Archive for the ‘News’ Category

The Death of Peter Mayle

What sad news to wake up to today. Peter Mayle, the author best known for writing ‘A Year in Provence’, has died in hospital near his home village of Vaugines.

In fact I had just posted this week about visiting his favourite restaurant in Marseille which had prompted me to pick up ‘A Year in Provence’ to reread a few chapters.

Peter Mayle in Lourmarin, Provence in 2006.
Peter Mayle in Lourmarin, Provence in 2006. Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

This book inspired an entire genre of Provence-themed memoirs but he really was the godfather of them all.  His descriptions, so incisive and witty, were the product of his skill as an advertising man, added to a benign nature that saw the best in people and places.  His work is always optimistic and sunny, capturing the imagination of the millions who bought his books.

In true advertising tradition, he crafted his product, Provence, giving it an image and personality that so appealed to holiday-makers and people looking for a new life. No wonder the French made him Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 2002.

He was 78.  A sad loss.




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Martigues as captured by Antoine  Ponchin, to be seen in the ‘Escales Mediterranees’ show

‘Escales Mediterrannées’ at the Musée Regards de Provence has been extended until 28th January – it really is a pleasure to step inside out of the wind and see a feast of sunny views of Venice, Naples, Alger, Dubrovnik, and closer to home, Cassis, Agay, Martigues, Saint-Tropez and Marseille itself.  Blue sea, palm trees, boats, fruit-sellers, mosques and souks animate these beautiful paintings.


The upstairs gallery is dedicated to the work of André Maire, a committed traveller from Marseille.  He produced sepia sketches from countries such as India, Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as much larger and more colourful works which combine elements of each country into a composition.  So you get not so much a view of Cambodia, as a composite of Asian vegetation, an elephant, a Buddha, perhaps a local girl.  Til 27th May. More here: http://www.museeregardsdeprovence.com/exposition/voyages-dandre-maire

This upstairs gallery is a lovely sunny space and it is always a pleasure to watch the boats across the road – yesterday two were setting off to Corsica and Algeria. Of course there is a roof-top restaurant and terrace café with similar views – and there’s a good shop downstairs with all manner of temptation.

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I wouldn’t normally post something so far ahead but in this case, quick bookings seem sensible.

The tourist office at Gardanne has organised a programme of visits, Indus3Days, running from 17th-25th February.

It is really wide ranging.  There are opportunities to go behind the scenes at the new Arena, the Grand Théatre de Provence and France Bleu Provence. (more…)

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Rebecca Ronane’s group ‘Network Provence’ is going from strength to strength since it began in 2015.  Here are the next three meetings.

Tuesday, January 23. Le 9 theatre Avignon 14.00 – 16.00 Networking for women a chance for you to promote your business, project, blog or simply socialise, including a mini presentation by Sophie Bergeron (https://www.travelinprovence.net)on how to pair wine with chocolate.

Tuesday, February 13. Ibis Hotel Aix en Provence 15.00-17.00  Networking for women, an opportunity for you to promote your business, project, blog and socialise with a mini presentation about Happiness by Trudi Bannister author of Built for Bliss, www.trudibannister.com

Friday, March 23.NG Art Creative Residency Eygalieres, Mas des Pelerins Provence, France  12-14.30  Networking for women, an opportunity for you to promote your business, project, blog and socialise with an introduction by Nicky Ginsberg to NG Art Creative http://www.ngart.com.au there will be a light lunch included in this meeting

Rebecca writes, ‘If you have paid the yearly 50€ these meetings are included, if not the cost is 10€ all meetings must be reserved and can be paid for by going to this page http://networkprovence.com/membership/

Have a look at the website – it is a very lively group and the meetings are friendly.  Great for promoting your business and supporting other women!

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On Sunday, January 21, 2:30 at the Renaissance Hotel, there will be a broadcast of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Follies’.  The production had terrific reviews when it showed at London’s National Theatre.  Here is a short taster:

Summary: New York, 1971. There’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves.
Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton play the magnificent Follies in this dazzling new production. Featuring a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, it’s directed by Dominic Cooke (The Comedy of Errors). Winner of Academy, Tony, Grammy and Olivier awards, Sondheim’s previous work includes A Little Night MusicSweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park with George.
The link to purchase tickets is  https://www.weezevent.com/follies.  As always, please bring the printout  of your ticket and all your friends.

Date:  Sunday 21st January, 2:30.  (NB there will be no interval).

Venue: Renaissance Hotel, Aix.

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…except in Paris there isn’t a handy quarry so they have adapted a nineteenth-century iron foundry to convert into a massive space for projecting moving images along with themed music.

It is being morphed from this:


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As most of you living in and around Aix will know, the region has long been associated with Mary Magdalene the companion of Jesus who, according to legend, was driven out of Palestine during early Christian persecutions.  She was expelled together with other saints in a boat without sails which pitched up at Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the Camargue.  After preaching around Marseille, she came to the Sainte-Baume mountain where she lived and worshipped in a cave.

Remains believed to be those of Mary Magdalene rest in the crypt  of the basilica at Saint-Maximin.  They intrigue all who visit them, and now two French scientists have used computer modelling of the skull and facial recognition technology to create a picture of the person. (more…)

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