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La Colombe d’Or in Provence
Historic hotel in St. Paul de Vence

The Colombe d’Or started life in 1920 as “Chez Robinson”, a café bar with an open air-terrace where people would dance at weekends. It soon attracted characters from the neighbourhood, which gave the idea to Paul with the support of his wife Baptistine “Titine”, to extend and reopen as the Colombe d’Or, an inn of 3 rooms. The friendly atmosphere together with Paul’s deep interest in the arts brought the visit of many artists and the walls were soon covered by paintings, which often were exchanged for a stay or a few meals.

In 1940 the south became the “free zone” and a whole variety of thinkers and artists moved to the Cote d’Azur turning the Colombe d’Or into one of their places to meet. Jacques Prevert for instance, on the set of Carnet’s “Devils Envoys” lodged at the hotel and somehow never left, he moved to the village and became Paul’s close friend. The careful expansion continued with the facade being assembled with stones from an old castle in Aix-en-Provence and the architect Jacques Couelle designing a fireplace with the hand imprints of the people who helped to build it. 

The end of the war saw the arrival of the international crowd and the new friendships between Paul’s son Francis and new visitors: Yves Montand, Lino Ventura, Serge Reggiani. Francis married Yvonne a young women of Danish origin and together they followed in Paul’s steps, commissioning amongst other things a colourful ceramic by Fernand Leger for the terrace. The fifties were the time of Miro, Braque, Chagall, followed by the time of Calder, Cesar and all the others, it is also, in 1951, the story of Montand and Simone Signoret and their wedding in Saint-Paul.

The art collection has grown years after years until today; the latest work installed is a large ceramic by the Irish artist Sean Scully for the swimming pool area.

ph @Elisabeth Rossolin, Patrick Hertzog, Jacques Gomot

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