Vence ( [ vɛs ] ​​, okzitan. Venca ) is a commune with 19,160 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2011 ) in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence- Alpes- Côte d' Azur. Vence is in the arrondissement of Grasse, and is the administrative seat of the canton of Vence. The site covers an area of ​​39.23 km ². The residents of Vence are the Vençois. Vence is one of the famous destinations in Provence, it is perched high on a rock, is quickly accessible from the coast and has the character of a barely touched foothills town.


Settled early by Ligurian Celts, the area was in 16 BC conquered by the Romans and as a province Alpes Maritimae incorporated into the Roman Empire. Vence was an important Roman settlement of the still bear witness to many discoveries. The foundations of the cathedral are of Roman origin.

With the spread of Christianity was Vence diocese. In the Roman Civitas Vintium there was from the 4th century a bishop. This smallest diocese of France existed until the French Revolution (see also: List of Bishops of Vence ).

After Charlemagne Vence belonged to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. 1481 Provence France was annexed and Vence so French. In the 16th century Franz I beautify the city. During the Wars of Religion Vence remained Catholic.

The 20th century brought Vence - attracted by the pleasant climate and the special light - tourism and the artist, which the city experienced an economic and cultural boom.

In 1933, the couple Freinet purchased a plot of land in the district of Le Pioulier and will establish the Ecole Moderne (today: Ecole Freinet ), in order to implement their own educational reform ideas.


The old city is surrounded by a city wall, through the numerous gates inside the city. One of the best known is probably the Porte de Peyra. The road to the old town via the Place du Grand -Jardin and the Place du Frene where a huge ash tree stands, which was planted in 1538.

  • Old town
  • Porte de Peyra with Peyra Fountain
  • The Romanesque Cathedral dating from the 11th century is built on Roman foundations.
  • The " Vençoise " (sculpture by Jim Ritchie ) on the Clemenceau Square in front of the town hall
  • The monastery chapel of the Dominican Sisters, the Chapelle du Rosaire ( Rosary Chapel ), was designed by Henri Matisse.
  • Ehem. Chapel of the White Penitents ( Chapelle des Penitents Blancs )
  • Place du Grand Jardin (market )

Tour Saint -Lambert

Fontaine du Peyra

Chapel of the White Penitents

Rosary Chapel by Henri Matisse

Typical alley


Vence has partnerships with the cities


A variety of artists chose Vence place of residence.

  • Maurice Boitel (1919-2007), French painter
  • Calet Henri (1904-1956), writer
  • Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Belarusian- French painter
  • Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), French painter
  • Célestin Freinet (1896-1966), educator
  • Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969), Polish writer
  • Curd Jürgens (1915-1982), German -Austrian film and stage actor
  • DH Lawrence (David Herbert Lawrence) ( 1885-1930 ), English writer
  • Henri Matisse (1869-1954), French painter
  • Jacques Raverat (1885-1925), artist, and Gwen Raverat (1885-1957), artist and writer
  • Jim Ritchie ( born 1929 ), Canadian sculptor
  • Ida Rubinstein (1885-1960), Russian dancer, actress and choreographer
  • René Schickele (1883-1940), German - French writer, essayist and translator