This is the first time I’ve been aware of a David Hockney

David Hockney, « L’Arrivée du printemps à Woldgate, Est du Yorkshire en 2011 (deux mille onze) – 18 décembre » Premier exemplaire sur un tirage de 10 Dessin sur iPad imprimé sur quatre feuilles de papier (118,1 x 88,9 cm chacune), montées sur quatre panneaux Dibond® 236,20 x 177,80 cm Avec l’aide de la collection de la Fondation David Hockney Photographe : Richard Schmidt

David Hockney, « L’Arrivée du printemps à Woldgate, Est du Yorkshire en 2011 (deux mille onze) – 18 décembre » Premier exemplaire sur un tirage de 10 Dessin sur iPad imprimé sur quatre feuilles de papier (118,1 x 88,9 cm chacune), montées sur quatre panneaux Dibond® 236,20 x 177,80 cm Avec l’aide de la collection de la Fondation David Hockney Photographe : Richard Schmidt

exhibition in the south of France: he is phenomenally popular in the UK where he works when not in LA.

This show will draw on work created in Yorkshire where he spent time recording the passing of the seasons in the same small area of countryside.  His subsequent exhibition of massive canvases at the RA was unforgettable.

This expo at the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh in Arles is much smaller, with 25 pastel drawings and also 12 from his iPad, but will surely be worth the short trip across from Aix.

Details here: http://www.fondation-vincentvangogh-arles.org/expositions/davidhockney/

While there, you can also admire the current painting on show by Van VgoghGogh – ‘Piles de romans francais’ which is rather beautiful. The Fondation Van Gogh opened very recently. It’s a super new space in which light plays a leading role.  Architects have taken a massive 15th century mansion, preserved its bones, but punched through windows to allow the Arles sun to illuminate the interior.  Best of all, you can climb right up, even further, to a roof terrace for views of the neighbouring roofs, church towers, and down below, the Rhone sweeping along to the Camargue.

A wonderful day out.



In the Salle des Fetes at Rians

In the Salle des Fetes at Rians

It’s October so it’s time for Var village Rians’ annual celebration of the courges which grow in such profusion around the area.   The village is en fete for the whole weekend: people flock to the centre to browse all the stalls with pumpkin-themed items and then move on to the salle des Fetes to see the competition entries (largest/strangest shaped vegetables).

There are always queues from mid-day to sample the soupe a lafood6 courge as well as various pumpkin stews, all served copiously in plastic dishes.  Arm yourself with a brimming beaker of local wine, usually just a couple of euros and off you go to find a seat at one of the long tables.  It really is a super opportunity to join in village life without a tourist in sight.

The school children decorate the village and also take part in games around the old fountain.  They are armed with fishing rods and have to fish out….what else but plastic courges?





This programme which is running at weekends until 1st November is aimed largely at residents of PACA.  It’s designed to encourage them to explore their beautiful region now that the holiday-makers have trundled off in their caravans and peace has returned.

thSo, many local attractions under the programme will be offering ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ entries, hoping to extend their holiday period.  In Aix for instance, all the Cézanne sites are signed up as well as Santons Fouques; and the offer extends to Tourist Office walks.

Click for details: http://bienvenuechezvous.regionpaca.fr/2015/

euromedAnyone who has been in the area over the last few years will have already seen massive changes in the area north of Marseille’s Vieux Port.  In fact  it’s southern Europe’s largest redevelopment area.

This is the subject of a talk by Alexandre Sorrentino at Aix’s Institute of American Universities on Thursday evening.

He will be discussing the ongoing project and forthcoming developments as part of the MAABN networking programme.  Read about it here: http://www.maabn.fr/2015/07/euromediterrannee-at-the-iau-aix-october-8/ and thanks to Rebecca for sending this info to Aixcentric.

docksIf you are in the area, the newly refurbished dock buildings, Les Docks, will open on October 10th.  It always was a striking building but now the 360m central aisle with 24 archways opening to either side will have all sorts of shops, cafés and offices.  What a lovely place to work.

