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The Artists’ Riviera

January 17th, 2011 France and French !

If you choose to live in Nice to learn French, you are in good company. Many world-famous artists have lived on the French Riviera too, such as Picasso, Chagall, Van Gogh, Cézanne and Nice’s own Matisse, to mention a few.

With its stunning scenery, special light and mild climate, it comes as no surprise that some of the world’s finest artists have lived and produced important works of art on the Côte D’Azur. Art connoisseurs and amateurs alike can find everything from the 15th century’s Louis Bréa, whose works can be found in the Église Notre Dame in Cimiez, to a plethora of contemporary art in for instance Marseilles and Nice.

For a special art experience, it is worth taking the bus up to the medieval village St-Paul de Vence, which is located westwards and further up the mountains from Nice. The little village has attracted many artists, and what is considered one of Provence’s best museums, Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght, is located here, displaying oeuvres by Miró, Chagall and Braques, amongs others. Yet, the art experience does not end here. At the world-renowned restaurant La Colombe d’Or, you can dine next to a Léger mosaic, paintings by Picasso and see rarities such a little sketch by Charlie Chaplin in a corner. The reason why a restaurant holds so many treasures is that it used to be common for Provence restaurants to accept pieces of art as a payment from struggling artists who dined there.

The area also offers other types of art experiences for those that like the unconventional. For instance, the artist Jean Cocteau escaped to Villefranche in 1924 to mourn the death of his lover. He convinced the local fishermen to paint the 14th century Chapelle St-Pierre, which they used as a storage space for their nets. The result is a collection of mystical frescoes with themes from St. Peter’s life with influences from the world of cinema.

There are many museums devoted to famous artists who’ve lived on the French Riviera; most noteworthy being  the Musée Matisse and the Musée National Message Biblique Mark Chagall in Nice, and Antibes’s Musée Picasso. The Azurlingua School offers fieldtrips to various museums to make sure that students get away with some cultural knowledge as well as learning French. Moreover, it is not only the old masters that have a special link to Nice. The city prides itself on its contemporary art museum MAMAC (Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain), making sure that there are art museums to cater to most people’s interests.

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4 Responses to “The Artists’ Riviera”

  1. viviana says:

    ça serait sympa d’y passer une journée, on pourrait visiter le musée, découvrir la merveilleuse ville, bien manger au resto… ;)

  2. Antonio says:

    Mamac, Matisse,Mark Chagall, et qu’on ne dise pas qu’il n’y a pas de possibilité de se cultiver à Nice!!

  3. IMANE says:

    C’est vrai que Nice a inspiré et ne cesse d’inspirer tellement d’artistes…

  4. Antonio says:

    L’art: voilà encore un thème qui est abordé dans les cours à Azur!!


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