Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

La Sieste, 1905, Henri Manguin


Time for the annual Aixcentric break for summer.

But this time it’s a summer that will be rather different to the ones we’re used to with many large gatherings cancelled – or pushed back – and the usual village fetes and local cafés modified in a strange new world of masks, hand-gels and Perspex.

The thing about Provence though is that you can get away from crowds.  There are some wonderful walks that take you up into the hills for magnificent views; beaches or coves where you can find space for a peaceful paddle;  inland lakes or rivers with boat and kayak hire; scenic picnic spots; pretty villages to explore; and galleries that you often get to yourself.

Tomorrow the Fete des Terrasses starts across the region – café tables are newly spaced out to welcome everyone back for a chilled glass of rosé. Or take a lead from painter Henri Manguin’s wife above and enjoy a siesta in the shade. Perhaps it’s good for us all to step back from our crowded lives and take a little time, even just a few hours, for rest and reflection.

Keep safe and have a happy summer!

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Art in the Vineyards

Visiting local vineyards for a walk, tasting and some art should provide a perfect outing for these days of social distancing. 

Here is a website which lists lots of vineyards across the Var: http://www.art-et-vin.net/expositions.php

See the work of Sophie Bourgon at the Domaine de Jas d’Esclans, La Motte

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See Granet’s lovely view of Montagne Sainte-Victoire again!

Aix life is slowly getting back to normal.  The Musee Granet has reopened its doors and it’s free entry until June 30th.

Open Tues-Sunday, 10-18hrs.

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Anxiety and Observation …both states were experienced by Susan Gish who describes Tuesday 19th May, the first day of the market in Aix after lockdown ended.

She writes: My anxiety apartment had been narrowed down to an anxiety closet the past few years since we’ve lived in Provence. It took many years from a stressful career, but I finally started to just ‘be’ and enjoy the moments. Unfortunately, with the lockdown and what has been happening in the world, my anxiety closet changed once again. This time into a full blown chateau. Although we live close enough to walk, I stayed away from the center of Aix the past two months. I took my walks away from town into the hills where I didn’t see any people, and got our food delivered. The very few times I walked into town I almost had a panic attack.

So yesterday morning going to the market I was a bit apprehensive. I put on my mask and carried hand sanitizer. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Hooray! I was really happy to see some of the market vendors that I totally missed. (more…)

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Distribution of free washable masks to Aix residents will begin on 6th May at 22 centres around town – I believe that they will use polling stations – open 9 – 18:00hrs.

This is the link which spells out the detail eg downloadable form to complete, documentation you will need, how those without internet access can get masks, etc http://www.aixenprovence.fr/Des-masques-tissu-pour-tous-les-Aixois

Good for the mayor and team of 200 organising all this, and masks from local sources too!


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Robert Louis Stevenson’s magnificent story, Treasure Island, complete with scary pirates will be streamed from tomorrow night for one week.

“It’s a dark, stormy night. The stars are out. Jim, the inn-keeper’s granddaughter, opens the door to a terrifying stranger. At the old sailor’s feet sits a huge sea-chest, full of secrets. Jim invites him in – and her dangerous voyage begins.”

In fact RLS spent over a year in the south of France, for health reasons, and corrected proofs of Treasure Island while living in Hyeres in 1883.  He wrote to a friend in 1891, “I was only happy once: that was at Hyeres”.

Here is the link for the show: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/nt-at-home-treasure-island

Recommended for aged 10+.

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Have you ever ridden your bike round Marseille’s velodrome or over an ice rink?  Through the shopping centres Les Terrasses du Port or Centre Bourse?  Or across the stage of a theatre?  No? Then the Marseille Velotour is the event for you! (more…)

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Message from the Mayor

Here is a message, recorded yesterday 24th March, by the  mayor of Aix, Marysse Joissans: http://www.aixenprovence.fr/Covid-19-Le-maire-fait-le-point-sur-la-situation.  In it, she outlines what is happening and the challenges ahead.  She explains the situation with the markets, the homeless, schooling, and launches an appeal for masks for frontline staff. It’s got French subtitles.

The authorities have provided an interactive map to help us locate businesses (food, pharmacies …) that are currently open:  https://tools.ccimp.com/covid-carte-commerces/?gv_search=13100&filter_10=&filter_7=&mode=all

There is also a great poster to put in foyers of residences where you can put your name if you NEED help, or to OFFER help. Download here: http://www.aixenprovence.fr/Voisins-solidaires-un-panneau-a-afficher-dans-les-residences

Tonight, church bells all across town (throughout France too) will be ringing for 10 minutes at 19:30, in solidarity.

The Aix tourist office closed on 15th March, but they say they will respond to emails.  They have put an Aix-specific Q&A online, in

Aix t-shirt from cdiscount.com

English, which may be helpful as it has info on local parking, buses, parks etc. (I hadn’t realised that the Torse is a no-go area.)  But recent government proclamations have superseded some of their info (eg on markets) which perhaps is being updated.  https://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/en/blog/information-covid-19/

The usual spring cartoon festival – Les Rencontres du 9eme Art – is now a ‘festival a la maison’.  Devotees can go online to dip into various activities. I particularly like the provision for house-bound children of two line drawings of Aix to colour in.  Felt-tips ready!  One features Cezanne and a funky version of La Rotonde.  Download here: https://www.bd-aix.com/2020/03/18/le-festival-a-la-maison-episode-1/

News now from Cannes where the Palais des Festivals should be preparing to welcome the hottest names in cinema onto its red carpet. Instead the Cannes Film Festival venue is opening its doors to the town’s homeless who have nowhere to go during the coronavirus lockdown.  The annual festival had been due to take place from May 12-23 but last week organisers postponed the event until late June. The festival hall opened its doors to the destitute on Friday.

“We have between 50 and 70 people here every night,” said Dominique Aude-Lasset, an official at Cannes Town Hall. At the entrance, a worker in a face mask takes the temperature of each homeless person each time they enter the site. Inside, there is an eating area, shower block and communal space with television and games. In a cavernous, low-ceiling room, camp-beds are set up in three long lines.  Importantly, there are also four kennels to house man’s best friend.

Great initiative in Cannes.

Recipe Alert:   Susan’s lovely tarte au citron, posted yesterday, has been updated with slightly amended ingredients, shown in red.  Bon Ap!


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Sometimes it’s a treat to go to lunch where there’s a nice ironed white tablecloth and silver plated napkin rings writes Susan Gish.

The two small, bright dining rooms are not stuffy or fancy at all. It’s bustling, with all of the servers saying, ‘J’arrive, j’arrive!’, but in the end you aren’t rushed. (more…)

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Voting in the Global Democratic Primary will take place on March 5th in Marseille and March 7th in Aix.  Click here for details: GPP MarseilleAix

Background: Americans never lose their right to vote in national elections, no matter how long they live abroad nor do their kids.  They can go on line to votefromabroad.org to get a ballot from the state where they last lived and vote for whomever and whatever party they choose.  Or, as the poster here indicates,  an overseas American can vote in  the Democratic Global Primary (if they are Democrats and members of a country committee, which takes a few minutes to join on line) which is only to vote as an overseas American for a Democrats Abroad delegate to the Democratic national convention to choose a nominee for president.  One who lives abroad can vote either as a member of a country Democratic party or as a former state resident, through a ballot obtained from that state’s registrar, which can be applied for on line through the votefromabroad. org site and can vote for whomever they wish.

Thanks to Karen for this info.

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