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Fabulous, literally….the rooftop at MuCEM

During November and December, MuCEM’s new Happy Hour programme includes free admission to all exhibitions from 16:00-18:00.  This starts today and will last for the duration of the curfew.  It’s worth remembering that all the public museums in Marseille are free too, for the next 12 months.

Details here and worth a click to see the lovely photo of MuCEM, better than mine! https://www.mucem.org/le-mucem-en-mode-happy-hour

Marseille’s Les Catalans beach has been announced as the site for an underwater sculpture park by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor………..but it looks like Cannes has beaten us to it…

They are now preparing six works for a submarine display opening in early November to the south of Sainte Marguerite, a small island in the Bay of Cannes. Taylor’s 8ft-high sculptures—based on casts from the faces of local volunteers—will be placed 13ft below the surface, so swimmers will be able to see them without scuba equipment.

The underwater art park also has an ecological mission as the statues will be used to attract sea-life and vegetation. The city authorities of both Cannes and Marseille are planning partnerships with local schools, using the new attractions to educate students about marine conservation.

This is a really interesting little film which shows the sculptures arriving in Cannes from the UK:  https://youtu.be/3c-R4SulDnw

 

Exhibitions Ending

Last Chance to See

Coming to an end…

Just a reminder that the beautiful works of Spanish impressionist Sorolla head out of town after November 1st.  Until then, daily at the Hotel Caumont, Aix.

And November 1st is also the end date at Fondation Carmignac, the stunning gallery on the island of Porquerolles.  As usual, the gallery closes during the winter months.  Background from a previous visit: https://aixcentric.com/2018/09/20/fondation-carmignac-at-porquerolles-not-to-be-missed/

Reservations and masks needed for both.

‘Catastrophe’ is the word used by the traders’ association president to describe the ‘Les Docks’ office, shopping and dining development opposite Les Terrasses du Port.  Housed in beautifully renovated warehouses, the ground-floor thoroughfare was designed to take 80 shops and restaurants.  It opened in October 2015 and my view when I visited was basically that there were several new developments happening across Marseille, especially around the docks, and there’s a limit to what would be commercially viable.  And that was before Covid!  Click here for background: https://aixcentric.com/2016/10/11/marseille-latest-docksshopping-news/ Continue Reading »

Jas de Bouffan – News

As Aixcentric followers will know, the 18th century country house, Jas de Bouffan, which was home to the Cezanne family for 40 years, was closed over a year

Cezanne painted his home 36 times in oil, and 17 times with watercolour.

ago for renovation.  I went in for a last visit on its last day of opening and my goodness it needed renovation: think cold, damp, pieces of plaster hanging off the walls and ceilings.

It’s a sizable property, 450m2, with a farm, outbuildings, caretaker’s house, a large pond, an orangerie…all in 6 hectares of land, all inside the Aix city boundaries. Work started and was expected to take about 3 years, but of course Covid intervened, and work is just recommencing.  The new target date is 2023.  So what can we expect to see? Continue Reading »

Aix’s first cinema, the Cezanne opened with one ‘salle’ seating 1200.

Aix is France’s most cinephile town with 15 screens in its 3 cinemas.  So how are they coping this year so far? Continue Reading »

You may remember announcements about the large-scale developments planned for the airport – read here: https://aixcentric.com/2017/12/10/marseille-provence-airport-news-2/

So what is the latest on these plans, given the massive impact of Covid on air-travel this year? Continue Reading »

Photo Trail in Aix

The 20th edition of Phot’Aix has launched and this year the theme is Africa. There’s a big show at the Musée des Tapissseries which runs, hopefully, until 28th December.

Plus there’s the parcours, a trail of micro-shows at 24 venues dotted around town.  Here’s the link for details: https://fontaineobscure13.wixsite.com/photographie/les-parcours.

***

There’s another interesting photo-expo in centre-ville, this time at the Galerie Motu which is showcasing the work of American photographer Jamie Beck.  During 60 days of lockdown, he did a daily photograph, often inspired by Renaissance paintings.  The Galerie Motu is at 13 rue de Lacepede and is on facebook.  Can’t find details of opening times – perhaps someone could supply them as this looks interesting.

Susan Gish writes: This article is a bit about us and wine, and a bit about three women who manage or own wine shops in Aix.  (We’ve also included some other wine shops in Aix).

