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When Gérard Philippe meets Pablito Zago, what a gas! In Avignon, the walls tell a story through the creativity of street artists and highlights from the Festival d’Avignon immortalized on 50 painted windows throughout town. Heads up!


Painted windows!

Trompe l’œil windows frame timeless scenes from the Festival d’Avignon on buildings throughout Avignon, the perfect thread for a walk through the streets of the centre city. Painted by Dominique Durant and Marion Pochy, these windows, on high building façades, tell stories from the festival. You will see Gérard Philipe, Jean Vilar, Jeanne Moreau, Daniel Auteuil, Maria Casarès, Daniel Sorano and others. All seem to continuously be acting out the scenes which contributed to their fame.

Maurice Béjart, mime Marceau, and Bartabas and his equestrian theatre are also on these stopped-in-time wall paintings. Like tattoos on the skin of the city, images from the Prince of Hamburg, Scapin, Macbeth, Marianne, Lorenzaccio, Harpagon, Antigone, Hamlet and other famous plays are forever on display on the walls of this city of theatre. Some fifty windows have been painted … discover them during your city wanderings.


Discovering towns and villages around Avignon

If you also feel like going off the beaten path of the historical monuments in Avignon, come to the streets and squares in the towns and villages around Avignon. This is unheralded heritage, and though there may sometimes be guided tours, it is often best to explore on your own, with no particular goal in mind, simply seeing the streets of the town, or walking along the banks of the Rhône.

Think of it as a treasure hunt, and here are the objectives. In the streets of Villeneuve, find the strange statue of a lizard on the square Place Jean-Jaurès. Then, discover, on Rue des Récollets, the high-water mark that stands witness to the ravages of the impetuous Rhone before it was tamed by man. In the plains at the base of the Abbey, or in Rochefort du Gard, see the statues and ex-voto which are along the Way of the Cross and take you back to centuries past. And, in Roquemaure, the relics of one of the most famous saints, Saint Valentine, can be seen in the collegiate church in Roquemaure. A treasure which is celebrated every other year on Valentine’s Day weekend, with people in costume telling of the legend of the patron saint of lovers.


Pablito Zago, street and artist

Pablito Zago came to life an afternoon in June in the schoolyard of a high school in Cavaillon. The product of the playful imagination of a friend who liked a good joke, who christened him “Zago le fou”.

The name was not a blaze nor was it a boastful pseudo, and Pablito Zago became an alter-ego, the iconoclastic double of Julien Diago who has been drawing since he was old enough to hold a pencil.

The following postulate captures his own individuality: We are similar and we are all different. And the very base of his artistic work: contradiction. Africa, the primary arts and his street art, colourful, naïve and informative, open the door to his imagination. His pencil was raring to go. He was driven to express his travels in images. He drew his first Carnet de Voyage, a combination of comics, cartoons and graphic article. He adopted this artistic form and used it to travel the world. Fascinated by masks (primary art again) and an obsession with duality – his painting evolved in trompe l’œil. “Bird in chaos” is a good example. The colourful, reassuring bird develops into a contrary current and struggles to take off in hypothetical flight. Its feathers are imprisoned by the bandages which keep it from flying…

As Pablito Zago sums it up, “as a kid, all I did was draw”, he states when asked how he got to where he is today. And where he is means the monumental expression on walls from Avignon to Paris and to Brazil. “As a kid, all I did was draw, he repeats, and drawing perhaps calmed the anxiety that comes with the passage of time, with death haunting you and an artistic fate to be assumed. As an artist, he quickly sensed there was more to it. After high school, he and his brother organised a group called the Flying Tea Pot. Pablito did the vocals, and the group survived some “4 or 5 years”. At the same time, he attended a graphic design school in Marseille. The professors were all well-known visual artists – the professor teaching Art History was the director of the MAC (Marseille Museum of Contemporary Art). Music and graphic arts. Pablito was in heaven. When not rehearsing fusion rock, metal and electro, he painted, and finished his early canvases.