At recent social gatherings, the talk has frequently turned to the difficulty in sussing out what is going on round here. Everyone agrees that events often seem to spring out of the blue with little advance publicity, which is after all one of the reasons I started this blog. The MP2013 organisers have certainly tried to communicate with their new website plus key dates published; but even so, it can be tricky to figure out exactly what is on offer. I can read descriptions over and over and still have little idea what will happen. I have in the past put this down to my shaky French but now feel reassured that local hoteliers are finding an equal lack of solid information.
They claim that since the beginning of the year, they have been experiencing la morosité, great word, and are asking someone somewhere to ‘boost la communication’. The authorities are pointing out that J1 has had 40,000 visitors and the Pavillon M 80,000, numbers they expect to grow once the skiing season is over. They said that that was the experience in Lille. But the hoteliers complain that more has been spent on cultural aspects rather than marketing them. Running promotional campaigns for hotels, which link say weekend breaks to cultural events, needs timely and clear information and this is what has been short. So 1 million euros has been debloqué for increased communications so hopefully we will see a difference.
I did notice in Marseille when I recently visited, a white painted message on the pavement. It was outside a hotel which, it explained, had been a centre for immigrants fleeing Nazi persecution in their own countries. Some travelled onwards but the unfortunate families who stayed were rounded up and deported. I now learn that the message I saw is part of a programme publicising over 60 locations in town where arrests and incidents took place. Here is a link to the Alain Paire Gallery website which has a full article on this programme and the part that the Mexican ambassador played in helping get people out of France. http://www.galerie-alain-paire.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=219:gilbert-bosques-consul-du-mexique-a-marseille-qici-memeq-15-cours-joseph-thierry&catid=7:choses-lues-choses-vues&Itemid=6
New in Marseille this week is an exhibition of paintings and art works on the theme of ‘Poissons, Coquillages et Crustacés’. It’s on at the Maison de l’Artisanat which you will find at 21 cours d’Estienne d’Orves, a few steps from the Vieux Port and the real fish market.
It’s a small gallery, on two floors, but they do interesting exhibitions and it’s free! Until 16th March, Open Tues-Fri 10-12, 13-18; and Sat 13-18.
A new exhibition on life in the gypsy community starts on Tuesday 19th at the J1 gallery along in La Joliette. ‘Partage de Memoires Gitanes’ has been curated by the Musée Arlatan in Arles and focuses on the traditional lives of Provencal gypsies. It comprises interviews, photography and symbolic objects – and sounds rather interesting. More info here: http://www.culture-13.fr/agenda/partage-de-memoires-gitanes.html
Not a great deal new to report in Aix. This weekend is the last opportunity to see the objects on the ‘L’Art à l’ Endroit’ art trail, none of which I suspect will be much missed though I think everyone agrees that the splendidly dotty trees in the cours Mirabeau did much to brighten the opening weeks of the year. I did this week visit the Camus exhibition which is open during afternoons at the Cité de Livre but came away very disappointed. I don’t know much about him, apart from memories of reading La Peste and L’Etranger at school; but this exhibition didn’t help at all. It’s just a collection of photos and typewritten scripts in glass cases with no overarching narrative or helpful explanation for those of us not in the know. Ironically, after all I said at the beginning of this post, this one has been wonderfully well communicated with large posters in bus-shelters all over town. You might like it more than I did.
Whatever you do, enjoy the blue skies this weekend!