 Our Wine Wall: Sam and I moved into our Center City Philadelphia 1853 townhouse in the late 90’s. The amount of renovation it needed was overwhelming A week later, as we were having a glass of wine in the backyard at sunset, looking at a large blank concrete wall, I looked at Sam and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could commission the artist Isaiah Zagar* to create a wine wall for us’. Isaiah came over, I explained about our trips to France, love of wine and asked him to create a Wine Wall…he looked at the blank wall with the excitement of a child. Sam asked for the phrase, ‘Gout de Terroir’ and the agriculture of wine to be included in the art installation.
Isaiah left and came back a few days later. He’d done some research and was inspired by the idea of mythology and wine. He wanted to create a Bacchus, the God of Wine, agriculture and ecstasy, as well as Pan with his foot stomping on grapes. They would be surrounding a female in the center, his own ‘Lady in the Hat’. She would be his Goddess of Wine. Grapes, apples, corn, birds in the field, the sun, flowers, it was a fantastical vision of agriculture and terroir! Mosaics and three dimensional wine urns and bottles…For 20 years, every time I looked at it with the sun shining into the glass from different angles, I always saw something new. Isaiah is a good soul, known for being a bit eccentric.
The day he completed the wall, Sam came home unexpectedly and walked in to find Isaiah in his birthday suit. 
He was standing on one leg and the other was crossed in front, posing at the wine wall with a bottle of wine in his hand.  His assistant was taking his photograph. ‘Sam’, he cried, ‘it’s, a, uh, uh …it’s all part of the process!!’. 
Sam just turned around and walked out of the house, quite bemused. Needless to say there were numerous apologetic messages on our answering machine for a few days. Later on we found out that this wasn’t the first time that he did this when completing a piece!
 
Our honeymoon was in Champagne in 1987: All of our vacations were to wine regions, mainly in France.
I got to choose where to go one vacation, Sam chose the next.
 
After our honeymoon in Champagne, our next vacation was in Alsace.
Then Burgundy. 
The Rhone. 
The Loire. 
Champagne again. Burgundy again along with Beaujolais.
Madeira.
Napa and Sonoma.
Tuscany.
Cassis. Bandol. Languedoc.
And finally, Bordeaux.
 
We travelled for a week or two at a time, touring each region on the Route des Vin, stopping for dégustations (tastings), and oh, so many tours. Of course after you’ve seen one pressoir, cellar with oak barrels, and bottling line, you’ve seen them all. ‘Very interesting! That’s great, the cépage, the blend of this grape and that grape you use and, Now. Can. We. Taste. The. Wine? Please!?
 
Gout de Terroir – taste of the soil, taste of the earth: We visited each wine region to learn about ‘terroir’, the earth, the agriculture of the land. We wanted to know where the grapes were grown, to see the soil, feel the climate. This was part of our work. I was a Wine steward, Bartender and Bar Manager (while supporting my acting career). Sam worked as a Sommelier, Maitre’d and Head Waiter (though he never tested for the certificate for Master Sommelier). He also worked for a wine importer. It helped us to actually be in each region, to see each appellation and to understand which grapes were allowed to be used.
 
Plus we had a really good time at numerous Fete des VendangesThere’s a great story when we were in Alsace, in Mulhouse, and stumbled upon the Fete – the crowning of the Queen of the Vendanges (who was the Mayor’s daughter, of course), the parade, the really smarmy DJ on the little stage that all the young women were vying for the attention of…and the new wine and flammekueche that we drank and ate and drank and ate again. 
Never have I had such a bad hangover since. Never. Beware of new wine. By the pichet. In that beautiful blue ceramic vase. Oh, my gosh, I got off track, so many stories to be told!
 
Maintenant: My palate is better than his; his memory is better than mine. I do think women are better at tasting.
I read that women are better than men when it comes to smell and taste. One article said that women have almost 50% more olfactory cells in their brains than men.
 
I was good at tasting a long time ago and still am, but you have to keep up with wine. Maintenant (now), I am just a consumer and perhaps an anti-snob, especially with roséAt one time I knew a lot about wine and only drank the best. 
The past few years I have discovered there is really good boxed rosé wine that one can get in Provence. I would have never, ever, drunk boxed wine in the US! Here we even put ice cubes in the rosé we drink in the summer but not all of them. There are some rosé’s that are definitely not ‘une piscine pour les glacons’.
With white wine, red, and champagne, I’m a bit more discerning. How I love a good white Burgundy or a white Rhone. Or a viognier from Chateau Grillet, one of the smallest appellations in France..Come to think of it, I’d say my favorite reds are also from Burgundy and the Rhone.  Lately, Sam and I are learning about (and loving), the white wines of Provence, Luberon, Var & the Gard
St Victoire, Cassis, Bandol, Bonnieux, Uzes…
So good and they range from fruity to mineralistic. So much wine to try, so little time.
 
