Riviera Lectures: The French Riviera (part 1)
The French Riviera and Monaco – A Two-Part Lecture Series
(December 1 and 8)
$18 per lecture or $30 for the series
Palm trees, beaches, blue skies, and sparkling sea —the spectacular stretch of coastline situated between the Maures mountains to the west and the Alps to the east has long been viewed as a mythical place of romance, glamour, relaxation, and escape. In this two-part lecture series, we will look first at some of the outstanding sites of the Riviera. A second lecture will focus on the principality of Monaco.
Lecture One (December 1):
Originally an isolated region of small fishing villages, the French Riviera was first ‘discovered’ in the 18th century by British and Russian aristocrats seeking refuge from northern winters. Artists including Signac, Matisse and Chagall were drawn to the area for the intensity of its light and picturesque scenery. The arrival of prominent figures and celebrities beginning with Queen Victoria and continuing through Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Brigitte Bardot secured the Riviera’s reputation as a fashionable resort.
From hiking trails to art museums, perfume factories and exotic botanical gardens, the Riviera has much to offer. It is a destination that continues to inspire today. Our journey moves through the seaside resorts of Saint-Tropez, Antibes, and Villefranche to the hilltop villages of Saint-Paul-de-Vence and Eze. We will explore narrow meandering cobblestone streets, discover colorful local markets, admire landscapes of mountains and sea, visit cultural and artistic treasures like Renoir’s studio, the Matisse chapel and the Rothschild villa, and sample culinary delights like socca (chickpea crêpes) and pissaladière (a tasty onion and anchovy pizza).
Lecture Two (December 8):
Monaco, a miniscule sovereign state near the Italian border, has long been a dream destination for visitors. Know for its glitzy glamour, gambling, and wealthy tax-dodgers, this “jewel of the Mediterranean,” in addition to yearlong sunshine and mild climate, boasts a spectacular seaside setting offering stunning panoramic views from its rocky cliffs. Add to the mix the intrigue involving a few swashbuckling monks and the high-profile marriage of a Monaco prince to a Hollywood star (Grace Kelly) and you have the elements for a lively tale of romance and adventure. This second lecture explores the sites and history of this fabled principality including a look at its oceanographic museum and casino as well as its richly decorated palace.
Pamela Morton is an artist and university teacher who has been living and working in the south of France for over thirty years. An expert on Provence and the artists of the south, she has organized and led museum and site visits for cultural organizations and college students. She lectures on Picasso and Matisse, as well as on Cezanne and van Gogh. She has also taught painting and drawing along with 19th and 20th century art history courses for study abroad programs in Aix and Marseille. With a background that includes art restoration and museum education, Pamela brings special insight to her understanding of artistic works and their settings, both in time and place. Like the artists she studies and admires, Pamela finds inspiration for her own work in the bold light and landscapes of the south of France.