Tucked away in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a petit French town on the hills of the Cote D’azur, lies a petite old auberge. Unlike most properties, this one looks as it did in 1948. La Colombe d’Or hasn’t been updated in decades, the menus have stayed the same since your grandmother first went, a handwritten inquiry to stay trumps any online booking (which to note, doesn’t exist), there’s no new glossy instagram, no property expansion, no activities, social media-blasted chef collaborations, droves of influencers or anything that speaks to content-first experiences in 2021. The staff religiously only speak French (even the ones from Holland or Italy), room service is somewhat frowned upon, there’s no beach access, and the rooms are understated at best. There’s nothing new, decidedly modern or accommodating about it, and it couldn’t be more delightful, inspirational, enriching. It might just be the best way to spend your summer days - if you can get a reservation that is.
Sunning by the pool brings a calming charm, your home away from home. The place to do nothing, yet it’s everything. A nice day for a good read, might we suggest A Moveable Feast by Gertrude Stein or James Baldwin’s now-just-as-timely prose written in St. Paul, Just Above My Head. Fitzgerald classics to be devoured too. Drink what your heart desires, take dips in the salty pool and perhaps enjoy a shaded nap pre dinner, casually dreaming of your own Midnight in Paris exploits.
You might skip out to play bulle across the street at Cafe de la Place, check out the local art galleries, visit the Fondation Maeght, or maybe have an aperitif at the new Les Ramparts or Le Tilleul, but you certainly won’t want to give up your table for dinner. It’s half the reason you are staying at Colombe d’Or in the first place.
The evening dining is always a feast - for the stomach and the eyes. Your table is elegantly prepared with ocean-colored glass candlelights, classic white linens and the menus, art themselves, large and once handwritten in bright font, haven’t been updated in decades, with no apologies and no need. The massive colorful Fernand Leger strategically can be viewed from every seat. You can’t quite go wrong with any order, years of French culinary dedication prove so. Most dishes are plated before your eyes and the daily tasting menu, simple classics met by seasonal delights, is a fantastic choice. Yes, this is the place where time prevails, tradition succeeds, and dressing up is always expected.
The hundred-year-old institution was once only a lively cafe bar for locals and burgeoning artists, who exchanged art for meals and then beds, once the cafe converted to an inn. The aforementioned artists, known by the names of Matisse, Luger, Picasso & Miro spent many moons painting, hanging, drinking and dancing in the stone buildings.