Aix-en-Paris Metro

If you are in Paris right now, you may have caught the unexpected sight of some of the 240 4m x 3m ads pasted in metro stations advertising the delights of Aix-en-Provence. There are two visuals, with the same strapline: La Provence a Un Prenomet Mon Prenom C’est Aix and here they are: Continue Reading »

French Flicks

It’s sometimes difficult to find a suitable French film to watch so I was delighted to stumble across

One of the 65 films free to stream on this website

https://frenchflicks.com/home.html which is a guide to over 1000 French films available for streaming on Netflix, Amazon, TV5 Monde, You Tube etc.  It also has links to 65 titles to stream free. Continue Reading »

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ at Formula One World Championship, Rd8, French Grand Prix, Race, Paul Ricard, France, Sunday 24 June 2018.

The date is fixed for 27th June for the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet. 

It returned to the remodelled circuit in 2018 but the event was marred by poor traffic control for the many spectators who flocked to the track.  This meant that numbers were down in 2019, and we all know what happened to 2020.

This year, the organisers are expecting 15,000 to attend.  According to La Provence, the government is authorising events up to 5000 outdoors, and so they are forming 3 separate bubbles of 5000, based on 3 grandstands at the 150 hectare site. There is no general admission access.

Tickets are still on sale for the Friday and Saturday.

  • Jeff Koons. Lobster, 2007-2012. mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating. 57 7/8 x 37 x 18 7/8 inches ; 147 x 94 x 47,9 cm. Edition 1 from an edition of 3, plus artist’s proof. Pinault Collection © Jeff Koons, photo: Marc Domage/Courtesy Almine Rech Gallery
    Jeff Koons. Lobster, 2007-2012. mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating. 57 7/8 x 37 x 18 7/8 inches ; 147 x 94 x 47,9 cm. Edition 1 from an edition of 3, plus artist’s proof. Pinault Collection © Jeff Koons, photo: Marc Domage/Courtesy Almine Rech Gallery 

    This stainless steel lobster is one of the 20 items from the Pinault Collection that will be on show at MuCEM, all being well, from 19th May. The artist has chosen, in addition, 350 everyday items from the museum’s own collection with which his creations will ‘dialogue’.

    ‘Je suis tres fier de cette exposition, c’est un bijou’, Koons told the Marseille press conference from New York.

    In a first, the whole exhibition will take place in daylight, that is without protective screens across the windows. I have seen one of the galleries like this and the sunshine streaming through the black lacy concrete casts wonderful patterns across the floors.  Worth the price of admission I think!

    Until 18th October.

Sometimes the best guide through history’s complications is a well-researched piece of fiction, and this is certainly the case with ‘The Art of Losing’ by Alice Zeniter, a novel which follows a family uprooted from 50s Algeria to an unwelcoming new life in France.

Spanning three generations across 70 years, the novel tells the story of colonisation and immigration, and how people adjust to loss.  In it, grandaughter Naima goes to Algeria herself to understand why her grandfather Ali went from being a wealthy landowner to being an immigrant factory-worker in a French sink estate.

It won the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens and the Prix Littéraire du Monde, and has just come out in English (hard back).  ‘A startling exploration of the unspoken histories of the Algerian war’, Le Monde. 

I found it riveting and it helped me understand more of this complex period.  On a local note, Ali’s journey takes him through the south of France as he and his family are billeted at Jouques.  Recommended.

Eleven years.  That’s how long the Musée Arlaten has been closed for renovation but with the input of a leading architectural agency and the fabulous Arlesien designer Christian Lacroix, it certainly has style – just see the staircase.

Continue Reading »

Cézanne Anyone?

‘Nature Morte: Pommes et Poires’ is up for sale on 12th May at Sotheby’s, NYC and is expected to fetch 25-35m US$.  I’ve always loved the story of what happened in the playground of what is now College Mignet when bullies were making life hell for new boy, Emile Zola, who was impoverished and had a Parisian accent.  Paul Cézanne waded in to help him: ‘the next day he brought me a big basket of apples,’ he wrote, and the friendship began.

In fact he was to paint 301 still lifes, 200 oils, 101 watercolours.

If that is something of a stretch financially, Magnum Photos and Paris Match have released a set of prints taken by their photographers over several decades: click the link to see pictures from the magical world of film sets which show the evolution of cinema in the 20th century.  Prints £100. Thanks to Julia for this tip!


Having posted a new opening date for the Cézanne/Kandinsky show at Carrieres de Lumieres (May 1st), then listened to the French Prime Minister who could only forecast a general re-opening for mid May, I thought I’d check the Les Baux website and, sure enough, the ‘1st’ has been removed.

It really must be a nightmare for arts organisations right now who are managing in such uncertainty and with Covid numbers still high locally.

So here is my list of forthcoming shows which seem to be teed up, ready to roll with all possible safety-measures, just waiting for the signal ‘GO’.  Continue Reading »

If you fancy a trip in the fresh air, the Martigues tourist office have organised a programme of three different boat trips exploring the canals, or the Cote Bleue or the Etang de Berre.  Perfect if you live nearby, but they are booking until 15th May when travel restrictions may be relaxed.

Details: https://www.martigues-tourisme.com/newsletter?action=view&id=193&client=12697&email=aixcentric@yahoo.co.uk

The area is a favourite for TV and film companies: Provence Studios is currently producing several TV shows and 3 new episodes of Camping Paradis are being filmed on a nearby beach.

The Rolling Stones’ travelling exhibition ‘Unzipped’ comes to Marseille’s Velodrome as part of its global tour on June 10. It’s previously been seen in London, New York, Chicago and the Netherlands, and after Marseille, goes to Toronto.

Like other events this summer, numbers will be controlled with 10 sq m allowed per visitor, with 200 people allowed per session.  The expo is open daily, 7 – 20hrs, with adult tickets costing 25 euros each.

So what’s there to see?

  • 400 original objects from the band’s personal archive
  • instruments, audiovisual material, diaries, posters and album covers; stage designs, iconic costumes
  • a reconstruction of the band’s first apartment in Edith Grove – this was famed for its utter squalor
  • a recording studio
  • a unique three-dimensional experience of a Stones concert.

10 June-5 September 2021.  Here is the website https://rollingstones.com/unzipped-exhibition/ , background: https://www.world-today-news.com/unzipped-dedicated-to-the-rolling-stones-lands-in-marseille/and an invitation (in French) from Mick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji4tXmb39-g