The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Autumn 2022

Discover Aix, the ‘Little Paris’ of Provence, the historic region of Beaune, a land of wine and castles. Beautiful Bordeaux and Normandy. The stork villages of Alsace and the pickled-in-the-past, post-card pretty perched town of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert. Breath-taking Lavender fields in Provence, castles in the air in Dordogne. Exquisite Villefranche-sur-Mer and Nice. Discover what’s new, the best tours, recipes, a language lesson, practical guides and much, much more…

Monet 'at work' in

Monet 'at work' in Etretat Gardens Misty Monet morning, Etretat The formula was lost in the French Revolution but in 1863, local wine merchant Alexandre Le Grand found the recipe, recreated the drink, and commissioned a flamboyant turreted mansion in its honour. A combination of museum and art gallery, it holds the distinction of being the world’s only distillery for Benedictine liqueur. Le Grand’s art collection spans sacred to modern art and is as eclectic as the building he commissioned. Every new coastal view reminds me why the Impressionist painters were so enamoured of Normandy’s light and landscape. But the place I most want to see with my own eyes is Etretat with its famous rock arch attached to the Aval cliff. I’m thrilled to catch a distant view over a sunset aperitif in the garden of the Domaine de Saint-Clair hotel just outside town, however I’m gutted next morning to wake to thick sea mist. Despite the June heatwave, Monet’s iconic subject is barely visible, even from the beach. But after my initial disappointment I console myself with the thought that Monet loved to capture changing weather conditions. If I look on this as a Moody Monet Moment, 50 Shades of Grey suddenly takes on a very different connotation! As the sun burns off the morning mist, I head up to the Amont cliff to visit the magical Etretat Gardens, an extraordinary topiary garden which includes – no surprise here – a reproduction in wicker of Monet at work, complete with palette and easel. My final stop on the Alabaster Coast is somewhere I’ve never really wanted to go, but feel I really should. Le Havre. This busy commercial port at the mouth of the Seine was bombed to near oblivion during World War II, leaving 80,000 homeless, so little remains of the original town. It was also the accidental birthplace of Impressionism in 1872 when Claude Monet painted a shadowy picture entitled ‘Impression. Sunrise’, dubbed by a disparaging art critic as Impressionism. Thanks to the vision of celebrated architect August Perret and his team, Le Havre was rebuilt in the 1950s with broad avenues, public open spaces, and concrete apartment blocks. But despite the city’s UNESCO World Heritage status, I’ve never had any great desire to see it. Big mistake. The innovative period design turns out to be far more attractive than I imagined. Don’t miss the church of St Joseph, Perret’s masterpiece, nor the Perret Show Flat, full of 1950’s nostalgia. But the real treat for me is MuMa – the Museum of Modern Art André Malraux – which houses the second-largest Impressionist collection outside Paris. The young Monet was encouraged by established artist Eugène Boudin from nearby Honfleur, widely considered as the ‘master of skies’ for his seascapes with racing clouds and wide horizons. Boudin Eglise Saint-Joseph ®Ludovic Maisant 24 | The Good Life France The Good Life France | 25

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