Our trip to Aix-en-Provence was a long, nearly three-hour drive each way, but the city and its many sights more than compensated for the journey. Upon arriving, we stopped first at the Musée Granet for a special exhibition of Picasso and Picabia’s works, looking at the parallels between both their artistic trajectory and their personal relationship.

Next, we walked to the Planque Collection, an extension of the Granet housed in the beautiful Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs which was modified for the museum’s use in 2011.

After absorbing such a significant amount of masterful art and architecture, the students were in need of some free time to shop, eat lunch, and explore the city of Aix with its interesting juxtaposition of 17th century Baroque architecture and a thriving modern society, in part due to its growing student population.

In the early afternoon, our group met at the Hotel de Ville to walk together to Paul Cezanne’s studio just outside the main sector of the city, stopping on the way in a lovely sculpture garden that is adjacent to the Cathedral Saint-Sauveur.

Touring through Cezanne’s studio inspired quite a surreal atmosphere around our students as they took in the scene before them—a collection of his handwritten letters to friends and family, a shelf lined with many of the objects he actually used in his still lives, a couple of his jackets and hats hanging on their pegs, and all of the accoutrements for painting in the 19th century.

The dappled light provided by the trees outside the studio lent itself well to a respite from the sun on such a long and hot day.

Ambling our way back down the hill into the city center, we paused for any last-minute purchases and a couple scoops of ice cream before loading into the vans for the long drive home.