Our first day – we wake to sunshine and blue skies. Our guide Walid from the Office de Tourisme welcomes us in the hotel lobby and we start our introductory tour of Le Cannet, sketchbooks in hand. Le Cannet is a hidden gem only a short distance from Cannes, but a world apart, with a quiet, intimate charm and character. We feel like honoured guests when the deputy mayor, Mr Pigrenet comes to welcome our group of Irish artists personally. Our tour brings us by the Tour des Danys, through the Tivoli Gardens and remembrance monuments, and up to the lovely Rue Saint Sauveur.
Walid has arranged some special visits for us – first to the atelier of the very talented artist Renato Manese, who tells us we must paint “du coeur et de la ventre” – “from the heart and from the gut” – and then by special arrangement into Chapelle Saint Sauveur to see the wonderful Tobiasse paintings and stained glass.
We have booked lunch with Yves in one of our favourite restaurants, Le Tivoli – gorgeous salads, chilled rosé wine and divine desserts, with a little sketching over coffee!
Our afternoon is spent in the Musée Bonnard, sketching the beautiful paintings and drawings of Bonnard, an artist who shone a transcendent light onto the intimate and ordinary passage of daily life. Almond trees in Spring, gardens, windows and breakfast tables, and tender studies of his beloved Marthe through the years. The simplicity and fluid ease of his drawings gives us a glimpse of how natural and effortless it could be. In his notebook he wrote about his morning walks – “Maris çela fait vivre” – “it brings you alive”. An art critic wrote of Bonnard’s paintings: The artist transposes Mediterranean light into a sensual poem suffused with a radiant joy. It was a joy to be there.
An evening hike up about 200 steps above the village to the trail of the Canal de la Siagne “sur les pas de Bonnard” completes our day. From the scenic overlook the Riviera stretches below from Cannes to the Esterel and out to the Lérins islands.
Dinner on the Place Bellevue offers another sketching opportunity before the sun goes down – pen in one hand and glass of wine in the other! We’re off to a great start!
Our comfortable and perfectly located Park&Suites hotel
Le Cannet tourist office