The Charles Camoin exhibition at Aix’s Musee Granet comes to an end tomorrow, Oct 2nd, so it is the last chance to see this colourful show of paintings that are very often local. Here is his view of Cassis

Port de Cassis 1905 (photo Jean-Louis Losi, c. ADAGP Paris 2016)

Port de Cassis 1905
(Photo Jean-Louis Losi, ADAGP Paris 2016)













and an unusual view of the valley of the River Arc in Aix with the viaduct for the railway which of course now straddles the A8.

Les Bords de l'Arc, La Passerelle 1906. Musee Granet, Aix-en-Provence, Photo; Patrick Goetelen, ADAGP, Paris

Les Bords de l’Arc, La Passerelle 1906. Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence, Photo; Patrick Goetelen, ADAGP, Paris

Over at the Fondation Vasarely, it’s the last day too for ‘Multiplicités’ the op art show – alongside the amazing permanent collection by the Hungarian designer and artist.

Being the first Sunday of the month, the municipal museums are free-entry and it’s also book market in the Place de l’Hotel de Ville – a great opportunity to root around through out-of-print books, prints and school posters.  And it’s set to be sunny!


a-tableThe new La Provence publication ‘A Table’ has lots of recommendations for all locals who like their food!

The news section has information on new products, restaurants and events – like Marseille’s forthcoming Oktoberfest (26-30 Oct).  There is a section on coffee to link in with MuCEM’s next exhibition ‘Café-In’ (see last post) with three recipes for very tempting quick Italian desserts made with ice-cream and espresso.

There are recipes too from gourmet chefs including Guillaume Sourrieu at Marseille’s L’Epuisette and Guillaume Maurice at the Dolce Frégate in Saint-Cyr.

Restaurant reviews include Albertine which is the new venture from Gérald Passedat.  This is in the trendy ‘Les Docks’ development and is called after the chef’s mother who died recently.  And I learn that champion swimmer Florent Manaudou is involved with a new place on the Quai du Port, called what else but La Piscine?

Aix’s Le Zinc gets a review as well as new ventures in Arles, Avignon, Gordes and Manosque.

Ninety pages of local inside info to get your teeth into…..3,50€ at news-stands.

So much happening; here we go:

fete-de-la-gastronomie_thumbnail_0This weekend, 23rd-25th September, is the fete de la gastronomie.  Both Bouches-du-Rhone and the Vaucluse are taking part and have maps showing routes for visiting foodie locations, or places where craftspeople can be seen at work.  routes13-carte_0This is a sample of what you can find at http://www.artsetgourmandises.fr/

The Charles Camoin exhibition at the Musee Granet ends at the beginning of October, so if you haven’t seen it, maybe you would enjoy the special evening, Soir au Musée, when the gallery is open until 21:00.  Musicians and dancers from the Conservatoire Darius Milhaud will be performing at 19:15 and 20:15.  The paintings are lovely.

Over in Arles, the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh have announced their next show, Urs Fischer, which starts on 1st October – looks challenging!https://www.fondation-vincentvangogh-arles.org/en/expositions/urs-fischer/ le-revewhile in Marseille, the new exhibition at the Musée Cantini is dedicated to ‘Le Reve’. It  has already begun and you can read about it here: https://www.myprovence.fr/agenda-culturel/expositions/marseille/108237-le-reve.

MuCEM have two new shows coming up.  ‘Albanie 1207km Est’ is all part of the museum’s mission to highlight different areas of Mediterranean culture.  Tirana is just 1207km from Marseille, not much different to Berlin, but it’s a bit of an unknown to many of us so it should be enlightening.  (24th Sept- 2nd Jan).  On the other hand, we are all probably very familiar with coffee but may not realise how much it has permeated our culture.

 Albert André(24 May 1869 - 11 Jul 1954) Les dames du café Wepler 1926 (C) ADAGP, Paris Credit: Photo (C) RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Albert André(24 May 1869 – 11 Jul 1954)
Les dames du café Wepler
(C) ADAGP, Paris
Photo (C) RMN-Grand Palais (musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

‘Café-in’ will have 300 paintings, drawings, and texts illustrating the history of coffee worldwide and is the first exhibition on this theme ever held in France.  To mark the opening at the end of  October, there will be a race amongst 120 of the town’s garcons de café, a free entry evening, and of course themed culinary delights from a ‘grand chef étoilé’.  (26 Oct – 23 Jan). Lots of details to come nearer the time.

For book lovers, the annual Fete du Livre will take place in Aix on 14-16th October.  The guest of  honour will be Arundhati Roy whose ‘God of Small Things’ is such a wonderful read.  I will post the programme when I can get my hands on it!

The 70m euro Villa Mediterrannée is in the news again with PACA presidentvilla-mediterranee-marseille-2013 Christian Estrosi wishing to sell it.

The latest proposal is that it should become a casino.  Read the details here: http://www.leparisien.fr/provence-alpes-cote-d-azur/marseille-la-villa-mediterranee-va-t-elle-devenir-un-casino-19-09-2016-6131475.php

Meanwhile, it is costing 4.4m euros a year in maintenance.  Let’s hope they can find a use for it quickly and resolve this problem.

hh-9574490-1This house in Grasse was home to Mary Cassatt Continue Reading »

Last week we spent the morning in Grasse, a town I hadn’t visited for years.  Ofimg_1634 course it’s perfume-central with lots of parfumeries offering free tours and shops with tempting arrays of bottles, sprays, soaps and creams.  Plus there’s the Musée International de la Parfumerie which takes visitors through centuries of perfume-making.  But I was on the trail of Fragonard, the 18th century-painter who was born in the town – I wanted to visit his house.

And it was a disappointment!  Firstly Villa-Musée Fragonard was advertised as img_1625being open 10-19:00 but when I got there, there was a paper pinned up saying it wouldn’t open until 13:00.  When I finally got in, only the top floor was open, not the downstairs salon, and it was just a couple of rooms, heavily shuttered.  Peering through the gloom, I saw just a handful of small drawings and paintings, plus some by his son.  The painter was born in Grasse but spent most of his life in Paris.  It turned out that he just stayed in this house briefly during the Revolution, during which time he and his son decorated the staircase.

I was much happier with the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence and spent a fascinating hour exploring its contents.  It is housed in the elegant mansion of the Marquis de Cabris, whose wife was Louise, sister of our own Comte de Mirabeau.  They actually parted company and the img_1595house was virtually abandoned but a president’s son, Francois Carnot, bought it to recreate the life and times of an 18th century aristocratic home.  On the ground floor, there are

Ingenious wooden contraption for keeping an 18th century baby out of harm

Ingenious wooden contraption for keeping an 18th century baby out of harm

the salon and bedrooms of an imaginary marquis and marquise, with some typically Provencal furnishings.

Downstairs there is the original kitchen with a gleaming range and stores full of olive oil jars.  Lots of displays of china and children’s toys.

Then on the first floor, there are rooms of Provencal art – one with paintings by Granet, and another with artists who worked in the region like Dufy, Seyssaud and Charles Camoin.

It’s open daily and costs just 2 euros. The staff were very friendly and happy to see visitors. Details: http://www.museesdegrasse.com/mahp/presentation


Aix: a Tale of Two Le Mags

53269a110c706ec766725bb5666ef4c7I am just wondering why the Mairie publish ‘Le Mag’, and the tourist information office publish a different ‘Le Mag’?

They are both full of interesting info….here are the links…



…but does anyone know why they have the same name?