Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Peter Mayle once wrote that Chez Etienne was his favourite Marseille restaurant for lunch and it seems he is not alone.

As the locals say, ‘Il faut absolument passer, un fois, dans sa vie, chez Etienne’.

Even Gault & Millau call it a ‘veritable institution’.

Mayle was charmed by the old owner’s stance: no telephone, no menu, no reservations and no credit cards.  I couldn’t wait to visit!

It’s a tiny restaurant tucked away in the Panier, really busy when we managed to find it yesterday, but we did squeeze into a table. ‘Calamares or pizza?’ asked the server.  Mayle really wasn’t kidding about the lack of menus.

My companion enjoyed a plate of calamares, with the bowl of salad and bread that came to the table.  My pizza came some time after she had finished….but I was so busy looking around, I really didn’t mind. The walls are covered with memorabilia of the Cassaro family who arrived from Sicily in 1943.  They opened up their restaurant to provide good Italian cooking for the local labourers who probably didn’t care about choice.  Yesterday, dessert was tarte feuilletées aux pommes or…tarte feuilletées aux pommes, no coffee available with milk.

We loved it – the food was excellent and inexpensive.  Great ambiance and friendly service too. Sadly Etienne died in August. He sounds like he was such a character and I’m sorry not to have got there sooner.  But he has a son and it looks as though the family are carrying on with their gastronomic tradition.

Chez Etienne is at 43 rue Lorette and I do have a telephone no: 04 91 54 76 33 – and you didn’t really expect a website!  Cash only. Closed Sundays.

Thanks to Karen for introducing me to this ‘veritable institution’.





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Actor Daniel Craig spent the New Year holiday in Provence, arriving at Avignon in his private plane.  All at first went well: he visited Isle sur la Sorgue for some antiques-browsing and then went with his family and friends to Arles in search of lunch.  (more…)

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Picard always come up with new goods for Christmas and this year is no exception with 65 new products in their range.

The headline act is their bûche de Noel, dreamed up and realised by Christophe Michalak a ‘grand nom de la pâtisserie’, previously chef at the Plaza Athénée.  (more…)

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So far, the centre of Aix has seemed busier than ever: we saw lots of visitors at the

The vin chaud is always a crowd-pleaser at the Aix Christmas market

Christmas market last weekend. As ever, the most popular chalets were (more…)

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This Sunday (26th) sees the monthly fete in La Canebiere during which this famous street is closed to traffic and open to all manner of animations.

There are market stalls plus food trucks, and games for the little ones.  This attempt to tempt people back into centre ville has been growing in popularity. We have really enjoyed it.  And of course this month there is the Christmas market down at the Vieux Port to add temptation.

A wander along to La Joliette brings you to the newly christened MJ1, the shipping jetty which was so popular during 2013.  It has re-opened with a large selection of photography from the summer show, Les Rencontres d’Arles.  Having missed this, I was happy to go and catch up, but found the selection to be unremittingly dark.

The show begins with photography from the backstreets of Columbia focusing on slums, drug-dealers and prostitutes.  It then moves on to the work of seven photographers, all male, and largely showing distressing subject matter: militants in deserts, the effect of Agent Orange, the experience of one woman refugee in a Libyan camp…. One photographer has made floods his theme, photographing people standing up to their waists in water in areas as diverse as Brazil, Kashmir and the Thames Valley.  All due to climate change – but did he fly round photographing these people?  The quality of the work is amazing, just much of the subject matter depressing.

It’s a great building, good to see it in  use again………..but I would have liked the show to be balanced with some photography which is affectionate or quirky or beautiful.  If you do go to see what you think, it is open weekends so could be combined with the event in La Canebiere. https://mj1.fr/

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Aix: New Burger Bars!

A bit shocking to come back to Aix and find two burger bars about to open in town, one each end of the cours Mirabeau!

‘J’aimerais qu’ils aillent ailleurs’, said Mayor Marysse Joissans, but they must have had a green light as ‘Five Guys’ opens in a few days. (more…)

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Italian Market in Cassis

Each year, the twin towns of Cassis and Portofino organise an Italian market in Cassis which is a) delightful and b) has the most collectible posters … see below! (more…)

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