Burcu Başar

Aix-en-Provence: the city of Cézanne

I hold such great degree of prejudice against cities and this prejudice almost cost me to miss my - now - one of the favorite cities in the World – Aix-en-Provence. During my trip to Southern France focused on the mountain villages, my bus that took off from Marseille and passed through Aix-en-Provence. I remember falling immediately in love with the city and could barely control myself to not get off the bus and change my entire plans. I that day managed to stay in the bus and travel up to the mountains. However within only a few days, I was already back in Aix-en-Provence to explore it further. You may be familiar with this small southern France town through the famous French painter Paul Cézanne. This beautiful city where Cézanne was born and spent most of his life is also right by the famous Mt. Victoire – portrayed many times in Cézanne`s paintings. My first unplanned visit to the city happened to be during a special period when there were many events devoted to the life and works of Cézanne. In addition to the studio of Cézanne, I also found the opportunity to tour exhibits which also included a lot of information about the life story of Cézanne. Thanks to these exhibits, I discovered the close friendship between Cézanne and famous French author Emile Zole. Their friendship which started during their childhood in Aix-en-Provence also continued in Paris but can be described as a quite turbulent and powerful one. There were times when they entirely stopped talking to each other. Zola`s place in Cézanne`s life was however so powerful that the long period of time during which two friends stopped talking and Zola`s death are commonly mentioned as the two most difficult times in the life of Cézanne, the other one being the death of his mother. It is stated that Zola`s death is the only time in Cézanne`s life when he lost his desire to paint. Aix-en-Provence, with its small squares, its famous Cours Mirabeau full of cafes and its architecture is an amazing city. Touring the city following Cézanne`s steps adds another dimension to its beauty.