Click on the Map
to discover the Cezanne Tour
to the country every day, the motifs are beautiful and so my day
is spent more pleasantly here than anywhere else".
Letter from Paul Cézanne to his son.
Aix en Provence, 22 September 1906.
|Discover Cezanne Tour in Aix region
the Aix en Provence Tourist Office
head towards the direction of the Family Property of Jas de Bouffan.
This Cézanne site par excellence belonged to his family for some 40
years and is the heart of the Provence which the painter so loved. Cézanne
produced 41 paintings, 15 water colours and 17 drawings here. (see "Cézanne
Itineraries" by M. Bourges). Then return to the Rotonde fountain and
take the ring road until you reach a turning marked "Route de Cezanne".
Cézanne took this little winding road, with its sharply contrasting
colours, almost every day. After a sharp bend offering a clear view of the
Sainte-Victoire mountain, on the left, a stone slab
reminds us of the landscape painted by Cézanne.
300 metres further on, on the same side, stands the "Château Noir" (Black
Castle), a large 19th century building steeped in legend. The reality is
much more mundane: the owner made animal black (a black pigment obtained
by burning bones in a closed cup), which he used to coat the outside walls.
But the paint was not rain resistant and the stone walls of Bibémus
returned to their original colour.
Cézanne rented 2 rooms here
to store his materials and to be near the landscape motifs which fascinated
him. He was interested in the density of shapes, the rich colours and the
geometric shapes of the Bibémus and Sainte-Victoire quarries that
stood at the horizon of his paintings like an end towards which everything
The Château du Tholonet
is the starting point for visiting the dam built in 1854 by Zola (Emile Zola’s
father) and the Roman aqueduct behind the castle, built to supply the town
Aquae Sextiae with water. The D17 passes in front of the "Relais Cezanne" café where
time seems to have stopped, suspended in the song of the cicadas. Paul Cézanne
very often lunched here, alone or with friends, and even carved a picture
on one of the tables. At the exit of the village, at the foot of the mill,
one of Cézanne’s favourite places, a stone slab
bearing his effigy was erected in 1939 by Le Tholonet mayor Hilaire Houchart,
to commemorate the centenary of the painter's birth.
At the crossroads to the Beaurecueil Road the
plains and mountains are captured in a breathless, motionless image. Cézanne used light and
colour to reproduce this synthesis between volume and space in his paintings.
3.5 km further on you reach St-Antonin,
an imposing landscape dominated by the great limestone wall of the mountain,
a huge geological formation stretching from west to east.
From Saint-Antonin, you travel along the D 17, which is overlooked by magnificent
mountains, to reach the village of Puyloubier. Follow the D 57 in the direction of Trets and then the N7. After 2km bear
right onto the D 56 C in the direction of Rousset. Then following the D56
in the direction of Peynier, continue straight on until the junction marked
Gardanne, which is then reached on the D6.
To complete your Cézanne "pilgrimage," visit the village
of Gardanne where he stayed for 15 months from August 1885 to October 1886,
at 27 Cours Forbin at
the foot of the Cativel hill. In one of the painter’s
favourite places, "La Colline des Frères" (the brothers'
hill), an open air museum has been opened retracing this period and showing,
on slabs of enamelled lava, reproductions of the works he painted in Gardanne.
So that you can discover the only Provençal village depicted by Cézanne,
the Tourist Office offers guided tours of the Cézanne sites.
his stay in Gardanne, Cézanne visited MEYREUIL: “This still
life of roof tops and cubes of houses on the cliff-side of the Sainte-Victoire”.
To see these landscapes, take the D58.
Cézanne set up his easel on the Pont-de Bayeux road from where he
immortalised, from a distance, Beaurecueil with its contorted pine trees
and red earth, features of our land which often inspired the genius' palette.
The earth of Meyreuil will always bear the imprint of Cézanne’s
footsteps. And don't miss the historic “3 SAUTETS BRIDGE” with
its crowd of female Bathers and “army” of male Bathers below
in the Arc River which the painter loved, as did his friend Zola.
The Arc River was a place of inspiration which enabled him to address the
problem of integrating the nude into landscape. This was a theme which he
painted time and time again, and "Les Grandes Baigneuses" marked
the success of his pictorial research.
Continue to the first roundabout, take the motorway towards Lyon and then
Sisteron, exit Entremont, continue down towards Aix. Pass the Chemin de la
Marguerite on the left (Entremont and le Pré de la Marguerite or Daisy
Field were two places where Cézanne liked to paint). At the traffic
lights, turn left towards Loubassane, St-Eutrope, follow Avenue Léo
Lagrange to the Two Pillars of the Gate.
Ahead is Les Lauves, with the vast panorama of the Sainte-Victoire mountain.
After the death of his mother, the Jas de Bouffan property was sold. Cézanne
had his studio built on a wind-sheltered hill to the north of town. Although
the surrounding area has changed, the studio has managed to preserve the
character that the painter wanted to give it.
After the death of his mother and the sale of the Jas de Bouffan family
house, Cézanne had a studio constructed in 1901 on the chemin des
Lauves. This is where he created the masterpieces of his final period, including
the Large Bathers. A true shrine to Cézanne, the studio-museum, surrounded
by a romantic garden, keeps the artist’s memory intact.