Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Art in Provence

 When you think of Provence what comes to mind?  olive groves, pretty villages, medieval towns,  lavander, olive groves, markets etc...  Yes it is all of that and more .   Provence is also a destination for art lovers. On my most recent trip, I enjoyed visiting familiar places while making new discoveries.  Here are some highlights:

Avignon Musee du Petit Palais

Madonna and Child
 Tucked away at the northern edge of the square where the Popes
 Palace stands is the Musee du Petit Palais.  This was the private residence of the Popes in the 13th/14th century.  This handsome building of warm colored stone has the most exquisite collection of early Italian Renaissance art as well as paintings and sculptures from the 15th century Avignon school.   Some 300 work of arts adorned its uncrowded galleries and exhibit walls including works from the major Italian schools of Siena, Florence, Venice.  Its most treasured piece is an exquisite Madonna and Child by Botticielli.   To view this masterpiece, I highly recommend a visit of this gem-like of museum when visiting Avignon.

www.petit-palais.org  (closed on Tuesday)

Menerbes Musee du Tirebouchon (Corkskrew museum) 

Peter Mayle no doubt put the village of Menerbes in the Luberon on the map when he wrote his best seller "A Year in Provence".  In season, the village is invaded by hordes of tourists and for good reason as it is classified as one of the most beautiful villages of France.  The village sits high on a ridge overlooking vineyards of the AOC Cote du Luberon. Before entering the village, you can stop at the Domaine de la Citadelle, a winemaker producing highly respectable white, red and rose wines.  Visitors are welcome to  visit the cellar, taste the wines and tour a most unusual museum dedicated to the corkskrew.  Some 1200 pieces from the 17th century to the present are displayed. They come from around the world and their shapes range from purely functional to imaginative and artistic.

Musée du tire-bouchon
Domaine de la Citadelle
F-84560 Ménerbes
Tel. : +33 (0)4 90 72 41 58

Chateau la Coste- Wine, Art and Architecture
Chai at Chateau La Coste
Designed by Jean Nouvel
In Puy Saint Reparade, just north of  Aix en Provence is a wine estate of 125 hectares surrounded by oak trees, almond orchards and olive groves.  The Chateau la Coste vineyards managed by winemaker Mathieu Cosse
 produce red, white and rose using the grape varieties:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Vermantino and Grenache.  However, this estate is not your typical winery.  Paddy McKillen, the  owner , is a wealthy Irish
real estate investor whose vision is to produce fine wines in the midst of  a unique artistic and architectural setting.  For that he has called on world class architects to design the estate buildings-- the chai  (designed by Jean Nouvel) an arts center and chapel ( by Tadao Ando) and a music pavilion (by Gehry Partners).  To complement  the permanent architectural structures, is an  assortment of contemporary art installations by Calder, Bourgeois, Scully.  Chateau la Coste  makes for a most enjoyable visit where visitors taste wines, visit cellars and enjoy the natural setting while contemplating works of art.

Louise Bourgeois
Alexander Calder


Look for the upcoming Cezanne to Picasso- In the Footsteps of the Painters of Light  Tour .

For you next vacation to Provence, visit me at www.enchanted-france.com

Tags: France, Provence, art in Provence, museum, wine , travel France

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