Cezanne lived in Aix-en-Provence and the city really makes the most of it. A good way of exploring Cezanne’s Aix is following the In the Steps of Cezanne walking tour – you can do a guided version for 9€ or simply get the map from the tourist office and follow the trail yourself.
You get to see some interesting places, such as where the Cezanne family lived at different times, but it’s also good just to see different parts of the city and get an idea of how Cezanne lived.
TERRAIN DES PEINTRES
The landscape around Aix features in many impressionist paintings. A good place to see it for yourself is Terrain des Peintres, a hill not too far from Aix where Cezanne painted multiple landscapes from 1902 to 1906 featuring Mont Sainte-Victoire. It’s one of the best places to visit in Aix.
From the city centre it is a 30min walk uphill, with Cezanne’s studio on the way – you can get the bus there but really it’s best just walk. It’s far enough from the city centre for it to be a quiet space to chill.
The view from the top is really nice, you can spend some time taking it in or – if you’re feeling inspired – making your own version.
On the way to Terrain des Peintres you can visit Cezanne’s studio (ticket for 6€). He built a beautiful space surrounded by nature and made sure that inside the studio you get the same level of light you’d get outside.
Everything on display was owned by him, and you get to see lots of the objects he used in is his work. It is an authentic and inspiring display, and it’s beautifully curated.
You can also take a break on the grounds of the studio, as there are many tables under fig trees around the place.
You can see some of Cezanne’s paintings in the Granet Museum (tickets for 8€). The museum is set in a beautiful building and it displays a good mix of paintings, including some temporary exhibitions.
The big draw is the Cezanne room on the second floor, in which you can appreciate the work of Aix’s most famous inhabitant. Also on display is a good collection of Giacometti’s sculptures and drawings.
The ticket to Musee Granet also gives you access to the Jean Planque collection, a great exhibit of paintings by the likes of Picasso and Braque which are displayed beautifully in a nearby chapel which has been refurbished and turned into a museum.
DRAWING IN AIX
I wanted to take the opportunity to do some drawing while I was in Aix, so I did some research online. I did find one place offering art classes but unfortunately these were not available when I visited, so I just took some supplies and followed Cezanne’s steps to get inspiration (with mixed results).