Paradise Found: South of France

September 27, 2010 By: celedra Category: Poetry, Travel

Stepping Beyond Time with the Great Masters of Provence

Sacred Travel – May 7, 2011 – May 14, 2011

Matisse, Renoir, Bonnard, Picasso, Chagall and other great painters of the first half of the 20th century drew their inspiration from the clear light and color of the Cote d’ Azur. Each in their own way sought to express an interior world of harmony and joy, the elements of which they wove from the beauty of the environment around them. Each of their paintings is a “moment of beauty” captured in a frame, and during this week of sacred travel we will use their works to reflect on how our own life creates relationship between outer forms and our inner dreams and how we can cultivate more of our own…moments beyond time.  Each of these painters has a small museum dedicated to their work alone, and every day we shall visit one of these masters at a different location on the Cote d’Azur, absorbing ourselves along the way in one of the most beautiful regions to be found anywhere in the world.
There will be plenty of time for personal and group reflection each day when we return to the chateau for relaxation and dinner. Roger Housden will begin and end the day with poetry that speaks in some way to the theme of moments beyond time. We encourage you to bring a journal to record your daily impressions, either in words, in drawing or in paint.

To immerse ourselves in the French way of life we will be staying at a private chateau, located 40 minutes from St. Tropez. This private estate, built in 1860, is located in a medieval village which is the “premier eco-green” village in France. The chateau is surrounded by organic vineyards with quiet country roads for long
strolls amongst the lavender. The chateau has its own swimming pool, tennis courts and bolles court. It will be reserved exclusively for us and will be our home for the week. There is an award winning house chef and wine from the local vineyards. This is the perfect place for relaxation, contemplation, reflection, and to experience the south of France, at its very best.

Dates: May 7, 2011 – May 14, 2011

Trip Leader Roger Housden is the author of twenty books  including the best-selling 10 Poems series, Sacred Journeys in a Modern World, and Rembrandt: Life Lessons with the Master. All of his books use the universal language of the arts
and the metaphor of pilgrimage to explore the perennial question of what it means to be human.


DAY 1, May 7, Saturday: Arrival in Nice, France.  We arrive in Nice Airport and transfer to the chateau via a 90 minute ride along the coast and then inland from St. Tropez. After a relaxing afternoon in the grounds of the chateau, we gather for an orientation where Roger will introduce the theme of “moments of beauty” in relation both to our personal lives and to the art we shall be immersing ourselves in. A delicious dinner served in the chateau dining room will follow, with an early night after our long flight.

Day 2, May 8, Sunday: Le Cannet, Pierre Bonnard. In the morning we visit the Pierre Bonnard Museum, in Le Cannet, above Cannes. Bonnard, the painter’s painter and close friend of Matisse, lived for many years with his  wife in this small town. After the museum visit we will go down to Cannes to walk the Croisette – the famous boulevard along the Mediterranean – before returning in the afternoon to our chateau for personal reflection and leisure time. Dinner at the chateau.

DAY 3, May 9, Monday: Antibes, Picasso
This morning we visit Antibes and the Picasso Museum. Picasso expressed his joy at the ending of World War II with some twenty three paintings that he completed in a wing of the Grimaldi Museum in Antibes, which was later renamed the Picasso Museum. The building was built on a rock overhanging the Mediterranean, and for centuries it belonged to the Grimaldi family of Monaco. After lunch in Antibes we will return later in the afternoon to the chateau, for personal time and dinner.

DAY 4, May 10, Tuesday: St. Tropez. Today we visit St. Tropez and the Annonciade Museum. The extraordinary color and light of St. Tropez was discovered at the end of the 19th century by young artists of the time, including
Bonnard, Signac, Matisse and Renoir. Until then it was a completely unknown fishing village. Right on the port is the old fishermen’s chapel,L’Annonciade (The annunciation), which today is a beautiful museum for the early work of the
artists who first discovered St. Tropez. We will have time to stroll in St. Tropez and also the picturesque village of Grimaud before returning to the chateau later in the day for relaxation and dinner.

DAY 5, May 11, Wednesday: Cagnes, Renoir. Today we enjoy a morning visit to Renoir’s house in
Cagnes, where Renoir lived and painted in his last years. The house sits in a large grove of old olive trees, and houses Renoir’s two studios, eleven of his paintings, old photos and personal possessions. After a short visit to the nearby historic village of Haut de Cagnes we will have lunch at the famous Colombe d’Or restaurant in the village of St. Paul de Vence. Paintings which the masters gave the owners in return for room and board still decorate the restaurant walls. After lunch we will visit the beautiful old town of Vence and the Matisse Chapel of St. Rosaire, which Matisse himself said was the culmination of his work. Dinner on your own at alocal outdoor restaurant.

DAY 6. May 12, Thursday: Nice, Matisse. We will experience a day visit to Nice and the Matisse Museum, set in its own grounds in the north of the city. Matisse lived and worked in Nice for many years and the whole range of his work is represented here, We will also visit the old town of Nice, with its charming flower market, steep narrow streets, and citadel. We return to the chateau in time for dinner.

DAY 7, May 13, Friday: Aiz en Provence. Today we visit Cezanne’s house and Aix en Provence. As an artist, Cezanne was a complete original, and cannot easily be placed in any school. He was a precursor to Picasso and the cubists, and yet he was also an inspi rat ion for the Impressionists. After visiting his house outside Aix, we visit the city itself, one of the most beautiful in all of France. After arriving back at the chateau later in the day, we shall discuss Cezanne’s fascination with structure and form in relation to the Impressionists’ interest in light and color.
DAY 8, May 14, Saturday: Departure After breakfast, we engage in group conversation as to how we might gather the threads of the week and make them relevant to our life back home. We then travel to the Nice airport for our flights home.
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