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Whether it’s the quality of the light or the blue of the Mediterranean sea or the clarity of the air, Provence & the Cote d’Azur have always long attracted the world’s most renowned artists. Impressionists Claude Monet and Pierre -Auguste Renoir were the first painters to Make the French Riviera their base. Other artists caught word of the region’s unique, vibrant light , soon followed Henri Matisse who then divided his time between Nice & Vence in 1917 for the next 35 years. Pablo Picasso, smitten by the coast after visiting in the 1930’s spent the next four decades in Golfe Juan, Vallauris, Antibes and Mougins. The Painter Marc Chagall moved to Provence in the 1940’s, eventually settling down in St-Paul-de-Vence with his wife; the village is now a shrine to modern art. Today the Riviera continues to   boast one of the most prolific outpourings of creativity in the world.

Cultural Activities.

Step away from the tourist crowds for an hour of peaceful contemplation in Matisse’s Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence.

Browse the galleries in and around Vieux-Nice‘s winding pedestrianized streets.

Visit Antibes’ Chateau Grimaldi, Picasso’s former studio, and now home to the Musee Picasso.

Shop for exclusive ceramics in the village of Vallauris ( Galerie Madoura).

Lunch in the Gardens of the famed La Colombe d’Or , the restaurant also has their private art collection.

Some options for a day trip.

Those who want a taste of times past can pay a visit to very popular Antibes, while artists seeking inspiration  would spend the morning in Mougins.

Saint-Paul-de-Vence is located on a hilltop and ringed by ramparts, Saint -Paul-de-Vence has been a magnet for artists and visitors to the French Riviera. Marc Chagall is buried in a cemetery . Just west of town, Fondation Maeght ( open daily) was set up by art dealers Marguerite and Aime Maeght in 1964. It includes works by Pierre Bonnard, Alberto Giacometti, and a garden labyrinth by Jon Miro.

Antibes. Claude Monet, was the first resident in 1888. Nearly 60 years later, in 1946, Pablo Picasso set up studio in the nearby Chateau Grimaldi. Now the Musee Picasso is home to a collection of the artist’s paintings, drawings and ceramics.

Vallauris. Is very famous for artisan pottery. Its ceramic industry was revitalized in the early 1950’s primarily due to Picasso’s passion. Galerie Madoura ( open Mon-Fri) where Picasso created lots of his ceramics, has pieces for sale as well as photographs of Picasso and Chagall working side by side.  L’homme au Mouton is a bronze done by Picasso that stands on Place Paul Isnard. Musee National Picasso La Guerre & La Paix. Picasso’s last major political artwork is installed in the Chateau’s 12th-century Romanesque chapel.

Mougins. This very picturesque medieval village offers sweeping views  over Cannes and the Mediterranean below. Stop at the Musee de La photographie Andre Villers. Viller’s  black and white photos of Picasso chronicle the last 15 years of the artist’s life, which he spent in Mougins.

Another idea for a day trip Option.

Spend the day in the Medieval and picturesque village of Mougins and make a stop at  the Musee de La Photographie, Andre Villers as well as the town’s incredible views of the Mediterranean sea. Pack your paints – Both Mougins and Cannes offer plenty of inspiration to artists.

Antibes and the Cap.

Juan-Les-Pins, nearby Antibes  hosts Europe’s oldest Jazz Festival every July- Charlie Mingus,Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock have all performed there.

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