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‘1001 Herbes‘ is a new branch of the chain of stores specialising in products based on CBD (cannabinoide), the non-hallucinegenic part of the cannabis plant.  They offer a full range of different oils targeting various stress or anxiety-related issues as well as holistic healthcare…plus you can book in for a massage from one of their specialists.  At 31 rue des Cordeliers. https://www.1001herbes.com. Continue Reading »

In need of exercise?  On 10th April, you can take part in a run around the Orange Velodrome stadium (home to Marseille’s famous l’OM football team) and through  the nearby Centre Commercial Prado.  Do 2, 4, or 8k, either alone, as a family or as part of a team.

Registration is open now. https://www.orangevelodrometrail.com/

 

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Another opportunity to visit the Velodrome comes in June if you’re a Rolling Stones fan: their travelling exhibition ‘Unzipped’ hits town as part of its global tour. It’s previously been seen in London, New York, Chicago and the Netherlands, and after Marseille, goes to Canada.

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.

June-September 2021.  Here is the website https://rollingstones.com/unzipped-exhibition/ which gives info on the exhibition but hasn’t been updated with the Marseille details. It does though have a video of Mick and Keith reminiscing about life in Edith Grove….

Perhaps you have noticed that the bust of politician Victor Leydet is back on its plinth at the Place Jeanne d’Arc, next to the Rotonde?  It was put back there on 18th December, 110 years to the day from its inauguration.

So who was Victor Leydet and what is the story of this statue?

Born in Aix in 1845, he went to school at what is now the college Mignet before finding work as a shop assistant in town.  He was soon running a local business dealing in almonds, oils and drinks, and married Louise Lucie Ely, sister of well-known Aix photographer Henri Ely – their premises are still in the Passage Agard.  He became involved in politics becoming adjoint au maire d’Aix, conseiller général, député and sénateur in Paris.

Back in 1879, Leydet bought 40 rue Villeverte, now named rue Victor Leydet, where his descedants still live.

When he died in Paris in 1908, sculptor Auguste Carli was commissioned to create a monument to him in his home town. Unfortunately this was requisitioned in 1942 by the Vichy regime under orders from the Nazis who were seizing metals for use in armaments.  It was replaced in 1951 by a marble bust from the Leydet tomb at the cimetière Saint-Pierre.  After decades in place, this bust was moved in 2012 when the area around the Rotonde was renovated.

A new version in bronze has been created and that’s what we can see today.  There was no ceremony – that will have to wait until it’s safe to celebrate the statue and the life of Victor Leydet.  Thanks to Dympna for sending details and photos to Aixcentric.

 

‘Lupin’ is a French crime drama starring Omar Sy as a Parisian janitor who hatches a plan to steal Marie Antoinette’s necklace from the Louvre.  The five-part series follows Assane Diop (Omar Sy), who was inspired by the stories of fictional thief Arsène Lupin, to organise the theft to avenge his father’s death 25 years beforehand. It’s very fast-moving, witty and engrossing television (the trailer below will give you a taste). Continue Reading »

Here’s a one-pot supper, full of eastern spices, guaranteed to warm 4 people up on a chilly evening.

Serve with brown rice.

Ingredients

500g squash/pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into bitesize pieces*
3 tbsp oil
2 onions, diced
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into bitesize pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
½ red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp medium curry powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
400g can black beans * drained and rinsed
400ml can coconut milk
50g baby spinach

Toasted flaked almonds, to serve
2 tbsp coconut yogurt (or Greek)

Two comments:I used a bag of frozen butternut squash and simply tipped it in at stage 4 below.  Hadn’t got black beans in the cupboard so used kidney beans, not a good decision as they rather disintegrated.  In future I will use chick peas as they are more substantial.  Otherwise all went well…

Method

1. If using squash or pumpkin, preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Put the pumpkin into a baking tray and toss with 1 tbsp of oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 20 minutes until cooked through and soft.

2. Meanwhile heat a large non-stick frying pan until hot. Add the remaining oil, then the onions, pepper, garlic, ginger, chilli and cumin seeds. Fry, stirring regularly for about 4 minutes or until the onions start to brown.

3. Add the turmeric, curry powder, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper, and cook for a further 1 minute. Next add the black beans to the pan along with the coconut milk.

4. Add the squash/ pumpkin to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and add the baby spinach. Cook for about 20 minutes. Taste and season with more salt, black pepper, if needed, and some chilli flakes if liked. Serve sprinkled with flaked almonds and with dollops of yoghurt.

 

 

 

 

Everyone in Aix seemed despondent when the Librarie de Provence in the cours Mirabeau closed its doors in 2019: the future for book sales seemed doomed as we all turned to online sources.  Then came 2020 which closed shops for weeks on end.

But a funny thing happened –  as retail went into a tail-spin, Continue Reading »

Alaphilippe wearing the rainbow jersey as world champion

Great excitement amongst cycling fans as Julian Alaphilippe, the current world champion, will be part of the Tour de Provence; it’s a first for the race now entering its 6th year.

He had planned to be racing in south America but that competition like many others has been cancelled.  So will the Tour de Provence, 11-14th February, take place? https://www.tourdelaprovence.fr/

The organisers certainly hope so and plan full health safety-measures based on those introduced for the Tour de France. Their need for 41 hotels during 5 days would be welcomed by locals, along with the catering necessary for the entourage of 500 – as well as all the spectators.

The decision is in the hands of the prefect and is expected 5th February.  I’m sure it has to be taken so late, in order to fully measure and evaluate the Covid situation, but it must be really difficult for the organisers of such a large event to work with such uncertainty.

The fairground operators are in the same boat, waiting for a oui/non decision for the Foire aux Maneges which takes place each year near the Stade de Carcassonne.  Diaried in for 13th Feb – 14th March, it too awaits authorisation from the prefecture.

With so many things closed right now, maybe seizing the opportunity of a sunny January day to wrap up and have a walk round some purely Provencal sites might be just the ticket to lift the spirits; and if you’re not in Provence right now, this may be useful for when you are!

Seven Self-Guided Walks

  1. Aix: In the Footsteps of Cezanne. If you are new to Aix, this is a good guide to the locations where the painter was born, lived, died, cafes he frequented and so on.  You have to look for the little markers in the pavement (photo).  The tourist office have a downloadable guide: https://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/en/destination/hiking-and-themed-tours/in-the-steps-of-cezanne/ 

Continue Reading »

Photo from La Provence

The inspection that took place yesterday, at the site of the threatened buildings (see previous post), resulted in better news for most of those involved.  Continue Reading »

Photo from La Provence

Buildings in rue Granet in Aix’s centre ville were evacuated on Monday evening when ‘travaux’ on a ground-floor apartment led to the vaulting in the cave below giving way.  Residents in flats above were told to leave immediately followed by all from numbers 21-25.  No-one was hurt and of the 63 people affected, 32 went to 5 hotels with the rest moved to temporary accommodation at Les Milles. Continue Reading »