December          2005
VOL. 9                 NO. 4
  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter

  Cézanne in Provence                                           by Barbara Beaumont

Cézanne in Provence

Paris Enigmas
   by Arthur Gillette

Ici et Là

The Kind and Helpful French

Romanesque Tournus & Fontenay 
  ~ Two Burgundian Bijoux
  by Arthur Gillette

Safer Driving in France

Paris with Children: Sing & Play
  by Eliane Delage, Ph.D.

FEATURE:  A Wine-centric Holiday

Château de Séguenville - © Cold Spring Press 2005

Château de Séguenville
elegant rooms & marvelous views

The Bookshelf: 
  ~ Mektoub / Nicole Solignac O'Connor
  ~ Wine & War - Don & Petie Kladstrup

Franco-American Portraits:
  ~ An Interview  with Catherine McLean

French Wine Report: 
  France Wine Travel 
                Part One of Three:  Burgundy
  by Panos Kakaviatos

I didn't know Paul Cézanne very well before I moved from California to Aix-en-Provence in 1993.  There was just a college class in modern art where I learned that he was one of the leaders of post-Impressionism and, perhaps, even the father of modern art.  There were so many artists at work in France at the same time that I didn't pay enough attention to what he was trying to say.

It didn't take long, however, after my arrival in Aix to begin to feel that Cézanne was a close friend.  After all, we now shared the ever-changing view of la Montagne Sainte Victoire as well as the beautiful, clear light that one finds in Provence.  The first time I actually climbed that sacred mountain was almost a religious experience, since Mont Sainte Victoire was one of Cézanne's favorite subjects ~ it appeared in more than eighty of his canvasses between 1870 and 1906.

The year 2006 will give everyone a chance to get to know Cézanne thanks to an international exhibition in Aix marking the 100th anniversary of his death.  Cézannne in Provence will bring together approximately thirty watercolors and eighty of his greatest oil paintings (including the monumental Bathers from the National Gallery in London) at the renovated Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence ~ an appropriate location since Cézanne was once an art student in that very building!  The paintings include locales in and near Aix, making the event a real celebration of Cézanne's Provence and proof that his universal genius (which anticipated Cubism, Fauvism and abstract art) was firmly rooted in his native land.  This exhibit begins at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC on January 29, 2006, and then moves to Aix on the 9th of June, remaining there until September 18th.  During the time of the exhibition, there will be numerous international events, live performances, exhibitions, street theater, music and dance.

There is surely no better place to appreciate Cézanne's talent than to see for oneself the town and countryside that inspired him.  Although he tried briefly to succeed as an artist in Paris and elsewhere, he returned to Aix and stayed in the area for the remainder of his life.  He was convinced that  it was the only place where he could find what he was seeking in his art.  This land of intense sensations captured his imagination in a way that nothing else had, and the result was an astonishingly powerful body of work.  Cézanne's pictures, steeped in the light and atmosphere of the Provençal landscape around Aix, put the city on the international map.  Aix-en-Provence and Cézanne have become inseparable, and both deserve a visit.

Fountain on Cours Mirabeau - Photo by HitauCézanne is everywhere in Aix.  You can still see the fading name of his father's hat shop gracing a building on the Cours Mirabeau, Aix's little 'Champs Elysées' of a main street.  There's an effigy of him on a fountain a few steps away and a plaque on the building where he died.  His last atelier has been turned into an intimate museum thanks to some American benefactors.  And, I'm sure he'd love to know that the town has placed brass studs, in the form of a 'C', in all the streets that lead to places that marked his life there.

                                                                                     CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Look inside

  to read about a safer driving experience in France,  including road signs you may not recognize and some new ideas to slow down traffic. Driving in France has changed, so don't miss this update.


>  if you plan to travel to Paris with children and want them to have maximum benefit from their visit ~ learn about Sing and Play in Paris.


>   to experience the wines of the Loire and the southwest ~ read this issue's Feature article: Wine-centric Holiday  ~  a wine education from Blois to Bordeaux.


> to travel with Panos Kakaviatos on his extended visit to Burgundy and the northern Rhône.  Read  Part One of the three part series beginning in this issue's French Wine Report.


PARIS ENIGMAS  . . . A Quiz on Your Knowledge of Historic Paris
                                                                                                                             by Arthur Gillette

Question from the last issue:   What is the origin of the word bistro?

Answer:   Upon defeating Napoleon in 1814, the Allied Armies included Czarist contingents who occupied Paris.  They found café service slow and tended to shout impatiently, in Russian, bystro, bystro ~  'quick, quick!'  (A precursor to today's French couplet le fast food?]

Our new question:  How many prisoners were there in the Bastille fortress when it was taken on July 14, 1789, signaling the start of the French Revolution?

Contact Arthur Gillette,  and take advantage of his amazing knowledge of Paris by enjoying
one or more of his Paris Through the Ages

[See the answer to this edition's question revealed in our March 2006 issue]


An art lesson at Maison des Remparts, Saignon

 A dream vacation awaits you at Maison des Remparts in the idyllic perched village of
Saignon in Provence's Luberon.  Small groups are welcomed to participate in cooking or
painting classes, and it's the perfect spot for a wedding or anniversary celebration!
Click on the photo to learn more or email us at

[If you are interested in advertising in FRANCE On Your Own, contact]

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