The village of Mougins is where Pablo Picasso lived for the last 12 years of his life and where he died in 1973 at the age of 91. Picasso was buried close to Aix-en-Provence. Picasso first visited Mougins in 1953, when he was living in nearby Cannes with his long-time muse, Francoise Gilot. Later that year, he met his second wife, Jacqueline Roque, who was 46 years his junior. She worked at the pottery studio where he worked in Vallauris, close to Cannes. Together with Jacqueline he bought a property near to Aix-en-Provence, called Chateau de Vauvenargues. Picasso had originally wanted to settle at Vauvenargues, but now nearing his 80's he grew tired of the visits to his doctors based in Cannes, so he began searching for a new property to live.
Pablo Picasso house in Mougins
Picasso eventually found a beautiful 35 room property located on a hillside above Mougins, called Notre Dame de Vie. He lived at Notre Dame de Vie for 12 years. Notre Dame de Vie was named after the nearby chapel, whose lines of Cypress trees inspired a number of his drawings.
Picasso in Mougins
Picasso's time in Mougins coincided with the height of his fame and wealth. Although his productivity was slowing down, this period of time coincided with some important artworks from his 'later period'. Amongst the famous pieces of work produced during his time in Mougins were: The Dance of Youth, 1961; Nu assis dans un fauteuil, 1963; The Chicago Picasso, 1967; and Femme nue au collier, 1968 (picured left) which was a painting of Jacqueline Roque.
Although Jacqueline Roque was by all accounts not the easiest of women to be with (she later prevented two of his children from attending his funeral), there is no doubt that she loved Picasso. She later shot and killed herself, unable to cope with the loneliness of life without Picasso. Picasso himself produced over 400 drawings and painting of Jacqueline during the 20 years they were together. He produced 70 portraits in one year alone. This was more than he had produced from any of his previous relationships, including his time with Dora Maar and Francoise Gilot.
Picasso died at his home of Notre Dame de Vie, Mougins on 8 April 1973. During the evening he and Jacqueline had been entertaining friends for dinner, but he later fell ill. The cause of his death was fluid in his lungs which caused breathing difficulties and led to cardiac failure.
Notre Dame de Vie - Picasso home
Pablo Picasso's home in Mougins is not open to visitors, as it remains a private residence. After his death, the property was bought by a Belgian art dealer. In 2015, Notre Dame de Vie was put up for sale for €150m. There was some consternation that the interior of the property had been altered substantially since Picasso's time. But as anyone who has owned a house with an Avocado bathroom suite can confess, time does not stand still.
Where to next . . . ?
Read our article on the Van Gogh in the South of France to discover the places where he stayed and the famous paintings he created during his time in Arles and St Remy
Interested in visiting the South of France? Check out our French villas with pools to rent
Check out the Mougins Museum of Modern Art to visit during your stay in South France
Read our reviews on the Best South France Museums to visit in 2020 during your stay
Contact Iain by Email or by phone +33 6 95 00 28 44 if you have any particular questions you would like to ask about visiting the South of France. If you liked the article then please share it with others using the Twitter and Facebook buttons below. I wish you a wonderful stay in the South of France.