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It was back in August 1961, a long-forgotten incident, and thanks to local historian Alain Paire for sending details of this fascinating story.

The thieves climbed the garden walls then up the decorative ironwork of the façade to reach the first floor paintings.

The thieves climbed the garden walls then up the decorative ironwork of the façade to reach the first floor paintings.

The town authorities were trying to put Aix on the map, artistically and for tourists, and had mounted an ambitious series of exhibitions – Van Gogh, Matisse and now Cézanne.

But security standards were lapse at the time: overnight, the gendarme on the ground floor slept through the whole thing and the night guard upstairs ‘didn’t react’ while eight paintings were taken off their cords and vanished into the night. Continue Reading »

wolfhall_1Getting UK TV in the south of France is a complicated business these days so perhaps you have missed the BBC’s 6-part adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s prize-winning novels ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bringing Up the Bodies’.

When ‘Wolf Hall’ began last month, it attracted 3.9million viewers, the most successful opening for a BBC2 drama in a decade.  But the final episode last week had only 2.3million, meaning a third of the original audience had given up.  Continue Reading »

IMG_1696A Welsh friend this week told me that I had to have daffodils in the house for March 1st – the feast of St David the patron saint of Wales.  So here they are, brightening up the kitchen no end.  And lucky local people have another treat in store on Sunday with a free reading of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’s marvellous, lyrical play ‘Under Milk Wood’.

It’s been organised by Dympna, who lives in Aix but is not, as you will guess, Welsh.  She simply loves theatre and meets regularly with a group of play-reading friends.  They have been rehearsing hard and are ready to introduce you to extracts from the funny and absorbing ‘Under Milk Wood’ ….or as Dympna says, ’50 Shades of Day in 1950’s Wales’milkwood

The narrator lyrically introduces the thoughts and dreams of the people of a Welsh fishing village, Llareggub.  Was Nogood Boyo up to ‘no good’ in the Wood?  Would Mr. Pugh poison Mrs. Pugh?
 
What better way to celebrate Welsh National Day and the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas than to sit back and let the beautiful words float over you during this simple 60-minute presentation?
 
 
dyanWhen: On Sunday 1 March 2015 at 17:30 hrs
 
Where:  The CCC (Café Culturel Citoyen) pub/cafe which has a well‑stocked bar (and a glass of wine for less than 2 euro) and simple ‘kitchen’ chairs (bring cushion?), typical of the type of establishment Dylan might have frequented.  CCC is at 23 Boulevard Carnot, Aix, opposite the convenient Parking Carnot
 
Dress Code: Don’t forget to wear a leek or preferably a daffodil in your lapel!
 
 
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riedererLa Patisserie Riederer has gone into liquidation after 234 years’ making cakes in Aix.  It was taken over by Continue Reading »

New Cézanne Drawings

The art world in the US is a-buzz with the discovery of a Cezanne drawing and a watercolour hidden away atnew cezanne drawing the back of two pictures in the Barnes collection in Philadelphia.

The drawing illustrated here is, I’m sure, the side view of Jas de Bouffan with the farm buildings alongside; the other is of the Pilon du Roi.

You can read all about the detective work going on around this discovery here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/21/arts/design/two-new-cezanne-works-discovered-by-barnes-foundation-museum.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

and thanks to Susan for forwarding this to Aixcentric!

Now that the area around the Rotonde is sorted – and it does look lots better – the authorities have turned their attention to another large area ripe for regeneration: the places des Precheurs, Verdun and Madeleine as well as rue Thiers. 

carsThere will be no more parking here once the project starts next year as the whole area will be resurfaced, pedestrianised and made coherent: the cars will be sent off to new underground parking at the Arts et Metiers.

The 15.3m euro project will take two and a half years and will have quite an effect on the markets and the restaurant terraces.  The Brasserie le Verdun for instance gets 2/3 of its business from its outdoor tables.

The archaeologists though will be delighted as it will give them the superb opportunity of 6  months’ access to this historically rich part of town.

This is the site of the 12th century Palace of the Counts of Provence, itself constructed around 2ndpalace of counts of provence century Roman towers and the ancient Porte d’Italie.  King René renovated it in the 15th century and cleared the houses in front to make the large Italian-style square.  The whole building was demolished just before the Revolution, an act which has been called an ‘architectural catastrophe’.

Who knows what secrets lie beneath the car-parks?  After all, we Brits recently found a king under one!  It will be fascinating to see what emerges…

Here’s some information on new lower prices for parking at the airport, and also on the three flights per day to Brussels.bruxelle Continue Reading »