In 2016, we leave...

in the days when..."it is time to relight the stars"

as said the french poet Guillaume Apollinaire

An original walk in Provence

listen... and see better

Emile ZOLA and Paul CEZANNE

The story of an exceptional friendship


At the very beginning, there is just Emile and Paul, 2 children. They are 12 years old and they meet in the College Bourbon of Aix en Provence.

The days without school, with some other boys, they leave this town which is too narrow for them. In that time, the town is surnamed "the sleeping beauty". They go by the river "Arc" or to the mountain Sainte Victoire. There, they can walk, swim, fish, hunt, have barbecues, gaze at the stars, speak about girls and love... but also rhyme, draw and imagine the future. These extraordinary landscapes are a green setting for their common dream to become artists, poets, painters.


When he is 18, Emile has to leave for Paris, but the pact of friendship  resists thanks to holidays and a considerable correspondence. The time of the childhood passes. It is not any more the moment to dream to be an artist, but to become really artists together... but not just anyhow !


At 20, Emile writes to Paul : "I had a dream last day. I had written a good book, a sublime book that you had illustrated with your beautiful sublime drawings. Our two names shined in golden letters, united on the first page. And, in this brotherhood of the genius,, inseparable, they achieved immortality". This common book will never exist, but...


This brotherhood of the genius is going to last during the next 26 years. How are they going to live it ? to make it real ?


What is it going to produce for both of them ? and for us, so long after ?


What is it going to allow as new things for litterature and painting ?


Where is it going to lead them as a man and as an artist ?


Here are some of the ways that you will explore during this walk, by listening extracts of letters, novels and by looking of another eye at Cezanne's paintings.


"I go on nature", "I go to the landscape", said Cézanne... so, you will do the same. You will be in the landscapes which became novels and paintings, still famous. You will be in the heart of the creation, of the transformation of reality, of the individual expression. You will see how the friendship participated to those processes.

"The Art is a natural place seen through a temperament", said Zola... So, what your own temperament will see ? and together, with our different points of view, what are we going to cross, to exchange in order to widen our horizons ?


AND YOUR FRIENDSHIPS ? How are they ordinary and exceptional ? What will you see more about them in the mirror proposed by these two artists ? Their example allows to go further than the definition of friendship given by the philosopher Montaigne : "because it was him, because it was me". This walk is also a dive in this privileged human relationship, whose sense is weakened now.


AND THEN ... after having benefited from their lights, we shall have to cross their shadows...

because, their friendship did not last till eternity but only 34 years. When he is 46, Zola writes a novel about Art : L'OEUVRE. A painter and a writer confront their 2 ways to be artist. Then, there is no more letter or meeting. The ways are going apart, they will never meet again. Coincidence ? or just another mystery to be lightened ?

This walk is a part of my work on Zola which is a famous writer but, above all, a committed artist and a great human being.

For several years since 1998, I had a litterary walk for the Office du tourisme of Aix en Provence.

WHY ? because Aix is hidden in 5 novels of the great adventure of the ROUGON-MACQUART. We looked for it between novels and reality.


See the BBC program - dramas :  BLOOD, SEX AND MONEY :

the life and word of Emile ZOLA

You can hear my participation in this recording


WELCOME to you :



- if you want to know more about Zola and Cezanne

- if you visit Aix or Provence and dare discover them through the artists

- if you are interested in creativity, creation, Art

- if you like to explore the mysteries of human relationships

- if you wonder on friendship nowadays

                    and if you speak french... for the moment





Marie-Christine BERNARD

I am a storyteller. I create for you cultural moments, together, somewhere, outside, during the time of a story. Of course, we walk a little with our feet, but above all, we walk in our mind, in our imagination, carried by the words. 


I propose some knowledge as a key for new personnal perspectives, thoughts and dreaming.

"To know, to think, to dream... everything is there", said Victor Hugo


I invite to go back to past and collective sources, as myths, tales, novels, poetry, history. This is a way to increase all these personnal resources that we need to know better who we are, how we live with others and what is our contemporary world.


For more details or request, please write your mail by CONTACT