More from la Fille Aixcentric who is loving her time in Provence.  Here’s her experience with Planet Sushi…

Even though there are hundreds of restaurants and cafes in Aix, sometimes you just want to eat a delicious meal at home. And sometimes you can’t be bothered to cook. And when these two sometimes occur simultaneously, there are lots of takeaways in available in Aix. 

sushiMy sister-in-law and I decided to order sushi on Sunday. We both love eating raw fish but our partners aren’t so keen! Currently there are lots of places to get great sushi in Aix. She recommended Planet Sushi, which is a restaurant near the Rotonde. We ordered online via their website http://www.planetsushi.fr/restaurant/planet-sushi-aix-en-provence/
Everything was in French but ordering was really easy as there are pictures illustrating which dish is which. My sister-in-law ordered baguettes to go with our meal, which I thought was unusual – and then she explained that baguettes also mean chopsticks!
The order was delivered within about half an hour in pretty pink bags – even takeaway bags in France are chic!
The last time I had sushi was in England, and it had obviouslymoresushi been frozen previously – it’s easy to tell – a real disappointment. The dishes from Planet Sushi were really fresh and full of flavour. The salmon nigiri was perfect. The California rolls were prepared with fresh, juicy mango and the maki rolls had lovely crunchy cucumber middles.
The order arrived with plenty of soy sauce. However, if you’re a big fan of pickled ginger and wasabi, I’d recommend you add extra to your order as just a small portion was included.
At 33€ for the two of us, it wasn’t cheap, but it was a wonderful treat and I hope it becomes a tradition with us!

le-guide-2015-hotels-restaurants-c-249-312I happened across this brochure when we were staying by the sea in La Rochelle.  There is something magical about being practically on the beach, especially if you have a room with a view.

This guide has 87 hotels and restaurants with direct access to the sea or a lake, not only in France but other parts of Europe: Their website is: http://www.lespiedsdansleau.com/

The company also provide a similar guide for camping.le-guide-2015-campings-villages-c-249-312

Nice to know!


La Fille Aixcentric is in town right now and asked for lunch ideas at places spacious enough for a pram.  In fact when I started thinking about it, I realised how tight most interiors are in the old town and even terraces can be crammed when the weather is so sunny.  She  now says she understands why so many young mums in Aix use slings.  Anyway this is what she found:

patacrepe“This pancake cafe was recommended to me by my sister-in-law who is local to the area. The creperie is situated in the Place des Augustins, which has a pretty fountain and a variety of bars and restaurants. Le Patacrepe has both savoury and sweet pancakes – the choice on the menu is overwhelming!

I visited this week with my husband and our baby. I was concerned there wouldn’t be enough room for the large pram but there was plenty. He ordered a Complete – a pancake with an egg, ham and cheese filling. He said it was reallycrepe good, with a runny yolk and lots of melting cheese inside.
I decided to order something I’d never heard of before, which was the Texas pancake burger. A beef burger, cooked to my preference, smothered in American cheese and BBQ sauce, sandwiched between two little crepes – delicious! It arrived with a dressed salad and perfectly crisp and tasty chips. My husband ordered himself a side dish of chips which weren’t as crisp as mine – they reminded him of fish shop chips. So, the chips are pretty hit and miss!
There are lots of sweet crepes to finish with. We didn’t have room, even when we saw a fellow Patacrepe diner tucking into a great-looking chocolate concoction!  
Our server was really sweet with us and managed to understand my mangled franglais. I’d recommend going to Le Patacrepe for a relatively cheap and quick lunch.
DETAILS:  Click here for their website http://aixenprovence.le-patacrepe.com/ which has details of opening times, menus, children’s specials, loyalty cards etc.
Open daily 12-00:00, but later Friday and Saturday.