It’s Wednesday and I find it hard to believe that just four days ago I was in Provence, France.
I wish I was still there.
I spent a week, but could easily have spent two, or a month, or even the rest of my life.
A long vacation was just what I needed to free up my mind so that I could begin to resolve a few business decisions I have been struggling with. I’ll share more about that later, but for now, I wanted to share a garden that is also in Provence. And, one which I hope to visit next time I’m in the south of France.
La Colombe d’Or, a hotel in Saint-Paul de Vence, has an astonishing art collection that was casually built by gift and trade. The Roux family have been the proprietors of this rustic auberge since the 1920’s. Over the last 90 years they have hosted some of the worlds most famous artists. Their original guests included Pablo Picasso, Paul Signac, Raoul Dufy, Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse all of whom often paid for meals with paintings. The practice of exchanging works for food and a bed continued in the 1950’s and further and now the collection at La Colombe d’Or also includes art from Marc Chagall, Joan Miro, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Amedeo Modigliani, Hans Hedberg, Sean Scully and Fernand Léger, among others.
The visitor books are a roster of famous artistic guests (many of whom are also friends) and a well documented record of contemporary art history. The impressive collection constantly rotates and pieces can be seen throughout the hotel’s guest rooms, public areas and even in the garden.
A monumental mobile by Alexander Calder sits at the shallow end of the pool. Nearby, a ceramic mosaic by Fernand Léger is framed by ivy. And on the other side of the pool a large green Hans Hedberg apple lurks next to a Cypress tree. There are other pieces of mosaic and sculpture as well. A garden infused with art is always a treat, but one that carries within it such a renowned collection is one I hope to see in person (someday).
Guests take meals in the company of masterpieces but there is a quiet reserved nature about the place and the owners. Many consider it an almost mythical place to hide. Reservations can only be made over the phone or requested in writing – but there is a website here, where you can find out a little more.
These images are a selection from a wonderful post about a visit to the hotel as written and photographed by Bernadette Marie at her website Maritime.
Images by Mari-time