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Discover Cézanne and his workshop in Aix en Provence during your immersion in Provence.

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

How it all began?

I am a big fan of Cézanne. I visited his studio a dozen times. I like his story and his paintings. I often offer this visit to my students coming for immersion in Provence. The visit lasts 30 minutes. It can be done with a guide in French, with an audio guide or simply with me. I always have a lot of fun accompanying them and passing on what I know (even if I am not an expert). I share here a brief summary of this artist. Do not hesitate to leave me your comments.

Who is Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne is a 19th century painter. He was born, lived and died in Aix-en-Provence. It is therefore THE emblematic figure of the city. You can also see his statue next to the “place de la Rotonde”. He was part of the impressionist movement for a period. Picasso said of Cézanne: “He was the father of all of us”. He indeed had a lot of influence on the painters of his generation. He has even been called a precursor of cubism.

The Cézanne Family

Cézanne is the son of a bourgeois family. Her father is a banker. He wants Paul to take over. But Cézanne, despite studying law, chose the arts. In 1869, Cézanne met Hortense, who would become his wife. Their son, who is called Paul (like him) was born in 1872 in Paris. The mother is aware of the birth of her grandson. His father will find out later. Cézanne married Hortense in 1886. His father died the same year.

His friendship with Zola

Cézanne meets Emile Zola in college. Zola comes from Paris. Children often make fun of him. One day, Paul Cézanne comes to his defense. To thank him, Zola offers a basket of apples to Cézanne. Paul Cézanne painted many still lifes. Apples are one of his favorite objects. Being a slow painter, he prefers apples and pears to flowers. Zola and Cézanne remained lifelong friends. They nevertheless have an argument following the publication of the book " L’Œuvre" because Cézanne thinks that Zola refers to him.

His Workshop

When his mother died in 1897, Cézanne sold the Bastide de Jas de Bouffan. He then built his workshop north of Aix-en-Provence.

He paints the walls gray and puts parquet on the floor to get the best light.

He is a slow painter and takes a long time to choose his colors.

Also Paul Cézanne had an opening built to the right of the front door in order to be able to pass his paintings into the garden. He likes to paint outdoors. His painting called "Les Grandes Baigneuses" was taken out of the studio in this way. It couldn't go through the stairs.

There are no paintings by Cézanne in his studio. But you can see the olive jar, the skulls, the ginger jar and many other recurring objects in his paintings.

You can also find a canvas of the Montagne Sainte-Victoire torn there. The Montagne Sainte-Victoire is also one of his favorite subjects. Cézanne painted it more than 80 times.

If you come to my place for an immersion stay in Provence, I will make you discover the different aspects of Provence: the landscapes and the scents, but also the culture, the gastronomy... while helping you to improve your French. See you soon in Provence!

Virginie In Provence


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