This summer, we are so fortunate to be able to see wonderful paintings done in the region, at the major galleries. But I’d also urge you to find some time to have a look at the work of an American artist, Jill Steenhuis, who lives and paints locally: her passion for Provence is reflected in the vibrant tableaux she produces. Continue Reading »
July 4th is going to be a pretty busy day in Aix with thousands descending on the town to see the departure of the cyclists on their etage of 175km to Montpellier. Most of the primary schools are being closed as will many of the roads in centre ville. Over 50,000 people are expected to attend as well as 2269 journalists. At least its great news for the local hotels with 1756 beds in the département booked.
The ‘Caravane’ of sponsors’ vehicles sets off on its parade lap at 11:00, then leaves the official departure line at 11:20 to make its way along the route dispensing freebies and entertaining the waiting crowds. This year there will be 300 vehicles and 23 articulated trucks in the convoy.
The ‘Peloton’ of cyclists leave at 13:00 for their parade lap round town, then the real race starts at 13:20. They will be in Eguilles at 13:22 - 2 minutes to get to Eguilles!
If you want to know more about the minute-by-minute schedules for each day the cyclists are in Provence, you should arm yourself with the new hors-series from La Provence which is on sale at kiosks for 2,80€.
In addition it has lots of interviews with local cyclists and focuses on ‘le Géant de Provence’ – Mont Ventoux. At 1912m, it is one of the big climbs of Le Tour and has a fearsome reputation. Aixcentric fils cycled up there on Saturday, then halfway down, met some buddies and cycled back up!
What a wonderful exhibition has just begun in the musée Granet! One half of ‘L’Atelier du Midi’, the other being in Marseille, ‘De Cézanne a Matisse’ is one of the major shows for the MP2013 Year of Culture.
Its theme is the South of France and the impact it had on painters. Continue Reading »
It’s a highly expensive (70m€) conference centre with some glass panels in the upper floor to see the water below. My verdict would be …don’t bother visiting.
Yesterday I visited the new MUCEM building along with the renovated Fort St Jean and came away hugely impressed with the whole complex: firstly, what a site! Continue Reading »
If you visit one garden this year, this should be it – what a stunner! It has been designed by 31-year-old artist Matthieu Exposito as part of the Flaneries d’Art Contemporain dans Les Jardins Aixois celebration. You will find it at the back of Banque Palatine which is 1 ave Victor Hugo – right next to the Rotonde. Pink threads criss cross the tiny patch which is filled with bright pink papers, scattered like petals across the floor.
His website explains that he ’attempts to convey the alienation of a split society in his creations’. Whatevs….I just loved the brightly coloured materials shining with the sunlight streaming onto them. Six gardens in the Quartier Mazarin are open, Saturday (15th) 14-20:00 and Sunday (16th) 11-19:00.
If you are in town and in need of a quick lunch, try ‘La Tarte Tropézienne’, the Aix branch of a chain of cafés dedicated to the eponymous tart. It was first created in St Trop by Alexandre Micka, a Polish soldier who came ashore with the liberating armies. He had his grand-mother’s recipe and started his business in the town. The recipe is still supposedly secret, but the cake is basically a mouth-watering sandwich of sponge and crème pâtissière. Today I tried their lunch offer of a sandwich, drink and dessert for 6.50€ – the sandwich being a large filled baguette (quite hefty!) and the dessert a slice of the famous tarte. The café also offers salads and snacks. The decor is very sleek and they have a spacious shaded terrace out front. Friendly service. It’s at 3 ave des Belges (just down from the tourist office, same side of the road).
In the same area, there is Papilles by Laurane which I blogged last year but it’s worth a reminder if you are looking for a lighter lunch. It’s a few paces from the Rotonde and offers lots of alternatives. Here’s how it works. You take a printed menu sheet, write on your name, tick your choices and pay the genial proprietaire at the till. Your lunch is made to order from fresh ingredients and your name is called for you to claim it. They have 50 variations of petits pains chauds (1,90€ each) eg artichoke, piperade and Parmesan or melon, mozzarella and rocket – which can be accompanied by a simple salad or crisps at 1€ extra. The ‘formule papilles’ is 9,80 – 3 sandwiches, dessert and drink. Good quality; nice ambiance; very central. It’s open weekdays from 9am; closed in the evenings.
I was horrified to read today that the view of the Sainte-Victoire that Cézanne painted 28 times is being threatened by a group wishing to build a 40m long by 10m high extension to a maison de retraite. Continue Reading »