Archive for the ‘Book’ Category

We were all saddened when the Librarie de Provence in the cours Mirabeau closed at the end of March last year – it was yet another in a series of closures of independent bookshops.  So  it’s a great pleasure to report its rebirth in very distinguished premises, (more…)

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Aix: Book Club at Book-in-Bar

The final Book Club meeting of the year at Book in Bar takes place on Thursday 19th Dec at 17:30.  They will be discussing ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ by Mary Ann Shaffer.  Here’s what the Guardian had to say: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/aug/09/fiction4

Just 12 days to get hold of a copy and read it!

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This Coming Weekend in Aix

        • New Photo Exhibition at Musée Granet
        • Cinema Promotion
        • Enormous Sale of English books


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Book-in-Bar is starting the year with two events designed to intrigue and entertain local book-lovers:

17:30 January 31st: D.H. Lawrence versus Thomas Hardy… special edition!

‘In the boxing ring, two of the most famous and controversial authors fight it out (with words) over several rounds to determine who is the people’s champion. So get a ringside seat and come and see us showcasing, over 60 minutes or so, the works and lives of these two literary giants. We have a referee to keep order and our three judges whose decision if final!’

17:30 February 28th: The Extaordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in a Ikea Wardrobe, Romain Puertolas.

Just finished this  novel which is fast-moving, funny and perceptive.  ‘Armed only with a fake 100-éuro note, Ajatashatru, the fakir arrives in Paris.  His mission? to acquire a new bed of nails. His destination? IKEA.  Once there, he finds an obliging wardrobe in which to lay his head, only to discover on waking that he is locked in, covered in bubble-wrap and headed for England in the back of a truck’.

I was fascinated to read that the young author, from Montpellier, was a police inspector with the French border services and wrote his draft on his mobile phone, while working……… in a month.

Book in Bar is in rue Joseph Cabassol, Aix, just off the cours Mirabeau and opposite the Hotel Caumont Centre d’Art.  Works by these authors are on sale here – support your local bookstore!

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Tackling French

A useful article and a new book to recommend for those of you who are learning French and/or learning to be like the French!  

The article from The Guardian is written by a woman who lived in Brussels for 12 years and has a French husband – so her French is pretty good to start with; but she wanted to further her ability (more…)

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Aix – Another Closure

This time, in the cours Mirabeau:


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This Weekend in Aix

Aix centre ville, last Saturday, was as busy as I have ever seen it.  The markets and carousels are in full swing, and the

Customer service – love the way they always provide seats for shopped-out parents at the carousels!

new pedestrian access to the Rotonde is a delight, after months of disruption.

Here’s an update/reminder on what to expect this weekend:

  • The International Twin Towns market starts tomorrow at 10.
  • The Christmas market, santons fair, chalet of santons, and children’s carousels are all in business
  • The town Christmas tree is up in the Place des Precheurs
  • The International carol service at the Cathedral 16:00 Sunday
  • Sunday is also ‘free museums’ day….the new expo at the Granet for instance is free.

If your thoughts have turned to festive food, Picard’s Christmas dessert this year is, as usual, rather wonderful. They have some imaginative aperitifs too, and I was very taken by their ‘Sapins de pomme de terre’.

Just a word on gifts.  There  have been two new publications this year by local writers which would make welcome presents for people who love Provence.

You can read about ‘Surviving Provence’ and its author Barbara Farber here, https://www.languedocsun.com/magazine/articles/109-meet-the-author-barbara-farber, (thanks to Jules for this) and ‘Passion for Provence’ and its author Gayle Padgett here, https://www.languedocsun.com/magazine/articles/108-meet-the-author-gayle-smith-Padgett.  Articles contain details of how to buy both books – but both are stocked at Book-in-Bar.

Just a note on the Languedoc Sun – it has just ceased publication after 12 years.  Information will now be on a facebook page.  That’s a shame as it always had interesting articles – download the last issue here: LeSUN_N69_Autumn_2018

Enjoy your weekend in Aix!




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‘Middle England’ by Jonathan Coe – just published to positive reviews – features an unusual location in its pages:  Book-in-Bar. (more…)

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The bells at the cathedral in Aix rang out at 3pm, 100 years ago today, after 1561 days of silence, to mark the end of the fighting.  And by 6pm, the crowds were at the Rotonde to celebrate.

Of the 3000 men mobilised from Aix, 720 were dead, 190 disappeared and 500 left disabled. The story didn’t even end here for those left in the north of France. Despite having been away for four long years, the local regiment was involved in occupation and didn’t arrive back in town until 2nd September 1919.  What a homecoming that must have been.

But when I was writing my book (Aix-en-Provence: The Inside Story) and researching the chapter on the effect of World War 1 on Aix, itIMG_7013 seemed that there was some sort of controversy surrounding the troops from Provence but I couldn’t find details.

Then came ‘La Faute au Midi’, a new book and exhibition, which told it all and it was truly an appalling story.

Here is my post from 2014:


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…or rats du bibliotheque as the French call us!  If you are impatiently waiting to listen to Nobel prize-winner Orhan Pamuk at the Fete du Livre (https://aixcentric.com/2018/09/01/aix-fete-du-livre-and-journees-du-patrimoine/), you may be interested to know that there is a free talk, on his rapport with his home city of Istanbul, at 18:30 on 19th September, at the Cité du Livres in Aix.  In French. Thanks to Caroline for this info.

September sees the rentrée for the Book-in-Bar bookgroup who will be discussing ‘The Keeper of Lost Things’ by Ruth Hogan: this is her first novel and  has been warmly welcomed for its touching and funny narrative.  At Book-in-Bar, rue Joseph Cabassol, Aix, 27th September, 17:30.

And finally, the new James Bond novel is out – and it’s set in Marseille!  Bond has to contend with, ‘a tremendously corpulent Corsican drug-dealer named Scipio. “I have total control here in Marseille,” he announces villainously. “The port, the city, the police, the justice system? It is all mine!”’. (See Guardian review: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/may/23/forever-and-a-day-anthony-horowitz-review).  ‘Forever and a Day’ is by Anthony Horowitz, currently just in hardback.


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