Summer graces with a lust for pleasure and abandon. Sunflowers woo with a zest and playfulness. Ripened figs, a deep purple, are plump for eating and apricots lure with their pop of orange velvet skin. The scorch of the sun is ablaze, and a haze at dusk of ruby reds fires up a brazen sky.
Nicky Ginsberg – Creative Director, NG Art Creative
Provence has long been hailed as the epicentre of Southern France’s art, culture and creative spirit. Immortalised by the greats, the memories of Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Frédéric Mistral, Alphonse Daudet, Joseph Roumanille and Marie Mauron live on within the sun-kissed meadows, sweeping hills, purple hazed vistas of lavender, red poppy fields and jasmine-scented cobbled streets.
One of the oldest known sites of human habitation in Europe, it has a rich and compelling history, which can be traced and dated up to 1 million years BCE.
Known for its unforgiving terrain and rocky soil, Provence has been home to Prehistoric and Paleolithic societies, the famed Ligures and Celts, Greek traders and the Roman Empire, as well as numerous invasions by Germanic tribes and the arrival of Christianity.
Today, Provence is renowned for its unique landscape and coastline, picturesque towns and agricultural communities, marking one of the most celebrated wine and olive making regions in the world. A favoured destination by culture seekers and famed creatives, the Luberon valley is home to historical villages with hidden green valleys sheltered by the rocky cliffs.
One of the most beautiful villages in the region, Les Baux de Provence stands atop a rocky outcrop and is crowned by ancient castle ruins, nestled among the foothills in the Parc Naturel Regional des Alpilles.
The village of Eygalières and prior home to NG Art Creative Residency revels in a complex history dating back to the Roman era. It features the sacred site of the Chapel St Sixte and the Romanesque church come gallery, the Ancienne Eglise Saint Laurent.
Festivals such as Sous Les Feuilles d’Automne is one of the many artistic endeavours this charming village has on offer which we have regularly taken part in.
With plenty to explore, the buzzing, cultural hub of Aix en Provence and home to many museums and galleries is a must see, along with the acclaimed Chateau La Coste just a stone’s throw away, with its biodynamic vineyard and internationally acclaimed sculpture park and galleries.
From the harsh mountain ranges, through the rolling valleys to the sparkling Mediterranean sea, Provence has an abundance of life and culture to offer any traveller.
No matter your walk of life or creative discipline, the region will lead you to the most inspiring and unexpected of places; whether it’s the ruined castle, the vineyards, the Roman ruins, the hilltop villages or the lavender fields, Provence will always have something uniquely special to offer.
Situated on the left bank of the Rhône, Avignon is nicknamed the cultural capital of Provence, and rightly so. Known for its iconic bridges, Pont d’Avignon, gothic cathedral, papal palace and tumultuous religious history, the central city is circled within historic limestone walls.
Travellers are invited to step inside and discover alluring wonders of art in abundance, boutique galleries, the Collection Lambert, historic Musée de Petit Palais collection, and Fondation Angladon-Dubrujeaud. The city square is teeming with French life, set to the backdrop of the Palais des Papes, that come sunset is illuminated and bathed in golden Provençal light.
The famous Avignon Festival of theatrical arts takes over the city every summer in the garden of the Palais des Papes and features around 950 shows every year. A city which is committed to championing emerging and established artists of all disciplines, the streets of Avignon are filled with lively cafes and bars, historic public art and sculptures, as well as an emerging street art scene.
Along the banks of the Rhône lies the historic city of Arles. One of the oldest towns in Provence, and a 25 minute drive away from Moulin de Gréoux, Arles is credited as being one of the most culturally rich cities in France with Roman and Romanesque monuments, an ancient aqueduct and amphitheatre.
Fascinated by the Provençal landscape, Vincent Van Gogh resided in Arles for some years, painting over 300 works in the town and its surrounds, including Cafe Terrace at Night, 1888. A number of Van Gogh’s masterpieces can be found in the Fondation Van Gogh, dedicated to his work and life in Provence, alongside contemporary exhibition programs.
Home to the well known Rencontres d’Arles photography festival and the National School of Photography, Arles is at the forefront of Provence’s cutting edge contemporary art scene, with an abundance of artist run spaces and commercial and student galleries.
The experiential creative and cultural complex, Luma Arles features the Luma Tower designed by architect Frank Gehry, and reflects the city’s Roman amphitheatre and Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night 1889, painted at St Remy de Provence Saint Paul de Mausole.
Quickly becoming one of Provence’s fastest growing metropolitan and creative cities, Arles is favoured for its unique and picturesque Camargue Nature Park, and natural splendours just waiting to be discovered.
A pretty wood of pines, sparkling with light, tumbles before me to the bottom of the hill. On the horizon, the Alpilles cut their fine crests … No noise … Barely, from time to time, a sound of fifre, a curlew in lavender, a bell of mules on the road … All this beautiful landscape of Provence does not live than by light.
Alphonse Daudet, French novelist
Image 5: Artist in Residence, Chris Polunin Alpilles, 2019
Image 7: Artist in Residence, Nicole Kelly Words for the Wind, 2020
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