Belle Provence.

Its always joyful to stumble across something different. And so,  I began my scenic breakaway basing myself in the heart of Aix En Provence, a town full of vintage shops, hip trendy buzzing atmosphere.

Take a trip to the beautiful Aix En Provence..

Oh its worth it!. The approach to the town never fails to surprise, you sense that something special awaits, it is a truly magical town. There is something so completely wonderful and warm about Aix, I constantly am drawn to return year after year. It has such atmosphere with its narrow winding streets, boutiques and café's occupying the ground floor to some of the most stunning architectural buildings, there is a rich avangarde aristocratic feel to the region. Fountains tinkle in little squares and tourists stroll gracefully down traffic free streets such as cours Maribueau, the elegant main street in Aix. Every Friday hosts the most wonderfully colourful market and a visit to Place Rochelle food market is a must.

 

Les Deux Garçons, Aix
Buzzing student life quartier
Aristocratic buildings - steeped in such history and beauty.

 

Dreamy fountains and courtyards on a padestrianised street.

 

Aix en Provence is a place that works, whether for artists, gourmet lovers, or even visiting for a pampering cultural short trip, it never fails to fill your heart with such warmth!

Along the fabulous roads took me deep into the Cote Provencal region - Le Jardin De Provence, where, my world became a ball of colour, ever peaceful, ever present and ever grateful to see such beauty.

Market Day Aix !

Route  - The ultimate Luberon Valley guide - the heart of Provence. 

From Aix en Provence travel north towards Pertuis, stopping along the main view points of Villelaure, Cadanet, Lourmarin, Ménerbes,  Bonnieux and Roussillon. These  beautiful small hill top villages certainly won't disappoint and will guide you deep into provence , its lavender fields & farming scene, Bursting Poppy fields, and rows of rapeseed fields.

Rolling poppy fields - a pure delight

 

It is a place where time has seemingly stood still and you can capture this magnificent charm throughout these unspoilt historical villages. The rows of colour is a sight only to be dreamt of, and holds a deep profound calmness and warmth in my heart.

 

Beautiful farmyards

A trip like this, from Aix en provence will take you 1 day. Directions are well signposted. I suggest a good road map along with sat navigation, as you can find some exclusive tiny village spots hidden and worth exploring.

 

Views from bonnieux
Colours and tranquility

I based myself in a beautiful farmstead  - with easy access to Pertuis to begin my journey into the hills. (also within 15 minute walk into the heart of Aix en Provence. (www.lemoulindespinchinats.com)

The Luberon valley really is one of the most beautiful places you'll visit, it excites the scenes with its gorgeous sights, smells and tastes. It completely invigorates the soul - that is unquestionably for sure, and you will leave with memories from your time in the region the will last deeply!  Bonne Vacance  :) XX SR

 

 


All the colours of 'Nicolas De Staél'

A short trip from the Cote D'azur took me to the heart of Provence and the beautiful lively market town of Aix En provence to delve further into history and heart of art in southern France, exploring some galleries and artists influenced by the region.

The former capital of Provence, Aix en Provence is a stunning graceful lively city, known for its connections with art and the home of Cézanne, with its many fountains, the beautiful main street of Cours Mirabeau and its many universities and art schools. For gallery lovers I would recommend a stop at 'Hotel de Caumont, Centre D'art', located just a few steps from Cours Mirabeau, one of the most beautiful private mansions in Aix en Provence. Currently showing the work of Nicolas De Staél & Mark Chagall, both hugely influential painters and illustrators in France.

I was privileged to see the work of Nicolas De Staél, a painter known for his use of thick impasto and highly abstract landscape paintings (sketches featuring illustrations).  Between the year of 1953 and 1954, De Staél's painting period was a turning point in his career by drawing new inspiration from Provence. As I said, mostly abstract in style, there is a beautiful representation of his illustrations in his sketch books and work throughout the gallery.

