Friday, 2 November 2007
Day 2 - Cezanne's studio and the Luberon
The day is sunny and the gardens are really nice outside. I hop out the window just to experience the smells of the country. Quinn and Maggie hop outside the window and find nature items. We figure there’s got to be about 5 feet from the hotel that is not private property.
We decide to eat at the hotel thinking it could be lovely. Instead we are taken to downstairs to a narrow room that is covered entirely with carpet, but this time, it is mustard in color. We breakfast on sliced and toasted bagette slices complete with butter and jam. “Is this it?” my innocent little eaters ask. “Yes, this is it,” we explain, “but we’ll get something later on as well.”
Still feeling discouraged by our travels so far, and the difficulty we had navigating Aix-en-Provence, we wonder if we even want to go back (our hotel was just on the outskirts). We decide to at least visit Cézanne’s studio.
We find Cezanne’s studio and parking with ease. We enter the grounds of his studio/house where he lived at the end of his life. Thanks to two Americans, it has been preserved as Cezanne left it, complete with skulls, vases and still life arrangements. The studio is covered with windows on one side, which has a nice view of nature. Outside, there are little paths in the yard with little tables and chairs tucked away in the trees. A great setting in which to create.
Having had a bit of success with driving again, we then brave going back to the heart of town, even entering a subterranean parking lot in order to see the Gravet Museum where some of Cezanne’s work is on display. There are only a few Cezanne’s in the museum as it turn out, but an assortment of other works.
After stumbling onto an art fair, we launch out for the Luberon National Park in hopes to go for a hike. We drive through the area and it is very scenic with white cliffs and pine trees. We head for a town called Bonnieux where the hiking is good. After some twisty roads, we end up at the Cedar Forest. We had bought some sort of potion at a health food store that is applied at wrist points and the solar plexis in order to avoid nausea due to travel. We also sucked on some ginger to calm our stomachs. It seems to have worked.
We enjoy a peaceful and long needed hike in the cedar forest. In the distance was “Cezanne’s Mountain”, so called because it frequently showed up in his paintings. It was cool to watch the white of the mountain changing colors as dusk was setting in. We had a hearty snack at a very scenic little hillside restaurant/café before heading to St. Rémy, our (hopefully) final destination.
About an hour later, and much giggling in the back seat of the car, we arrived in St. Rémy at our destination. Woo hoo, the town looks very quaint, and the hotel is very nice. It has been recently remodeled and has a nice courtyard with fig trees. This might actually work.
The hotel clerk recommended two family friendly restaurants. I was picturing a French Bob Evan’s, but the one we ended up at tonight was called “the garlic clove”. That’s gotta be good, we thought. And was it ever! We walked into a normal restaurant in the front, but in the back is a huge room with all these cool antiques- everything from old gas pumps to an entire carroussel to a large puppet theatre. There was even a small trailer that you could peer in and see the table set, and the bed. Unbelievable. We’ll try and add photos soon.
So let’s just say that day number two has been awesome and has almost washed away the bad taste of day number one. Of course, it helped that we stopped and got some cleaning product and gave the car a once over to relieve it of the putrid smell from the happenings of day number one.