There are many places that capture Studio Beleta’s imagination, but Aix-en-Provence, with its wrought-iron balconied façades, majestic plane trees and baroque fountains, has a special place in its heart. Birthplace of post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne, whose light-drenched studio is open to visitors (cezanne-en-provence.com), this cosmopolitan Provençal town is beloved for its seventeenth and eighteenth century architecture, Cours Mirabeau – its famed tree-lined thoroughfare - and its proximity to the coast.
It’s here that culture and relaxation collide: whiling away a morning at a local café is practically mandatory given the town’s average of 300 days a year sunshine, yet an annual programme of events and exhibitions provides plenty of inspiration. Historic Pavillon Vendôme, a seventeenth century mansion, is as appealing inside as out, with its manicured, formal gardens and an ever-rotating display of contemporary art within its walls.Meanwhile, Hôtel de Caumont, a fine town mansion, now houses an art centre, which hosts exhibitions and films as well as a chance to view the building’s fine rooms and opulent furnishings. A tea room and evening bar encourages guests to linger and take in views of the terrace and gardens. Lovers of interiors shouldn’t miss the fine tapestries on display at Le Musée des Tapisseries, while the town’s regular Deco exhibition organised by Côté Sud brings together an intriguing mix of artists, designers, makers and craftspeople (vivrecotesud.fr).