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Pedalling Provence

Updated: May 31, 2023

Provence on bicycle. What a way to start traveling again – and luckily scheduled during Ojai’s heat wave of September. No paints or easel, but a sketchbook was packed along with cycling gloves and sunglasses for a six day road tour on bike through one of France’s most iconic areas packed with views, wines, art, and hills to climb.

Pedaling through the landscapes and villages where the Impressionists found their inspiration has been thrilling – the light, the foliage, the colors and people made me want to stop at every intersection and try to capture the moment with paint brush and canvas. Alas, a snap of a photo and sometimes a quick sketch would have to do as my eyes filled with all the visuals I hoped to capture some day.

A high point one day was a visit to Paul Cezanne’s atelier in the hills on the skirts of Aix-en-Provence. His easel, ladder, painting smocks and still-life vases and pots were all still there – as if he had stepped away for a moment and was soon to return. These pieces show up in dozens of his canvases. Thankfully his work, portraying those pots and people of Provence, hangs in the finest museums today. Truly an inspiration.

Cezanne's studio
Cezanne's studio

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