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Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Model villages have long fascinated children: les petits-enfants Aixcentric all love a trip to Bekonscot, the world’s first ever miniature village, which preserves views of English life in the thirties.

Now lucky French families can see the entire Cote d’Azur laid out before them, from Marseille to Nice, taking in the calanques and Saint Tropez en route, at Mini World Cote d’Azur.

The scenarios include tiny people as well as cars and trains that whizz around.  And state-of-the-art technology is used to involve sound, lighting effects, even smell.

The attraction is 10 mins drive from Toulon centre-ville, off the A57.  Open daily during school holidays; other opening times are at:  https://miniworldcotedazur.com/la-cote-dazur-en-miniature/#

Thanks to Julia for the heads-up on this attraction.

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Wise communities are shifting their emphasis on to the outdoors this summer – here are two current shows you might enjoy. (more…)

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Bowling along on a bike by the Med sounds like heaven to me, especially when there’s no traffic!

That’s the offer tomorrow, 10h -18h, when 4 kilomètres of the Corniche, from Malmousque to David, plus l’Estaque Plage, will be open to walkers, skaters, and cyclists.  Lots of free sporting activities – things to try – and of course, food.

Food-trucks and ‘terrasses éphémères’

The trucks will be dishing up icecream, Breton and Mexican specialities, now there’s a choice, as well as burgers and bagels.

The pop-up terraces have been provided by ‘la Ville de Marseille’ as a free service to local restaurateurs and cafetiers.  What a good idea, especially right now.

Renting a bike

Click here for details; 1000 nouveaux vélos électriques en libre-service

Sorry for late notification but only just stumbled across this nice event.

 

 

 

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Here’s a idea for a family walk in the fresh air this weekend.  Dinosaur’Istres is an educational site with around 40 life-size species represented along a route following their chronological appearance on earth, accompanied by information panels on each species and on general themes.

Kids will probably recognise the spinosaurus, identified as the greatest predator of all time, the diplodocus, the tyrannosaurus rex and the velociraptors.

As it all started in the water, the Dinosaur’Istres informative route begins on the edge of the etang de l’Olivier, where there are 4 aquatic specimens, dating back 250 million years.  Further along is an area dedicated to the 11 dinosaurs who lived in Provence.

It’s open daily and is free. Click for details and downloadable trails: https://en.istres-tourisme.com/dinosaur-istres-le-monde-des-dinosaures-renait-a-istres.html.  Good walking shoes advised and baby-carriers rather than pushchairs.  The walk takes 1.5hrs.

L’Etang de l’Olivier a peaceful spot for a walk anyway.  Easy parking and there was a coffee stall by the water when we visited but who knows if that is still there?  At least the dinosaurs will be…

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Here’s a useful new downloadable flyer celebrating the biodiversity of Montagne Sainte-Victoire – perfect if you are planning family walks this holiday.

The area has been part of the Natura 2000 programme since 2005, and this leaflet follows a review of progress made: the aim of the organisation is to conserve flora and fauna, and the physical environment, while encouraging human enjoyment of the terrain.

Their website below has a link to the pdf……leaflet in French but lots of photos help.

 

http://www.grandsitesaintevictoire.com/Le-Grand-Site-Concors-Sainte-Victoire/Les-actions/Connaitre-et-proteger-la-nature/Natura-2000-c-est-le-Grand-Site-qui-anime/Natura-2000-15-ans-deja

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Aix Town Trail for Children

The trail starts here…

The tourist office has come up with a delightful town trail for children which starts outside at the statue of Cézanne and leads them round town, pausing at 14 locations to encourage them to look for clues to answer the questions.  It’s aimed at 4-5 year olds but I think up to 10 year olds could learn quite a lot from this.

The brochure is available from the OT, in French but also in English.  Or download here:

https://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/blog/que-faire-avec-enfants-pendant-vacances-aix-en-provence/

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The oldest chateau in Provence, the Chateau de la Barben, is set to re-open in June after a 30m euro overhaul by its new owner, Vianney d’Alencon. 

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Not Fair…

…for Aix teenagers and thrill-seekers.  The annual Foire aux Maneges at the Stade de Carcassonne which was supposed to be starting on February 13th has now been cancelled.

And planned events elsewhere have had to be put back: the Easter Feria in Arles has been rescheduled for 4-6 June, and the 2021 Cannes Film Festival will now start on July 6th.  How difficult it must be right now for events organisers…

But at least there is something opening that will gladden Aixois hearts – La Poste at the Rotonde. It’s been closed since October for general renovation and improvement of digital services. Re-opens Tuesday 2nd February at 14:00hrs.

Museum closed but visitors are enjoying new content online

In other news Marseille Provence Airport has had the thumbs up for their proposed expansion, a 22,000 sq m building which link the existing terminals to provide much more space for check-in desks, baggage handling, and commercial areas such as shopping and restaurants. Of course 2020 saw a dramatic drop in numbers, but the authorities expect a return to normal growth by 2023.

Also coping with the situation positively is Aix’s Musée Granet. It’s closed, but is welcoming about 1000 virtual visitors to their site where they have bite-sized films of various aspects of the current exhibition of Egyptian antiquities, narrated by curator-in-chief Bruno Ely; also proving popular are their activities for children – check both out here:  http://www.museegranet-aixenprovence.fr/visites-et-activites.html

And to end on a positive note, there’s good news from the Carmargue where the drop in tourist numbers has resulted in an increase in the population of flamingoes.

There are 1000 more than normal and they are all apparently breeding well in the calm conditions essential to their feelings of security. The nature park, Pont de Gau, near Saints-Maries-de-la-Mer, is also welcoming birds like the ibis falcinelle and other unusual visitors.

Some reasons to be cheerful…………

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Good to see the museums re-opening, though do expect masks to be obligatory; social distancing is required too but most in Marseille are spacious and quiet enough for this to be do-able.  The three listed above – Vieille Charité, Musée d’Histoire and the Musée des Beaux Arts are all worth a visit.

MuCEM re-opens on 29th June (daily exc Tuesdays 10-20Hrs) and is free until 21st July.  New exhibition is ‘Vetements Modeles’, the story of 5 different types of clothing.

And if you want to visit Notre Dame de la Garde for one of the best views of the Med, the petit train is operating again. From what I saw on the TV news, the Vieux Port area looked very quiet and the petit train operator said they had very few customers for the moment.  A good time to take advantage of this as there are usually queues from passengers from the cruise ships.  They are operating trips around the ancient Panier district too.  Screens of plexiglass have been fitted behind each seat up to the ceiling for customer-protection. http://petit-train-marseille.com/fr/accueil/

Mask on….enjoy Marseille!

 

 

 

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A leading street artist is exhibiting in a gallery in Aix centre ville.

There’s Marseille’s first ever Oursinade

Museums are free in both towns on Sunday

……and Aix’s fun fair continues

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