But wait!
Instead of talking more about the wine, the regions, the terroir, more fun stories, or the hundredsthousandsmillions of specific wineries we love – all of which would be a book – and so finally, to the point of this article:
 
Cavistes à Aix-en-Provence (Wine shops in Aix)

The 3 Women of Wine Shops in Aix 
Vive les femmes du vin! 
A younger generation of women, c’est génial! 
 
— La Route des Vins -La Pioline:
Stéphanie the manager rocks! Here’s a favorite wine quote of hers:
“I only drink Champagne when I’m happy, and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.” Lily Bollinger
 
Stéphanie is full of enthusiasm and knows so much about wine. She worked in wine in the US and speaks English very well. We turned the AAGP (Anglo American Group of Provence) onto her, and she hosted a wine tasting in English at the shop for us in 2019. It was a proper tasting: she is really ‘bubbly’ (haha), but Stephanie also has a serious side. 
She loves to talk with and educate people about wine. The two of us have a good connection; I enjoy shopping there.
 
La Route des Vins has a wide selection of wines and Stéphanie is more than willing to guide you whatever your budget. We’ve been for tastings there from local winemakers. 
 
Hurry, just a short time left in October for the wine fair. 20- 30% off on a great selection. Check it out online : www.laroutedesvins.com
 
La Cave des Ours -near the Cathedral: 
Owned by a young couple: Maria and Romain. Maria likes this wine quote: 
My only regret in life is that I didn’t drink more wine.” Ernest Hemingway 
 
 I’ll let her speak for herself:  “I find it important to let people know they can trust that all of our products are respectful of the environment and the health of both consumer and producer. We work very hard to verify the work done in the vines and during wine making to be sure that we are offering products with no chemicals, additives and other “winemaking” products. We believe wine should be made of grapes grown with love and nothing more. So all of our products are grown without herbicides, pesticides or fungicides, hand harvested, fermented with indigenous yeast, have little to no SO2 or other “winemaking” additives, and are often unfiltered and un-fined…we are lovers of natural wine and craft beer! We are fervent defenders of organic and biodynamic agriculture, respectful of the environment…We defend authentic products of small artisan winemakers and growers as well as independent artisan brewers against the impersonal products dominating our food and beverage industry.” 
 
They have both worked in the hospitality industry. Maria in the US, Australia and New Zealand. Romain is French. He has been very passionate about wine from an early age, drinking with his family on holidays from his grandfather’s cellar. He enjoys blind tasting with his friends and is level 3 WSET certified (an international wine certification).
 
Their wine shop & wine bar serves wines by the glass or bottle. A different selection changes weekly. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights you can get charcuterie, fromage and vegetable/vegan platters. Bread is from Farinoman Fou the best I think in Aix! They also do a pop-up brunch du marché every month, sometimes with a vegan chef. 
 
Brunch update! – This Saturday, 17 October there will be one of the brunch du marché with PopUp Culinaire- Vegan/Végétal cuisine par Ariane Roques – 11-14h – reservations recommended.
 
I often go to Cave des Ours during the day for a café: they serve Mana coffee! www.lacavedesours.fr 
Mademoiselle Wine – off of Place Richelme:
 Another woman that knows a lot about wine is Aurélia Gauthier. She has a great selection of fine wine, as well as around 100 different champagne vignerons in stock. This is my go-to place for good champagne in Aix. I always buy Pierre Peters champagne from her as it’s one of my favorite champagnes ever. Aurélia likes to share the emotion of wine, offering wines for tasting during the day. I’ve been a few times when there are winemakers in for tastings. 
She’s obviously a lover of good food as well from the pictures on her Instagram: 
Mademoisellewineaixenprovence – ‘Cave à Vins et Champagnes de terroir / Peaceful place for wine & champagne lovers’. A new shop is under construction which is only a few doors down on the same street. Opening in November.
More wine shops we have been to (perhaps some have women owner/managers):
—La Cave du Cours Mirabeau- Have been to a gin tasting there. The shop is downstairs in a cool old building.
—La Cave Mazarin – Great selection on Rue d’Italie.
—Simplement Vin – I like that they have their wines arranged by price: 8euros, 8-15euros, 15-30euros, 30+ and Les Bulles. Aix (not centre ville) and Eguilles.
—Cave du Félibrige – convenient on rue Cordelier
—Cave Conseil Aix- on the Peripherique – close to us.
—Oenodepot -in Les Milles by the party shop – a wide selection of wines and spirits.
—Nicholas – There are three in Aix: Rue d’Italie, Les Allées Provencales and the Mairie. 
—La Cave de Virgile – Le Tholonet near the new Lidl. 
 
