Provence & Côte d’Azur Sights

060406_ateliercezanne.jpgAtelier Cézanne
Paul Cézanne built this lovely studio above the center of town. In the upstairs work space, the artist created some of his finest paintings. You can also see many of the simple objects that were once featured prominently in the still lifes he created—the tin milk can, the ginger jar, the flowered crockery, bottles and glasses. Aix-en-Provence

Chapelle du Rosaire
This inconspicuous chapel was designed and decorated by Matisse between 1947 and 1951 in the reductivist style of the era: the walls, floor, and ceiling are gleaming white, with color provided by the light streaming through the small stained-glass windows of green and blue. “Despite its imperfections I think it is my masterpiece—the result of a lifetime devoted to the search for truth,” wrote Matisse. Vence

Fondation Maeght
One of the world’s most famous small museums contains a stunning collection of modern art, including works by Chagall, Giacometti, Calder, Arp, Braque, Dubuffet, and many other art stars of the 20th century. The building, designed by José Maria Sert, is an extraordinary creation in itself. St-Paul

060406_museematisse.jpgWander the old byways with cobbled steps in this stunningly beautiful perched village. Many of the pretty residences are dollhouse-sized and most date from the 14th and 15th centuries. There is nary a shop in sight, so the commercial horrors of Mougins or St-Paul-de-Vence are left far behind.

Musée Matisse (pictured right)
In the 1960s, the city of Nice bought this lovely 17th-century villa and restored it to house a large collection of Henri Matisse’s works. In every medium and context—paintings, gouache cut-outs, engravings, and book illustrations—it represents the evolution of his art, from Cézanne-like still lifes to exuberant dancing paper dolls. Nice

060406_sentiertirepoil.jpgThe garden traces its roots to days when Monaco’s near-tropical climate nurtured unheard-of exotica. Don’t miss the Grottes de l’Observatoire—spectacular grottoes and caves dripping with stalagmites. Traces of Cro-Magnon civilization have been found here. Monaco

Pope’s Palace
The scale of the place is astounding, and clearly demonstrates the power once exercised in this region by the Papacy. Check out the priceless frescoes in Pope Clement VI’s digs. The grand-scale interiors are evocative as well, with a massive wooden barrel vault arching over the dining hall, and a kitchen with fireplaces spacious enough for an entire family. Avignon

Sentier Tirepoil
Bordering the Cap’s zillion-dollar hotels and fabled estates runs this spectacular mile-long walk (pictured above). Round the far end of the cap and the paved promenade gives way to a boulder-studded pathway that picks its way along 50-foot cliffs. Cap d’Antibes

060406_villaeilenroc.jpgVilla Eilenroc
At the tip of the Cap is this magnificent estate (pictured right) commanding a vast acreage threaded with paths and much of it given over to a grand and glamorous garden. In the Roserie you can glimpse the even-grander Château de la Croé, whose shimmering white portico once sheltered the likes of Garbo and Onassis. Cap d’Antibes