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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Paying homage to a genius in Aix-en-Provence

Having survived the 'Wolf Whisperer' of old Barrea Town we made the long drive to a campsite in St Gimignano in Tuscany. There is no doubt Tuscany is one of our favourite destinations and it doesn't matter how many times I photograph that St Gimignano skyline it always appears like new. The campsite and the wifi were expensive (and the wifi didn't work) and everyone was crammed in but the place did have one bonus that we treasured. We were pitched next to delightful couple from Hamburg in Germany, retired teachers Sylvi and Dirk. After two bottles of wine and some of Dirks grappa I'm afraid I had a Basil Fawlty moment and mentioned 'the war'. But our host (teacher of history) graciously batted me off. We had some more grappa and I was carried off to bed at about 01:00. Sylvi and Dirk, we hope to meet you again on the road. Prost!

Our next destination was, for me, very special. Since my early days at Art School (many decades ago) I have been in awe of the paintings of Paul Cezanne so the opportunity to visit the great mans studio was too good to miss. The visit didn't get off to a great start as the only two campsites in Aix were full. But as with other bits of this trip that haven't gone according to plan there was a bonus. The campsite we were redirected to was half empty but more importantly it was right under the MOUNTAIN - Monte St Victoire. For the majority of you it will mean nothing I'm sure but Monte St Victoire was one of Cezannes returning themes and he painted it many times. Please bear with this self indulgence.
We got up very early to drive into Aix as we would have to do quite a bit of walking to visit the studio and the very spot where Cezanne painted Monte St Victoire and by 10:00 in the morning it's 35c here. As it turned out this was a great decision as we got our visit to his studio completed just before three coach loads of tourists turned up!
This truly was a special moment. Everything left as he left it including hat a coat on hooks. I don't doubt it was all genuine.....if it wasn't I was buying it hook line and sinker! Probably the closest I will come to achieving any artistic success.........a photo on the doorstep of the studio of a genius!

Sitting on the doorstep of a genius!

The genius

The mountain - Monte St Victoire from the very spot he painted it from!

Paul Cezanne's studio, Aix-en Provence