The Sainte Victoire mountain
The mountain Sainte Victoire is a 1011m high mountain ridge, located just a few km of Aix-en-Provence.
The western end and the southern flank have exposed white limestone cliffs, helping to give Sainte Victoire its distinct appearance so admired by Cézanne along with many other painters. Cézanne is said to have painted "the mountain" at least 60 times.
The road along the sloping north side of Ste Victoire has some good views of the mountain, passing through the little Vauvenargues village, where the chateau was the last home of Pablo Picasso.
The southern "Route de Tholonet" goes through the lovely little village of Le Tholonet and then passes along the steep southern side of the mountain.
Paul Cézanne was born in Aix en Provence in 1839, and became one of the most important painters of the impressionist era. He formed a close relationship with the novelist Emile Zola, through whom he met Pissarro and came to know the others of the impressionist group.
Going back and forth from Paris to Provence for much of his life as a painter, Cézanne retreated into isolation back in Aix en Provence near the end of his life.
There, he focused – or rather obsessed – on the Sainte-Victoire mountain, which he would paint over and over, trying to capture its shape and essence. He was the inspiration for many of his contemporaries, especially in the cubist movement.