Category: Picturesque Locations


Saint-Pons Forest & Park, Gemenos, France

Saint-Pons Forest & Park, Gemenos, France

Alpes

A visit of the newly renovated and refurbished 18th century Hôtel de Caumont by Cecile CARREGA & Veronique FLAYOL

Last Thursday 7th of May one beautiful evening party was hosted in the outstanding building and gardens of the Hôtel de Caumont, new Art Centre in the historic town of Aix-en-Provence. We were invited to admire the result of an impressive and long renovation work to transform the former Music & Dance National Conservatory into the closest reproduction of what the mansion looked like at the time of its original glory.

Cécile & Véronique at Caumont Art Centre

Cécile & Véronique at Caumont Art Centre

Located in the Mazarin neighbourhood, the southern and aristocratic part of Aix-en-Provence, demonstrating Parisian influences, four elements characterize this kind of style: the gate, the courtyard, the main building and the garden, moving hierarchically from public to private space.

The outside of the Hôtel de Caumont as well as the main façade demonstrates a certain level of simplicity, combining the vertical and horizontal lines of the classical French style. The interior is far more decorated and demonstrates a mix of the Regency and Louis 15th styles.

Terrasse du café - Centre d'Art Caumont

Terrasse du café – Centre d’Art Caumont

Hôtel de Caumont - interiors

Hôtel de Caumont – interiors

For example the entrance hall has two atlantes, masculine sculptures located at the entrance to a building to indicate the importance of the owner. The hall also has mythological plaster work, and typically Provençal ornaments sculpted onto plaster.

The construction of the mansion was completed in three large stages between 1715 and 1748. This gradual construction over three decades was marked by the death of three successive owners: François Rolland de Réauville, his son Joseph-François de Tertulle and his grandson Jean-Baptiste de Tertulle. His mother supervised the completion of the final fittings and interior decoration by local artists.

Pauline de Bruny, wife of the Marquis de Caumont, inherited this grand mansion. It was said of the Marquis that he “took from Provence its most beautiful daughter, its finest château, its finest mansion, its largest fortune”. The final private owner of the splendid building was General Isembart who, after some renovations, resold it in 1964 to the city of Aix-en-Provence, ensuring it would be preserved. The Hôtel de Caumont opens today a new page in its history, that of a venue dedicated to art, artists, music, but this time being open to everyone.

In order to restore the Hôtel de Caumont’s beauty and atmosphere, in the purest spirit of the Age of Enlightenment, and to reinstate the original interior layout as conceived by the architect Robert de Cotte, the major works of restoration have been carried out in compliance with the rules governing the conservation of historic monuments and under the supervision of the Regional Department of Cultural Affairs.

the artist renovator

the artist renovator

The expert Didier Benderli was designated in charge of interior decoration and the result of his work is truly breathtaking!

Plans for the gardens of the Hôtel de Caumont are in the classic style of the period: immaculate geometric lines, pursuit of symmetry, open perspective, water parks… all hallmarks of “jardin à la française”.

To celebrate this new cultural site in Aix, the admirable exhibition “Canaletto, Rome – London – Venice: the Triumph of Light” is running up to the 13th September 2015. Do not miss this event and come to Aix-en-Provence, it is a pure delight!

Canaletto-Bucentaure

 

French Tour Designers and Guides-Interpreters, Cecile & Veronique have created private and exclusive excursions in the Bouches-du-Rhone & Var areas for Guests to experience an authentic Provence, take part in workshops or genuine meetings with the local community and independent producers. Presenting the hidden gems discovered off the beaten tracks during their own traveling, they always look for authenticity and excellence and share with passion the best of what the South of France has to offer.