Beautiful French villages: Saint-Paul-de-Vence

 DSC_0240-2I wanted to see this mythical place with my own eyes, to be sure that this beautiful French village perched on the Côte d’Azur really deserves its legendary status.

For me, a big fan of visual arts, a pit stop here was essential. As a matter of fact, the village can boast about having welcomed some of the greats, such as Picasso, Soutine and Chagall, who lived there for almost twenty years.

My itinerary was simple: visit the Maeght Foundation, then walk through the streets of the town and wander wherever my discoveries would take me.

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A green nature

I took the steep and snaking road between the palms, the laurels and the orange trees and soon I reached the Maeght Foundation.

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I was surprised by the greenery that welcomed me – perfectly manicured lawns and tall pines emitting their powerful scent of sap. Here the South is atypically lush. Immediately a feeling of order and calm overtook me. Breathing deeply, I was taken by this perfect moment.

The Maeght Foundation

Marguerite and Aimé Maeght wanted to create somewhere to display modern and contemporary art in all its forms. Painters and sculptors collaborated on their project to create two ‘in situ’ artworks for them. The museum was launched in 1964 by André Malraux (the then Minister of Culture), thereby reinforcing the artistic reputation of the town.

There is constant evolution in this magnificent environment. To the left is a monumental sculpture by Calder, to the right, hidden by a little thicket, a fountain by Pol Bury – a hypnotising interplay of light and water.

Julie Guégan - 25.11.13 -

I felt like a child, running from discovery to discovery, the sites transforming in a captivating harmony and abundance. The Giacometti courtyard, with its emaciated bronze silhouettes, made my blood run cold; Giacometti has always had that effect on me.

Julie Guégan - 25.11.13 - www.MyFrenchLife.orgAverting my gaze in search of something lighter, I let my eyes rest upon the sea: in the distance the Mediterranean majestically unfurls. The view is breathtaking. Wandering from pond to fountain, I finally came to the part I’ve been dreaming about: the Mirò labyrinth, filled with sculptures and ceramics.

This spot is joyous! The famous artist didn’t take himself too seriously with this work. I sat down at the water’s edge and contemplated this quirky museum while the November sun cast its philanthropic rays over me, firmly imprinting on me a sense of wellbeing.

I turned my head… Read more…

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Image credits:
All image © Julie Guégan.

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Julie Guégan

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