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A visit to the Atelier Cezanne

The studio & exhibition of artist Paul Cezanne's work

Featured in: | Stephen McGurk, Provence Reporter | Published

Be welcomed as a guest into the studio in which Paul Cézanne created some of his most famous paintings; and immerse yourself in the life of the Aix-en-Provence artist.

A long walk through the grounds of Atelier Cézanne is a calming experience and opens your senses before heading into the studio itself. The unkempt bushes, beaten down path and the relaxed and natural feel to the estate encourage a mood of serenity much like the artists’ works themselves. By attempting to keep the building and grounds as Cézanne left them creates a feeling that you are a welcomed guest to Cézanne’s house rather than a visitor to a museum.

a plaque on the wall of a museum

Bring a book to read in the small but mazy grounds - or enjoy a chat in some hidden corner under a mixture of sunlight and shade from a thousand leaves above. The tranquillity provides a welcome aside from the often bustling nature of Aix’s centre.

The artist who died over 100 years ago is still revered in Aix-en-Provence and the respect he gained is no more prevalent than through the thousands of people who make the journey to Atelier Cézanne each year. The studio is always limited to only 18 people at any one time so it rarely feels crowded in the unique space although reservations are recommended during peak season.

Inside the feeling of being welcomed into a home continues as even the guardian there refers to it as a “museum” while using her fingers as inverted commas. There are information booklets available in many languages and someone is always on hand in the studio to provide information and answer any question you may have. As the studio is the only room you visit most stays are between 30 to 45 minutes.

an artists studio

A portal into the past is opened and everything in the first floor studio is original to the studio from Cézanne’s day. The most striking aspect is the amount of natural light inside the room; mostly obtained through a window spanning five-metres high and the entire width of the north wall.

Many of Paul Cézanne’s personal possessions are on display, including old letters, his pipe and tobacco pouch, old photographs, his walking stick and the backpack in which he carried his canvases. A chest of drawers, which guests are urged to open and inspect, contains more insights into his day-to-day life.

The romance of the “Atelier” is deepened after being informed that it was once saved from destruction during the time Aix was expanding in the 1950’s.  After being saved by a large group of donators it was gifted to and rejected by both the authorities in Aix-en-Provence and the French government, finally being accepted by Aix-Marseille University. 

Atelier Cézanne is open from 10am every day; closing at 1800 during July & August.
In April, May, June & September it closes for lunch between 1230 and 1400.
From October to the end of March closes one hour earlier at 1700.

Entry:

  • €6 for over 25’s
  • €2.50 for 13-25’s
  • Free for Under 13’s

The 1.5km walk up the hill can be gruelling depending on circumstances but the #5 bus takes you to the Atelier Cézanne stop, just 50 metres from the house. 

The shop on the ground floor has a collection of books and souvenirs tracing Cézanne’s life and art. 

Photographs are allowed inside the studio.