"Hommage to Picasso" Vallauris by NiceLife

Vallauris Travel Guide: 3 reviews and 9 photos

Mum, why is that man carrying a goat?

I had put off visiting Vallauris for many years when, finally, curiosity and a spare day got the better of me. There is no direct bus connection from Nice as it is not on any of the TAM routes. Instead it is necessary to go to Cannes and pick up the only and infrequent local bus to Vallauris from Cannes SNCF station. On the bus I found myself in the company of some maids off to their cleaning jobs in the luxury villas high above above Cannes and a couple of local schoolgirls, each sharing an earpiece of one's ipod, singing along to some latest hit.

Some five miles north east of Cannes I found Vallauris, an unattractive little town, slightly shabby, run down and, like nearby Grasse, with a significant Muslim community. There is much-needed building and restoration work in progress everywhere and in a year or two it might look quite pretty, but not yet. The local tourist office, one organisation which if any should be open, had just closed for its usual two hour lunch break. It probably isn't the busiest of jobs.

Guide book in hand, a few Picasso diehards were waiting patiently for the National Picasso Museum to reopen after its long lunch break, in the company of museum staff having a last cigarette, alfresco ( Could this be the cigarette brand for today's smoke-free Europe? "Alfresco. Enjoyed outside pubs, offices and stations everywhere")

A search of sidestreets for French charm and character yeilded little. The Picasso museum is not just the high spot, it is the only spot. In the main square stands the celebrated figure of the man carrying a goat. You wonder what what prompted that vision in the great artists eye.?

OK Pablo, whatsit gonna be today?
Sculpture. Man and beast.
How about - a man carrying a donkey?
Too heavy.
Man carrying a pig?
Too noisy.
Man carrying a woman?
Too much like my ex-wife.

I know...I've got an idea ...

(Later that day)
"Hey, where have you been all day Pablo? Phew! You smell like a goat! I'll put the bath on."

A couple of restaurants share the square with the man and goat, under the welcome shade of a few tall plane trees. It's a pleasant tranquil spot for a cool beer. Somewhere here Michelin-starred chef Alain Llorca has opened a cafe. But the infrequent bus timetable kicked in - it was time to leave. One last thing, I had to check the menu. No goat?

Apparently, one guidebook says its a sheep. Still looks like a goat to me.

In the shadow of Pablo

A few other artists and sculptors have set up their studios in the shadow of the great man. Impressive but be honest - wouldn't this rather dominate your front room? (Aside from getting in the way of the flat screen)

As a conversation piece it might just work.

"Hey man, nice sculpture "
"Do you like it, really?"
"Err, yes of course. Its very...sculptural. "

There is nothing here of the charm of old Le Cannet, or the glitz of Cannes. The area likes to call itself "Golfe Juan Vallauris" and indeed there is such a train station near the coast, however this town is a long way from any beach of a similar name.

The most entertaining potential of the journey is if you dismount the bus half way back to Cannes, up in the hills of the super rich Super-Cannes. Here there is a bus stop named "Paradiso" Indeed so. A few yards from the modestly called "Pedestre de Paradiso en Terre" or similar - the street of paradise on earth. This is the access road to the super-villas of the most fabulously wealthy villas of Cannes, including many Saudi and Quatari princes who retreat here in Summer from the roasting 40-degree temperatures back home. Walk the street down and see delivery vehicles busy installing their latest toys - home cinema systems and pool tables.

You can easily find your way back to Cannes on foot and glimpse how these incredibly priviledged few live. Just don't get too close to the dog at each gate. Chien Mechant!'

Musee National Picasso

Wednesday to Monday, Closed Tuesdays,

High Season 10am - 18:00, closed for lunch 12:15 - 14:00

Great art must wait - its lunchtime

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Picasso
  • Cons:Precious little else to see or do, difficult to reach by public transport
  • In a nutshell:Go once. But only once
  • Last visit to Vallauris: Jul 2008
  • Intro Updated Nov 6, 2008
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NiceLife

“Despite the cost of living, it seems popular. Enjoy.”

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