Of course, there are many more places in Aix to buy wine: gourmet shops, little  corner shops…You can also buy at the supermarché. Wait! Why not go to the wineries themselves? Taste and buy: well, that’s another article to write!
Just for fun, quelques citations de vin et champagne from women:
 
“I can no more think of my own life without thinking of wine and wines and where they grew for me and why I drank them when I did and why I picked the grapes and where I opened the bottles, and all that, than I can remember living before I breathed.” 
 
“There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk.” 
-both above from M.F.K. Fisher
 
“I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food.”
 
“Wine is meant to be with food—that’s the point of it.”
 
 “As you get older, you shouldn’t waste time drinking bad wine.” 
 
“An old wine is like an old lady, and travelling can disturb her.”
 
“Wine is a living liquid containing no preservatives. Its life cycle comprises youth, maturity, old age and death. When not treated with reasonable respect, it will sicken and die.”
 
“The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded, and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit.”
-all above from Julia Child
 
“Pass the Bolly, sweetie darling!” 
Absolutely Fabulous
 
“Whenever I drink champagne I either laugh or cry…I get so emotional! I love champagne.” 
Tina Turner
 
“Three be the things I shall never attain: Envy, Content and sufficient Champagne.” 
Dorothy Parker
 
“Never, never trust anyone who asks for white wine. It means they’re phonies.” 
Bette Davis
…and a few favorites from men too!
 
“Why do I drink Champagne for breakfast? Doesn’t everyone?” 
Noel Coward
 
“Who knows how to taste wine never drinks wine again, but tastes secrets instead.” 
Salvador Dali
 
“Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux makes you talk of them, and Champagne makes you do them.” 
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
 
Addresses – all are on Facebook 
Please check hours/days due to COVID closings.
 
-La Route des Vins-La Pioline – in the strip of shops before Carrefour
 04 42 20 46 44 – 540 Avenue Guillaume du Vair, 13290
-Mademoiselle Wine – Aix centre just off Place Richelme
09 51 25 17 20 – 10 rue des Marseillais (moving to 14 rue des Marseillais in November) 
-La Cave des Ours – Aix centre just up from the Cathedral
 09 54 48 76 34  – 20 rue Jacques de la Roque
 
La Cave du Cours Mirabeau -19 Cours Mirabeau
La Cave Mazarin -18 rue d’Italie
Simplement Vin – 31 avenue Robert Schuman in Aix or 7 rue Agathe, Eguilles
Cave du Félibrige – 8 Rue des Cordeliers
Cave Conseil Aix – 3 rue de la Molle
Oenodepot – 30 Rue Frédéric Joliot, 13290
Nicolas – 3 shops in Aix – rue d’Italie, Sextius, Mairie
La Cave de Virgil – 1652 Avenue Paul Jullien, Le Tholonet
 
Artist Links:
 
 
*Dave Blazek cartoonist – www.loosepartscomic.com 
 
Susan Gish – with some help from ‘Chef’ Sam

 

 

 

Le Grand Théâtre de Provence welcomes « Nouveaux Horizons », a musical programme by Renaud Capuçon with the support of Gérard Caussé.  They have gathered together promising young composers and musicians for five performances to inspire and motivate them during such a difficult time for the arts.  Booking necessary. Read on: https://www.lestheatres.net/fr/a/2750-nouveaux-horizons

Plus! The Grand Theatre will be the venue for the Ballet Preljocaj who will be performing Swan Lake at the end of October.

Details of other events in town are listed here in the Aix Agenda for October: http://www.aixenprovence.fr/IMG/pdf/aixgenda-2020-10-200924-imp-web-v2.pdf