your tea or coffee with a stronger pour from decanters of whisky or brandy stocked just behind the sweet treats on offer.
Does free WiFi count?
Things I should know
Nice is a quick 30-minute drive away, and free parking is offered 50m from the hotel. Canine companions can come stay too, for €50 a night.
Within a short walk I can find…
A steep 15-minute walk from the hotel will take you to the transfixing Maeght Foundation, founded in 1964 by Aimé and Marguerite Maeght. Sculptures by Miró, Hepworth and Chillida line the pathway to the museum entrance, which houses one of Europe's largest private collections of 20th-century and contemporary art. Continue to "sample" the commune's art offering by making a lunch reservation at the renowned La Colombe d'Or.