the Matisse Chapel, a stroll through Vence, lunch

We didn't come just to eat. Well, we did, but restaurant staff has its rest times, too, and so we practiced with the GPS until we got it to speak English and to give us the fastest (as opposed to the most direct) route. We have learned the hard way that setting a language so that it stays set is key, having gone into a panic on an earlier trip when the car started speaking Swedish as we entered a double traffic circle at rush hour. On another trip, the renter-on-a-budget before us had left the GPS stuck on "cheapest, no tolls" and "most direct." We didn't figure this out till we found ourselves on a one-lane unpaved track through farmland, with ancient tractor approaching from the opposite direction, and the lovely modern autoroute visible up in the air a short distance away. "Oh, lutefisk," I growled, that being the closest thing to a cussword that I can say in Swedish.
Somehow we've missed the Matisse Chapel every time we've been in this area, and we were determined not to let it slide this time. It's tiny and modest, and M. Matisse designed it as a thank-you to nuns who nursed him during a serious illness. The exterior is unprepossessing. Once inside you go down a short flight of stairs, everything around here is built on a hillside, and enter the chapel. We were fortunate to have done this on a sunny day, there are two large stained glass windows and their color was a shout of Gloria.
The colors are yellow, blue, and green, the repeated motifs are familiar to lovers of Matisse, the leaves and the pointed ovals.
A small museum room off the chapel proper houses a complete set of vestments for each ecclesiastical season, also designed by M. Matisse.
After we left the chapel, we drove down to the historic center of Vence and treated ourselves to a stroll through old streets, squares, walls.

Thisis the Fountain of Foux, long famous for the purity of its water. Until the late 1800's, it was one of only three public water sources in the town.
They meant it about the purity, it's still tested regularly.
The residents have decorated their house fronts and doorways to express their individuality. The little niche may still be holding a female saint, just updated.

An unexpected symbol of defiance... sad thoughts of Wild Geese...
OK, we're so close to Nice, I had to have a Salade Niçoise for lunch. The giant black pot behind my plate is the light snack of mussels Himself ordered. How giant? He couldn't finish them!
And olive branches, always a welcome sight in this sore and tired old world.

16 comments:

  1. Those vestments! I had no idea MM designed ecclesiastical wear. What a beautiful place you are enjoying-- and you miss the hurricane.

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  2. Hi, Lane, the components of the outfits and the seasonal colors, I.e, green for Pentecost, are set by church law The designs on them are Matisse, and it seems he wanted his gift of the chapel to be "turnkey." Mass is said every morning, it's a working chapel, but I don't know if the original vestments are worn.

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  3. Replies
    1. Hurricane Sandy may turn left into NJ area on Monday-- pretty big storm. Heavy rain and wind, minimum.

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  4. That window takes my breath away. The reflection on the marble....

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    1. you know, it's been cloudy to teeming all day today, I'm so happy we went to the chapel yesterday while it was still sunny.

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  5. So beautiful, and your salad looks delicious! It sounds as if you two are having a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing all the pictures with us. :)

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    1. hi, FFM! so far, so good, hoping weather will hold

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  6. Julia Child was a big proponent of the "salade composée" and I think even she would have approved of this one.This was one lunch on the fly that didn't disappoint.

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  7. Hi WFF-Your salad looks so good-maybe I can show this picture to my poor peakid veggies from Kroger's and tell them "Now this is what I expect from you." The stained glass in the chapel is beautiful, ditto the vestments. The arched doorways are a wonderful reminder of the beauty of simple things, with their wonderfully aged doors and the neat touches of greenery. Thank you for showing us delightful details of your trip.

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    1. yes, I always speak sternly to my farmstand veggies, but then I remember they represent someone's kid's college fund, and I relent.

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  8. Thank you for the glimpse into your wonderful trip. I was unaware of the existence of the Matisse Chapel,and am now going to read up on it. Yes. We are in pre- batten down the hatches mode. Enjoy your trip!

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  9. The chapel is a wonderful example of jot and completeness in simple things. It's very wet here too.

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  10. oops autocorrect -- that was JOY!

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  11. I am thoroughly enjoying your trip journal. I will have to visit the Matisse Chapel. What a jewel!

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  12. Lovely photos! Thank you for sharing.

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