Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Responding to an SOS for Marmite for le fils Aixcentric on my visit last week, I searched in vain for little pots which would pass security as I was travelling hand luggage only.  The smallest local supermarkets had were 125ml jars, over the 100ml limit. (more…)

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With petits-enfants to cater for, I was so pleased to visit the family-friendly Italian Trattoria which replaced Quick in Aix centre-ville. I just remember searching for this very type of place with two increasingly-hungry little girls – we ended up with a ‘Pizza Capri’ while sitting on a bench. Not that that’s a bad thing with so much to see in the Cours Mirabeau, pigeons notwithstanding, but sometimes you want a bit more! (more…)

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At the Cinema: Le Menu

‘The Menu – Ralph Fiennes celeb-chef horror comedy cooks up nasty surprise’ was the Guardian headline for their review of this film which opens in Aix tomorrow.

Indeed the first half shows Ralph Fiennes on intimidating form as the star chef welcoming his guests fresh off the boat from the mainland, greedily anticipating their seven-course meal.  (more…)

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I can hardly believe the brightly-lit kids’ Christmas carousels are already swishing youngsters round and round at the bottom of the cours Mirabeau, but here we are.  Your Christmas dates:

Now – Jan 2 Les Maneges de Noel – Carousels

Now – Dec 31 Marché de Noel – Main Christmas Market in Cours Mirabeau

Now  – Jan 2 Foire aux Santons, by La Rotonde

Nov 30 – Dec 4 Marché International des Villes Jumelles: Brits should get to the stall from Bath pronto to bag themselves mince pies and crackers. Outside Tourist Office

Dec 3 – Dec 24 Giant Christmas Tree and Dec 1 – Dec 18 Santa’s Letter Box, Place des Precheurs. Tree inauguration and photos with Pere Noel Dec 2 18:00hrs

December:  Nativity scene made with santons, outside Monop’

Dec 10-11 La Fete d’Huile d’Olive, outside Tourist Office

Dec 17 – 24 Le Marché des13 Desserts, outside Tourist Office

Website with more events:


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This is late – apologies –  I have been trying to get dates for this fun event for some time.

It’s the 13th annual ‘Village Italien’, held each November in Cassis. There’s an Italian market with lots of lovely food, wine, clothes, leather goods etc. Twenty stalls in all in the Place Baragnon.

And, like every year, there will be a parade of historic vehicles, Vespas and Fiat 500s, which will also be displayed on the esplanade Charles de Gaulle and la promenade Aristide Briand.

There’s also a show of photography and children’s activities.

Details : service communication Ville de Cassis au 04 42 18 36 16).


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A ‘One Day, One Chef, One Menu’ event is being held in restaurants throughout the Bouches-du-Rhone on Thursday 20 October. (more…)

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Martigues is a small historic town, on the Etang de Berre and dissected by canals which lead out to sea.  It was painted by local artists then ‘discovered’ by the Fauves who arrived with bright paints to capture the light of this pretty Mediterranean port.  We have very much enjoyed walks here as well as visits to the Musee Ziem which displays many of these local pictures and is free to visit.

The town has an active tourist office who are offering the following specials…

Sunset Cruises

From 1st August, these Monday evening cruises take visitors around the canals, informed and entertained by the captain, a native of the town.

Details: 44 passengers max and dependent on suitably good weather.

From 19:30 on 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Aug,

12 euros pp, 3 and under free.

Camping Paradis

The popular TF1 show is filmed on a beach close to La Couronne, beautifully empty for most of the year except when the film crews arrive to recreate a typical French campsite with bustling reception chalet, beach bar and superette.  A tourist office guide leads the one-hour tour and divulges anecdotes and set secrets to delight fans of this warm-hearted show.


At 09:30, Tuesdays, 2 – 30th Aug.

4 euros for adults, 3 euros for children

Full details and reservations: https://www.martigues-tourisme.com/evenements/culture

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A walk along the promenade at Les Lecques, around the little port and out to sea along the jetty has always been a family favourite, but I’ve always struggled to find a vegetarian lunch after our walk.  It’s a typical French seaside resort with all the menu choices the locals obviously enjoy. Paninis/pizza slices have long been the only alternative.

So I was delighted to come across the Olala Café on a recent visit. (more…)

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The PACA region scored high in the Michelin 2022 rating of French restaurants, revealed during a star-studded ceremony held in Cognac on March 23rd

Now 3-stars: Villa Madie

writes journalist Stephanie Curtis.

Four restaurants of France’s southeast stepped up to one-star status, two others attained two stars, and, in one of the evening’s big surprises, the ultimate three-star rating was awarded to Dimitri Droisneau, chef of the Villa Madie overlooking the blue waves of the Mediterranean from Cassis. The only other chef to receive the coveted third star this year was Arnaud Donckele for Plénitude at Paris’s Cheval Blanc hotel.

The four restaurants which obtained one star are:

Villa La Coste

-Hélène Darroze à Villa La Coste (Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade) 

-La Bastide de Cajpelongue (Bonnieux)

-Ceto (Roquebrune-Cap-Martin)

-Une Table au Sud (Marseille) 

The new 2 stars:

-Le Blue Bay ( Monaco)

-Duende (Nimes)  (with a duo of chefs guided by Pierre Gagnaire (3 stars Paris)

This annual event, a sort of academy awards of restaurants, was held outside of Paris for the first time in the Michelin red guide’s long history, in an effort perhaps to “decentralize” its focus.

The city of Cognac, birthplace of Francois 1er and home of what is arguably the planet’s most prestigious and refined spirit, hosted some 200 chefs, 100 journalists, and innumerable other guests during three days of vineyard and cellar visits, tastings, and gastronomy offered by the great houses of Cognac, including Hennessy, Remy Martin, and Martell.

Anticipation and angst among an ocean of white-jacketed chefs positioned in the front rows of Cognac’s L’Avant Scène theater on Tuesday evening floated in the air just before the kick-off of the ceremony, but they quickly gave way to the emotion and joy of the chefs called up on the stage to receive their stars.

In Provence, there are now some 90 restaurants boasting at least one star in Michelin, which revered or detested, is the granddaddy of restaurant guides. For the full list of winners, go to:


After nearly two years of Covid 19, severely impacting restaurant activity, this year’s Michelin ceremony was a harbinger of a return to normal and proof of the resiliency of the French fine-dining sector.

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Warming Dish with Camembert

We had a Camembert to eat up and I suddenly remembered a French recipe which I hadn’t made for a long time and which was perfect for a winter’s feast: Baked Leek and Potato Gratin.  It’s really simple and quite delicious.  Here’s the recipe: (more…)

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