Monday, May 25, 2015

Following the footsteps of the Impressionists - May 2015

What a magnificent two weeks in France!  This year's impressionist art tour consisted of a small group, only 5 fantastic and easy-breezy travellers joined Natascha to follow in the Impressionist Footsteps, visiting ateliers and plain-air painting sites!  We lingered in appreciation of the memoirs and artworks of Renoir in Cagnes-Sur-Mer, Cezanne at Aix-en-Provence, Van Gogh and Gaugin in Arles and we finished with a visit to the master of the impressionists's home; Monet's house at Giverny.  
Everyone on this trip was a first time traveller with us at VM Travel Adventures. All were so very flexible and easy-going, and although strangers at first, they became fast friends! We shared many laughs, cooking experiences, good food and maybe a few glasses of 'vin blanc'!  Our trip started in lovely Nice for some time at the beach before heading west into Provence for almost a week.  The trip terminated in Paris after much exploring of the city of lights.
The group in Giverny after a visit to Monet's Gardens

With almost a week in Paris at the Hotel Chopin, we enjoyed taking in all of the impressionist art at the Musee d'Orsay and the Orangerie, while studying the art-nouveau and the modern graffiti that popped up on each street corner!  We carved out some good shopping time and then balanced that with a few little stops for a pastis in the cute cafes of Montmartre really was a dream!
Sharon at Les Collettes, Renoir's House
Sharon from Courtenay, B.C is a very well travelled girl and we were glad to have her join us!  With her tiny suitcase she was the quickest on and off the TGV that linked us from Provence to Paris!  Passionate about the flowers of Provence, Sharon found her way through the Paris streets to be able to take home a perfume gift for those dear to her.

Dawn and Rich from New Jersey were such a blast to travel with!  We got to know Dawn's generous spirit through the sharing of cookies and wine, while Rich's rock and roll personality had us sharing music videos and links!  Rich made us a fire in the Mas St. Antoine's cozy guest living room every night, really looking after this group of ladies!  Dawn is a lucky lady and their 14 year marriage has now been sealed with a lock on the Pont des Arts in Paris - he's just so spontaneous!  These two were always ready to point the way to a great restaurant, hang out with the pack of us and also make the most of the nightlife in Nice and Paris!  Thanks for joining us you two, and see you on the next trip!

Sharon and Verdyne did not know each other before they decided to room together on this trip. These fantastic educators from Saskatchewan travelled magically together, despite a few slaps in the forehead.  Sharon, professional photographer took some stunning photographs, all the while instructing her apprentice in photo composition.  These gals were always ready to stay up late and share stories, recipes or home-economics teacher tips!  Thanks for those wonderful meals we shared, Verdyne!

Cafe La Nuit - painted by Van Gogh

We had a very important stop at the Cafe La Nuit, where we enjoyed a variety of fruit juices and wine!  We followed Van Gogh through all of his painting sites and one of the most moving places we visited was at St. Paul Maussole clinic where they still practice Art Therapy.  

St Paul Maussole's Cloister
While spending quality time around the fire, while we speculated on Vincent's emotions, desires and frustrations during his time in Provence.  We could sure feel the inspiration from the Provencal sun, something that Van Gogh expressed the best, and we made the most of our sunny days while thanking the impressionists for inviting us on this lovely journey!

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