Home » Travel » The Post-Impressionism Trail in Ceret, France

Ceret France & The Impressionists

Ceret, France is a lovely medieval city located just a stepping stone away from the Spanish region of Catalonia. It is set in the beautiful foothills of the Eastern Pyrenees and is only an hour from the Mediterranean Sea. The French city has an incredible artistic past. Some of the greatest 20th century post-impressionists spent time in this delightful city.

Medieval Ceret, France
Pretty Ceret, France / Picture by puffin11k (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Why Ceret?

In January 1910, the Catalan sculptor Manolo Hugué convinced his friends Déodat de Séverac the composer and Frank Burty Haviland the painter to leave the French capital and settle in Ceret. They invited their avant-garde friends in Montmartre to join them, or at least visit them and spend time in this enchanting town.

Les ponts de Céret, France
Les ponts de Céret / Photo by AXURIT 1 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Pablo Picasso and Ceret

Pablo Picasso spent quite a few weeks in Ceret over the years of 1911, 1912, and 1913. He came for the first time at the invitation of the art patron Frank Haviland and returned again and again. It was a perfect place to spend some time when Paris was cold and grey.

During the years that Picasso came to Ceret, he was busy working with Georges Braque on a new art style – Cubism. Picasso convinced Braque to join him and they continued their collaboration and sharing of ideas in this lovely medieval town. In fact, Ceret was called “the Mecca of the Cubists” as their debut of cubist expression first appeared here.

Rooftops of Ceret by Braque - cubism style
Rooftops of Ceret by Braque (Public Domain)

Other artists who came to Ceret during this period included the Fauvist Henri Matisse and the Spaniard painter Juan Gris.

The Artists Continue to Flock to Ceret

Over time, Ceret becomes a place of gathering for young avant-garde artists. Not only in painting but also sculpture, music and poetry.

After World War One, more artists left Paris for Ceret. Some notable artists included, the poet Jean Concteau, and the painters Raoul Dufy and Chaim Soutine.

Actually Soutine came to Ceret as he was struggling to make a living in Paris. In addition, his close friend Modigliani had just died and Modigliani’s girlfriend commited suicide. It was a difficult period for him and close friends suggested he get away from Paris for a while.

Ceret was good for Soutine. During his period here, he stopped his wild life of non-stop alcohol and settled into a creative and prolific period. In fact, some of his best works were painted here.

A third wave of artists came to Ceret during World War Two, but this time for different reasons. They came to this small town to flee the Nazis. Amongst them were Marc Chagall, Jean Dubuffet and Tristan Tzara.

Some of these artists stayed for years, other for months or weeks only. But they all loved the sun-drenched landscapes of this part of France.

Today Ceret celebrates it’s rich artistic past with a fantastic world-class museum of modern art.

Modern Art Museum Ceret, France
Ceret Modern Art Museum / Photo by Mike Locke (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Musée d’Art Moderne Ceret, France

Pierre Brune and Frank Burty Haviland created this amazing museum in 1950. They asked their friends Soutine, Matisse, Picasso, Braque and others to donate their artworks, which they did. They were all happy to donate in recognition of Ceret’s contribution to their personal artistic growth. Picasso alone donated 57 pieces (ceramic artworks and one painting!)

Ceret Modern Art Museum
Musée d’Art Moderne Ceret / Regan Vercruysse (CC BY 2.0)

The end result is a fantastic collection of modern art. The museum is a gem!!


Museum of Modern Art of Céret 
8, Bd Maréchal Joffre 
PO Box 60413, 66403 Céret, France
T (33) 04 68 87 27 76 

Opening hours

From July 1st to September 30th: open every day from 10 am to 7 pm. 
The rest of the year: open from 10 am to 5 pm, closed on Mondays. 
Closed on: 1st of January, 1st of May, 1st of November, 25th of December.

Tickets are valid all day, they are neither returned nor exchanged.
The ticket office is closed 30 minutes before the museum closes. 

For more information press here.

Musee Ceret

Musée d’Art Moderne Ceret, France / Photo by Sylenius Sylenius [CC BY-SA 3.0]