  

His discovery of the midday sun, the exceptional beauty of the landscape, it was the intence experience with solitude that enabled him to produce such fantastic striking works - all experiences that nourished his imagination and so his fame grew in heart in provence.

  

De Stael began his art career in Brussels, travelling to Paris to study at the 'Academie Des Beaux Arts, where he became very close to the artist George Braque.

With the use of strong bold blocks of colour , De Staél depicts the sunspaces, seascapes and observation of light that changed during the day.  He was compared to the works of Rothko, where both painters works can be described as 'Blocks V's Blocks', also his work so strongly abstract that it was mentioned he veered towards contemporary art and including him in 'Pop Art' of the 1960's. His work is strongly influenced by local artists alike, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne and Vermeer.

Nicolas De Stael's work can be seen in 'Hotel De Cumont' Centre D'art (Aix en Provence) until 23rd September 2018, and also some work can be found in 'The Tate London, and George Pompidou Centre, Paris.

www.caumont-centredart.com


'Enchanting Village Life - 'Cote D'azur Secrets ' - a reconnection with art.

 

Ah the beautiful French Riviera, a glamorous coastline with glistening seas and elegance, from its aristocracy, to its divine, picture perfect villages, many of which hold artistic specialities. A holiday destination, where, any artist is sure to reconnect with themselves.

Driving along the winding roaming hills, you can be sure to come across villages like the pretty colourful  'Ez', the medieval village of 'St Paul de Vence', an historical typical old traditional untouched French cultural village of 'Villeneuve Loubet', rich and exclusively famous 'Yacht life' coastal town of 'Antibes', the bustling market life of 'Valbonne', all the way to the beautiful art gallery haven of Mougins,... the south of France is a sure true treat, catering for all loves of life.

Villeneuve Loubet :) X

'ÉZE'  - a magical hilltop village located above coastline of Nice, is a famous tourist site, renowned for its panoramic views of the sea from its peak, above the Church, 'Chapelle de la Sainte Croix, dating back to 1306. It is where Walt Disney spent a significant amount of time, enjoying its beauty and charm. Éze is one of the sixteen villages grouped together to be known as the 'Route of Perched villages'.

'ST PAUL DE VENCE' - famous for its modern and contemporary art galleries, it is sure to tantalise an artists pallet. It has been a haven for artists such as Pablo Picasso,  Jacques Revert, and Marc Chagall, all who lived here. A must visit for artists and cultural lovers alike.

St Paul De Vence

'VILLENEUVE LOUBET' - Crowned by its medieval keep, stairways are omnipresent and with steeply sloping streets, boarded by beautiful colourful facades of French charm and balconies decorated with flowers. At the top, a large church with its belltower deserves a visit, with the chateau hiding behind the high walls, is bound to intrigue you.

Medieval Streets 'Traditional French Facades' - Villeneuve Loubet

'ANTIBES' - Known for its famous port and supreme exclusivity. This port (village/town) is a beautiful stop to absorb the french holiday vibe of the Cote D'azur. From its fine class restaurants to its clientele, it is a sure to spot the 'stars'. Take a walk along the port to see some 'out of this world' yachts and walk the narrow route to a magical view point of the cote D'azur, also the pathway to the Picasso Museum and gallery.

'Antibes'

VALBONNE - a true cultural experience is this beautiful market village. You can capture local life from fresh fruit, vegetable, fish, flowers and meat stands around the narrow beautiful streets.

MOUGINS - A village filled with top class restaurants and an explosion of over 40 art galleries, it has attracted many creative types from Fernand Léger, to Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor to Pablo Picasso (Who spent the last 12 years of his life here, where he died in 1973). A few miles inland from Cannes, Mougins offers  extremely cultured presence with the finest of dining to coincide with the most luxurious galleries 'Museum of Classical Art' , founded by Christian Levett, including collections from artists such as Rubens, Picasso, Braque, Dali and Marc Chagall.

