Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

New to Aix’s post-Pandemic dining scene, and therefore new to me, Le Singe Vert presents a stylish terrace, all rattan furniture and fresh flowers, to passers-by at the bottom end of the cours Mirabeau.

It used to be the Haagen Daas icecream cafe but has been extended right back into what was a travel agency and on into a courtyard garden.  So what was a network of small offices has been transformed into charming little dining areas with period furniture, chandeliers, and wallpaper featuring the eponymous monkey. (more…)

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A reminder about this event at Book In Bar on Thursday 28th April, 17:30.  The Birdwatcher’s Wife herself, Gayle Smith Padgett, will be in town to talk about her adventures when her husband embarked on a personal challenge to spot 200 birds in a year. Meanwhile Gayle’s quest was finding pretty villages to stay in, restos to eat in, and markets to browse in.

It’s a very readable, entertaining book and Gayle injects her subject-matter with lots of humour.

Be sure to be early to get a seat!

Book in Bar is on rue Joseph Cabassol, just off the cours Mirabeau and opposite the Hotel Caumont.

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Book In Bar, Aix’s terrific community book shop, will be celebrating the Fete de la Librarie Indépendante on Saturday 23rd April with a fun event for children.

UK author Laura James who moved to Provence in 2021 with husband and 3 children will be presenting 3 of her 6 books, including ‘songs, stories and silliness’.  Sounds like fun.

At 10:30 – reservations needed due to limited space.  Free

And mark your diaries for another free event which promises to be great entertainment.  On Thursday 28th April, Gayle Smith Padgett will be discussing her new book, The Birdwatcher’s Wife. For a whole year, she followed her husband across France on his quest to see 200 birds…her quest was finding pretty villages to stay in, restos to eat in, and markets to browse in. More nearer the time…

Book In Bar is just off the cours Mirabeau, 4 rue Joseph Cabassol.

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CODA was a popular choice for Best Picture at the recent Oscars ceremony: it’s a story about Ruby, 17, the only hearing member of a deaf family who runs a fishing business in Massachusetts.  Before school each day, she has to help her parents and brother with the business.  But she joins the school choir and new vistas open up for her…

Hang on I thought, I’ve seen a French film with this plot.


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It’s back after two years’ absence.  The very Provencal celebration of different breeds of goat, La Fete de la Chevre, will be taking place on Sunday 3 April at Rognes.  The whole village will be en fete with cheese and dairy stalls, local wines to taste and buy, and some delightful goats to pat. (more…)

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US Author Keith Van Sickle who  recently published An Insider’s Guide to Provence has issued a follow-up title which focuses more on his beloved St-Remy where he and his wife have spent so much time.

He shares with us his favourite places to eat, walk and cycle, as well as giving indepth background information on this very special part of Provence.

Recommended especially for those of you visiting the town this summer.  These inside tips can make your visit much more special.  In print or Kindle from Amazon.

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After two years of absence due to Covid, the Carnaval is returning to Marseille but in a new location: it will take place around the Vieux Port and up the Canebiere, instead of the Borely/Prado beaches as in previous years.

Over 400 professionals and locals on floats and in dazzling dress will entertain the crowds – the usual attendance is about 10,000.

They assemble at the Quai du Port at 13:30 and the procession begins an hour later.

Details: https://www.jds.fr/marseille/manifestations-et-animations/carnaval/carnaval-de-marseille-170802_A

Eating in Marseille – this week’s UK Guardian had a roundup of ideas from local Vérane Frédiani who gives her top addresses.  She writes: ‘most of the city’s gems remain off the guides’ radars, and are inexpensive. Affordable, creative and inclusive, with influences from all corners of the world and many thriving female chefs – that is Marseille’s incredible food scene, and the culinary future of France.’

Read on for some great ideas: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2022/mar/21/mouthwatering-marseille-france-culinary-revolution

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That was the news at the press conference this week as the final panel of the grotte Cosquer reconstruction was unveiled.

‘Cosquer Mediterranée’ will recreate the prehistoric cave paintings which exist 35m below sea-level near Marseille in an underwater labrynth investigated by speleologist Henri Cosquer.

Of course 20,000 years ago, the cave-dwellers could wander in and out of these dwellings where they drew the wild-life of their habitat: sea animals, bison, penguins, horses and seals. How did they do this? Presumably by the light of torches or oil lamps.  And why?  It could be either for religious reasons, or under artistic impulse.  The mysteries will be explored at the new centre.

Visitors will go down to the underground part of the building and tour the replica cave walls in 6-seater modules which glide across water, to make the experience as life-like as possible.  A commentary will explain the background to the images.  The exhibition has been painstakingly put together over 18 months by the agencies responsible for recreating the grotte Chauvet in the Ardeche.

The new attraction will be housed in the Villa Mediterranée which is next to MuCEM by the port of Marseille.

This building, which cost 73 million euros to build in 2013, and around 1 million p.a. to maintain, was supposed to be for a Mediterranean Parliament, then for exhibitions.  It closed 5 years later and has been the subject of much debate and ‘polemique’ since then.

The opening has been announced for the beginning of June.  Yes, those of us around in 2013 have heard all this before but La Provence declare the project ‘dans les starting blocks’; it would certainly be a timely opening for the summer tourist season.

Details: https://www.grotte-cosquer.com/en/  This includes videos of the original cave and much background detail.  As can be seen below, this group of horses is already threatened by rising sea level.

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Local teachers Fabienne and Chantal, who specialise in teaching French via personalised walking tours of Aix, are introducing hour-and-a-half group sessions for people at B1 level and over (*).

Where? Book In Bar, rue Joseph Cabassol, Aix

Cost? 30 euros per session.

Details: email destination.francais@ymail.com

(*) To test your level of French, click below:

Niveau B1:
Niveau B2

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Marvellous Marseille…

is the theme for a big exhibition opening in the town this month.  ‘Marseille de Port en Ports’ celebrates its astonishing geography, colour and light – and its 57 km coastline with 20 ports which range from fishing villages, holiday boat marinas, cruise-ship terminals and the bustling commercial docks, not forgetting the historical heart which is the Vieux Port.

The Musee Regards de Provence has pulled together 160 paintings and photographs from its own collection as well as museums, private collections and archives across town.

What an artistic feast it promises to be! (more…)

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