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The south of France is a land of picturesque landscapes and extraordinary light. It is mainly these qualities that have attracted famous masters of brushes and palettes for many years.

They came here to paint sunny landscapes, incl. van Gogh, Matisse and Gauguin. Picasso was charmed by the surroundings of Aix. But Provence today celebrates another outstanding painter, Paul Cézanne, who was born here and after years spent in Paris returned to his hometown of Aix-en-Provence. Here he fully developed his talent and painted the most famous paintings.

Paul Cézanne was born in Aix in 1839 to a merchant family from Piedmont. Despite the resistance of his father, who saw a legal career for his son, he consistently received his artistic education. He studied painting at the drawing school in Aix. When my father got a job at a bank and bought the Jas de Bouffan country estate, Paul set up his first studio in the attic and made a decision to become a painter. He had a great imagination, sense of space and colors. The landscapes around the city were the greatest inspiration for Cézanne. In Aix-en-Provence, among others, over ninety paintings devoted to only one mountain that dominates the landscape, Saint Victoria. The limestone peak of the legendary Sainte Victoire is clearly visible from the suburbs of Aix. The square in the suburbs from where Cézanne painted the mountain, the nearby Atelier des Lauves studio, as well as the grounds of the large (now closed) Bibémus quarry, where, surrounded by ocher-colored rocks, the painter's summer studio stood, are the places worth seeing while wandering in the footsteps of Cezanne in his hometown. The Bibémus quarries are now under reserve protection. Several hiking trails have been marked out here, leading along forest paths around old workings. It is worth taking a longer hike on a sunny day. Not only for the amazing views of the area, the colors of the rocks, but also for the aromas of wild herbs. The bushes of rosemary, thyme and mint smell so strong that you have the impression that you have entered a herb store.

Aix-en-Provance is located about 30 km north of Marseille (the nearest airport) on the motorway to Paris. It is not a vast city. It has many green areas, parks and squaresshaded by palm trees, chestnut trees and plane trees. The historic center, where many of the sites of Cézanne's life have been preserved, can be explored on foot in one day. The heart of the city is the Cours Mirabeau Avenue, lined with a double line of ancient plane trees. Full of historic baroque palaces and tenement houses with stylish facades, it invites you to stroll and relax in the cafe garden. At number 53 is Café Les Deux Garçons, where Paul Cézanne was a frequent visitor, and his father owned a business in the house next door. The avenue begins at the square with the historic La Rotonde cast iron fountain. On this busy square there is also a tourist information, where you can get a city map and information about current events in Aix.

A statue of Paul Cézanne has been erected next to the pavilion of the "it" office. During a short stay, it is impossible to see most of the city's sights. It is definitely worth visiting the Sainte-Sauveur Cathedral, whose origins date back to the 5th century, and the foundations were built on the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. Inside, there are valuable cloisters based on columns with floral motifs and unusual side organs. Near the Cours Mirabeau is the town hall where Cézanne got married. In the morning, the nearby square turns into a colorful market, where you can buy everything that comes from the Provencal soil, and in the afternoon, local cafes set up their gardens and under large plane trees, guests enjoy the taste of the local speci alties until late at night.

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