The Azure Coast is magnificent, and it is no wonder why Pablo Picasso, one of the greatest artists in the world, favored the region and spent the majority of his life here. Well, I’m going to share with you a guide that you can follow to retrace Picasso’s footsteps through the region. You can stay at Villa Hippocampo in Villefranche-sur-Mer, as this is a sort of a central hub of the Cote d’Azur, and visit all of Picasso’s favorite places along the coast.
The famed artist lived primarily in Paris, in the Montparnasse neighborhood, but he often visited the French Riviera. He traveled all over the region, staying in different places over the years. There are plenty of different artistic and specialty museums in this region, but there are two specifically devoted to the artist. The best thing is that you can visit these places any time of the year, as you will be visiting museums and exhibition spaces where the spirit of Picasso is very present.
Avignon was a place Picasso visited in his early years, and the name is synonymous with one of his most famous paintings, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (even though his inspiration came from a brothel in Avignon Street in Barcelona). Avignon is one of the most picturesque cities in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region. You can also visit the village of Sorgues, where the artist stayed briefly, and a local restaurant has a mural featuring the artist in his recognizable fisherman’s white and blue striped shirt.
Any Picasso fan must visit the Picasso Museum in Antibes. Formerly Chateau Grimaldi, Picasso stayed here for several months in 1946, using parts of the castle as his studio. He learned all the parts of the palace and decorated a lot of parts of it, under the suggestion of the Antibes town council, who proposed the palace became a museum devoted to the artist. Picasso initially gave the museum 23 paintings and 44 drawings, and later, he also gifted 78 ceramics created in the Madoura studio in Vallauris. The chateau officially became the Picasso Museum in 1966, the first museum devoted to the artist. Some of the most notable Picasso works housed here are “La Joie de Vivre,” “Satyr,” and “Faun, Centaur with Trident”.
Adjacent to Antibes, Juan-les-Pins is another of Picasso’s favored places on the Mediterranean coast and one that is featured in his works of art. He vacationed in the town regularly from the 1920s to 1946, when he created several works of art named after this town.
One of his favorite places to stay was Antibes and the surrounding towns. Picasso lived in Vallauris, a town adjoining Antibes, from 1948 to 1955. It was here he created many of his world-famous works, including the mural War and Peace. While the artist lived here, Picasso learned ceramic work and linocuts, which contributed to developing the Vallauris pottery industry. The town offered him the former Romanesque chapel in the Vallauris Castle; Picasso composed an impressive work spanning 125 square meters. War and Peace is a monumental composition of scenes of war and peace, spanning the domed ceiling – war scenes on one side and peace scenes on the other, meeting in the middle, with the corner wall featuring a mural named “The Four Corners of the World.” You can visit the museum, aptly named National Picasso Museum, “War and Peace,” for a reasonable €6 ticket.
Mougins is the place Picasso spent his last years, and I propose this place be one of your must-see places if you are a Picasso fan. He lived in a farmhouse near the Notre-Dame-de-Vie, the 12th-century chapel. His former studio is now the tourist office, but you can see some of the artist’s works in the MACM, the Mougins Museum of Classical Art. Also, you can visit Picasso’s burial ground in the Château of Vauvenargues, and instead of a gravestone, you can see his bronze statue, Woman with a Vase.
I suggest these places to any visitor of the fantastic Azure Coast, as this area has so much to offer to Picasso fans, art fans, and overall fans of natural and manmade beauty. You can stay at Villa Hippocampo in Villefranche-sur-Mer in the heart of the Cote d’Azur, and have most of these places within easy reach.