. Gallery Highlights of the Cote D'azur

Musée Renoir, (Cagnes Sur Mer) - The Renoir Museum stands in the heart of the magnificent estate with old olive trees and a superb panorama of the Cap d'antibes. Renoir spent the last 12 years of his life at this house in Cagnes Sur Mere.

Musée Picasso - (Antibes)  - formerly the chateau grimaldi at Antibes, is built at the peak of the village. In 1946 it was the home of Pablo Picasso, today it is known as the Pablo Picasso Museum, the first museum in the world dedicated to the artist. Notable paintings are 'The Goat' and 'La Joie de Vivre'

Musee Marc Chagall (36 Avenue DR Ménard, Nice)  - a national museum dedicated to the work of Marc Chagall,who resided in 'St Paul De Vence;, this gallery holds 40 of his work here. Marc Chagall, a Russian/French artist, an early modernist who was associated with several artistic styles including illustrations, tapestry, ceramic, and fine art prints.

Musée Matisse (164 Avenue des Arénes de Cimiez, Nice)  - The Villa was built in the 17th century and was his home from 1917 until he died in 1954. It has many of his paintings as well as his sketches and personal objects.

Musée des Beaux Arts. (Avenue Des Baumettes, Nice) with a wide selection spanning from 15th Century to 20th Centuries. Built in 1878 it is well worth the hike up the steep hill, it hosts everything from French masters to post impressionist paintings.

XX SR.                                    ______________________


'An Illustrators Dream' - A trip to 'Atelier de Paul Cézanne'

 Atelier De Paul Cézanne - Trip

  ''Just a short drive along the beautiful golden Route of the 'Cote D'azur', a 2 1/2 hour drive from nice airport,  brings you the beautiful arty french university City of 'Aix en Provence', the heart of a creative culture, the threshold of abstraction, renowned for its famous aristocratic inhabitants .

Today, in Aix en Provence, you can share in Cézanne's wonderful art journey and experience by visiting his studio 'Atelier', and see, through your eyes, his unique outlook, landscape and natural surroundings , where he always felt was his great guide and influence, and what truly made him 'The Father of Modern Painting'.

Set up on the 'Lauvres hills' in Aix en Provence, amidst lush french scenery, we see the house once the main art gallery of Cezanne, with his furniture, work and equipment laid as it were for the artist. You can feel the presence of the painter.

Paul Cezanne, born in the City in 1839, father of a successful banker, who wished him to pursue a 'respectable' career attended law school, to soon drop out and pursue his life's passion, art. The artist left for Paris to further his artistic career. His father disapproved but he later reconciled to his choice and on his death, Paul inherited a substantial sum and he continued to pursue art without any financial worries.

In Paris, Pisarro, acted as his master, and formed to be an inspiration to Cézanne. Cézanne was rejected by the Paris Salon, taking a while for his art work to be recognised it wasn't until 1895 that he received his first solo exhibition.

In 1870 he fled to the south of France, where, here in Aix en Provence,he drew an increasing number of landscapes and abandoned his dark colours which he developed in his early years in Paris. This period was to be his turning point in his life, (quoting that his time in paris was wasted) becoming one of the leading impressionists. He spent much of his later life in his 'Atelier' in seclusion. He used planes and blocks of colour to give an abstracted observation to his work. it was this abstract innovation the was said to be the link with 19th century impressionist art and the modern art of Matisse and Picasso, in the 20th Century.

Paul Cézanne's atelier can be found on, 9 Avenue Paul Cézanne, 13100, Aix en Provence, France.

Website : www.cezanne-en-provence.com

'Gardanne'.

'Gardanne' on display @ The Met gallery NYC,  - (the steeple of the local church crowns the cluster of red-roofed buildings which animate the sloping terrain of Aix. Faceted and geometric, the structures show off his early 20th Century impressionistic Cubism)

______________________________________________