Giverny – Claude Monet
We flag off our circuit in Giverny, the Gateway to Normandy and also the cradle of Impressionism in France. You can’t speak of Giverny and not Monet in the same breath. This renowned painter made his home in Giverny for over 40 years and has enriched the world’s coveted art inventory with 2000 works. At driving distance from Paris, in Giverny, make a beeline for Monet’s home with its salmon-pink and green façade and its beautiful gardens. You are going to come across the legendary Japanese bridge and his iconic waterlilies that contributed to Monet’s fame. Take a step back in time with a visit to his house. There is also the Claude Monet Foundation and the Impressionist Museum if you want to delve deeper into the world of Impressionism.
Saint Tropez – Paul Signac
From Paris to chic Saint-Tropez. Located in Provence, this fishing village of yore is a celebrity hotspot and also the home of the famous Brigitte Bardot. It was also an inspiration for Paul Signac who was a huge fan of Monet and a confidante of Van Gogh. He was a student of Divisionism (a part of Neo-Impressionism) that advocated painting small daubs of colour close to each other to create a luminous and shimmering effect. His famous painting of the Harbour of Saint Tropez strongly reflects this style of painting. Include a leisurely visit to the Annonciade Museum in St Tropez for up, close and personal encounters with more of Signac’s works and also to admire the works of Post Impressionists artists and painters of the 20th century.
Arles – Vincent Van Gogh
Primarily self-taught and sadly unappreciated during his lifetime, the much-revered Vincent Van Gogh has over 900 oeuvres to his name. While his earlier work was mainly dark and depressing landscapes, his move to France brought a lot of colour to his life and work. He embraced the bold Impressionist style which earned him name and fame. Van Gogh lived in Arles where he was at his creative best before he suffered a mental breakdown. This City of Art and History has a dedicated Van Gogh trail for Vincent fans. The places in the city where the artist set up his easel are marked with panels representing his paintings. You will stop a while at the Rhone River Embarkment for his most famous Starry Night over the Rhone.
Aix-en-Provence – Paul Cezanne
Also a self-taught artist, Paul Cezanne divided his time between the charms of Paris and a tranquil life in cultural Aix-en-Provence. Though he was discovered later than his contemporaries, he is today one of the most well-known Impressionist artists who put Aix-en-Provence and the famous Mont-St Victoire- which became his muse for almost 80 of his paintings – under the spotlight. Follow Cezanne’s footsteps in Aix en Provence to see the house where he was born to his final resting place in Saint-Pierre cemetery. See the town through his eyes through a signposted trail that includes significant places, landmarks of his youth and stop by for a coffee break at Deux Garcons, the most famous brasserie in Aix frequented by Paul Cezanne, Emile Zola and Ernest Hemingway. Stop by at his studio bathed by sunlight where he painted dozens of paintings that are now housed in museums.