I kept a journal and a ready camera as we drove on to Dinan near the ancient pilgrimage site of Mont Saint Michel. Later we continued to South Brittany visiting the ancient 6000 year old Menhirs and standing stones evocative of the pre-Celtic history of southern Brittany. Paul Gauguin was drawn to the mythic-rich pagan and Christian fusion of the Britons as well as the dramatic beauty of the landscape.
On our drive south we spent several nights in the timeless and dream like landscape of the Dordogne, which is also home to the caves of ancient paintings such as Lascaux. We drove on to Provence and the village of St. Remy that was made famous by Van Gogh and the hundreds of paintings he made here near the end of his life. A week in and around the lovely village of Lourmarin in Provence’s Luberon area took us to the southern flanks of Mont Sainte Victoire the artistic center of Cezanne’s world. Picasso followed Cezanne to the mountain where he spent his last years and is buried on its north slopes. The TGV high-speed train took us to Paris in 3 hours through the beautiful Cote du Rhone for the delights of Paris and its museums, restaurants, streets and bridges.
After returning home I made 17 paintings based on my photos, notes and journal sketches.
Here is Monte's May 2013 essay for the Great Falls Tribune.