Artists Inspired by ProvenceInspireVirginie Van Der Wees

Painter Paul Cézanne’s Atelier Visiting While in Aix-en-Provence

Join me in Provence for a French immersion stay and learn about French painter Paul Cézanne and his atelier (workshop) in Aix-en-Provence.  That’s why I always have a lot of fun receiving students in immersion courses and sharing my love for this city and its region with them.

Cézanne Fan

I am a big fan of Paul Cézanne and have visited his studio in Aix-en-Provence at least a dozen times. I like his story and paintings, so I often offer this visit to my students coming for French immersion in Provence. The visit lasts 30 minutes. It can be done with a guide in French, 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 below.

Paul Cezanne Statue Aix-en-Provence

Who was Paul Cézanne?

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

Learn more about the fountains of Aix-en-Provence, the “City of Water.”

Paul Cézanne’s Family

Cézanne is the son of a bourgeois family. His father was a banker, and he wanted Paul to take over. But Cézanne, despite studying law, chose the arts. In 1869, Cézanne met Hortense, who would become his wife. Their son, 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.

Paul Cezanne Sculptor Gabriël Sterk Aix-en-Provence

Cézanne’s friendship with Emile Zola

Paul Cézanne met Emile Zola in college. Zola was from Paris, and the other children often made fun of him. One day, Paul Cézanne comes to his defence. To thank him, Zola offers a basket of apples to Cézanne. Paul Cézanne painted many still lifes. Apples are one of his favourite objects. Being a slow painter, he prefers apples and pears to flowers. Zola and Cézanne remained lifelong friends. They nevertheless argue for the publication of the book ” L’Œuvre” because Cézanne thinks that Zola refers to him.

Still Life Cezanne

©Marti Schmidt

Painter Paul Cézanne’s Atelier

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 painted the walls gray and put a parquet on the floor to get the best light. He is a slow painter and takes a long time to choose his colours. Also, Paul Cézanne had an opening built to the right of the front door to pass his paintings into the garden. He likes to paint outdoors. His painting, “Les Grandes Baigneuses,” was taken out of the studio in this way. It couldn’t go through the stairs.

Provencal Artist Paul Cézanne Atelier interior

©Marti Schmidt

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. Montagne Sainte-Victoire was also one of his favourite subjects. Cézanne painted the mountain more than 80 times.

Click here for the French Text

Atelier de Cezanne (website)
9, avenue Paul Cezanne
13090 Aix-en-Provence

Mont Sainte-Victoire Sacred Mountain Sacree Montagne Photos

©Camille Moirenc

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 and the gastronomy… while helping you to improve your French. See you soon in Provence!

Stay and Learn French Immersion Holiday

Only 20 minutes from the centre of Aix-en-Provence is Rousset, a small Provencal village. Near Mont Sainte Victoire and the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence vineyards, Mas des Trois Pins’ studio apartment is available for holiday rentals. French teacher and masseuse Virginie Van Der Wees lives in the countryside with her young family.


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Virginie Van Der Wees

Virginie Van Der Wees lives with her young family near the Montagne Sainte Victoire, a short 20-minute drive from Aix-En-Provence. She is a masseuse and a certified French teacher for non-French speakers. Since 2018, Virginie puts together full immersion experiences that include hosting and supporting language learners at their family home.

The Virginie in Provence curriculum allows students to build on their knowledge and move to the next level and beyond – all while enjoying the wonders that Provence has to offer. Suitable for any age group, Virginie offers adapted, tailor-made solutions for clients who are moving to Provence. This program allows them to improve their French and overcome cultural changes. Virginie also provides classic French lessons and cooking lessons (in French) online or at the client’s home.

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