A Calder mobile by the pool, a Picasso in the dining room…if the walls of La Colombe d’Or, a rustic, family-run inn on the French Riviera, could talk, anyone who visits would leave a world class artist. I’ve been aching to visit the tiny hotel since I first saw pictures of its crumbly walls and modern art collection.
La Colombe d’Or, translated “The Golden Dove”, is perched high on the hills of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a medieval town near Nice in the South of France. The hotel and its leafy grounds look unspoiled by time.
Opened by the Roux family in 1931, the hotel became a haven for artists like Braque and Matisse who fled south during WWII and continued to attract creatives like moths to a flame through the 1970s. A sign at the hotel’s entrance still reads “here we lodge those on foot, on horseback, or with paintings” and, in fact, most of the La Colombe’s impressive art collection was donated in exchange for a meal or short stay.
Since inception, La Colombe d’Or’s purpose has been for good food and company – a place to laze away a day with friends and enjoy the beautiful landscape. Art is displayed haphazardly on the walls with no plaques or pamphlets in sight. The food looks exquisite, the hotel rooms charming. The lobby bar is worn and loved in a way that I only dream of for my own home.
I love this quote from sculptor César Baldaccini on the magic that is La Colombe d’Or:
It has the precious scent of thyme and nostalgia and the golden color of olive oil and happy days. The Colombe is a part of my life. For me, it’s a place that’s as full of promise as of magnificent memories.
So here it is: I hereby do solemnly swear that I will spend a day of my life relaxing on the terrace of La Colombe d’Or, glass of rosé in hand, enjoying the delicious food and company of my loved ones.