Between Antibes and Nice, the Baie des Anges laps at a long stretch of undistinguished twentieth-century resorts. The old towns, such as Cagnes, lie inland. Cagnes is associated with Renoir – as is St-Paul-de-Vence, which houses the wonderful modern art collection of the Fondation Maeght. Vence has a small chapel decorated by Matisse, and is a relaxing place to stay.
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The fortified village of St-Paul-de-Vence is home to one of the best artistic treats in the region: the remarkable Fondation Maeght, created in the 1950s by Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, art collectors and dealers who knew all the great artists who worked in Provence.
Through the gates of the Fondation Maeght is a sublime fusion of art, modern architecture and landscape. Alberto Giacometti’s Cat stalks along the edge of the grass; Miró’s Egg smiles above a pond; it’s hard not to be bewitched by the Calder mobile swinging over watery tiles, by Léger’s Flowers, Birds and a Bench on a sunlit rough stone wall, or by the clanking tubular fountain by Pol Bury. The building itself is superb: multi-levelled, flooded with daylight and housing a fabulous collection of works by Braque, Miró, Chagall, Léger and Matisse, among others. Not everything is exhibited at any one time, apart from what is permanently featured in the garden.