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More than just a museum: the favorite hotel of Picasso in France

It is difficult to say what it really is – a hotel, restaurant or museum. This unique place in the legendary Provence successfully combines gastronomic and aesthetic pleasures. In the village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, at one time there were Modigliani, Picasso, Matisse, Cocteau, Sartre, Yves Montand, Sophia Loren and Alain Delon. In order to stay here for free, the artists painted and presented them to the hotel. Therefore, the hotel-restaurant “Golden Dove” (La Colombe d’Or), which is called the “gastronomic temple of art”, has long turned into a real museum, open to all comers.

La Colombe d’Or belongs to the same family, from its inception in 1920 to the present. At first it was an ordinary cafe with a terrace, where locals could drink wine in the fresh air and dance. Then a small hotel was opened here. Soon, people of creativity began to visit the picturesque Provence – the owner of the hotel, Paul Roux himself, was a novice artist and tried to help his fellow craftsmen.

During the Second World War, a small cozy hotel became a haven for free artists such as Leger, Picasso, Chagall, Matisse and Renoir, who regularly went to the restaurant for lunch. Far from the bustle of the city, among the idyllic landscapes of Provence, this secluded place was the most suitable for creativity.

In exchange for free accommodation, future world-famous artists left here a whole collection of paintings worthy of a museum. Paintings, mosaics, sculptures, photographs of famous guests – all this can be seen in the “Colombes d’Or”. At that time, many of them were poor and little known, since then the cost of their work has grown many times, and the private collection of Paul Roux is now truly priceless.

Picasso often liked to visit Colombes d’Or; here you can see his paintings and several photographs of the artist in the interior of the hotel-restaurant. Paul Roux always welcomed the guest, they were on friendly terms. In one of the photographs, Picasso smokes in a bar, and his portrait is hanging on the wall next to him.

The fame of the famous guests of Paul Roux grew very quickly, soon “Colombes d’Or” became a prestigious institution where tourists gathered in the hope of meeting celebrities or just admiring the canvases of famous artists. Therefore, the hotel and restaurant had to be expanded and rebuilt.

The popularity of the hotel-restaurant “Colombes d’Or” is due not only to the famous guests of the early twentieth century. In addition to the almost hundred-year history of the hotel, this place is also interesting for its original medieval architecture. In ancient times, these lands were inhabited by the Celts and the Romans, in the Middle Ages, a fortress and residential buildings were erected in the town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Many of them have survived to their days in their original form.

At the moment this is not the cheapest institution, but visitors understand why they are paying money – it is not often possible to dine at the museum. The photographs on the walls of the hotel are unique, and other rare photographs of Pablo Picasso are kept in private archives.

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