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If you can access the BBC, there’s a light-hearted look at the French Revolution on Friday evening. ‘Royal History’s Biggest Fibs’ is presented by the curator of the UK’s royal palaces, Lucy Worsley, who has a tendency to dress up and join in the fun.  But she is a serious historian and should have interesting insights.

‘In this film, Lucy Worsley explores some of the myths and fibs swirling around the Revolution of 1789 and the uprising that brought down the French royal family. This violent revolution became the blueprint of many future revolutions across the world. But what happened during this turbulent period is open to historical manipulation and interpretation.

Lucy discovers that Marie Antoinette never said ‘Let them eat cake’. This was a fib used by historians to help explain why the revolution happened. Historian Michael Rapport explains how the revolution was not started by starving peasants as many assume but was in fact sparked by a group of lawyers and property owners. Along the way, Lucy finds out that Maximilien Robespierre wasn’t simply a bloodthirsty revolutionary who relished violence and wanted to execute everyone who disagreed with him. In his earlier years, he stood against the death penalty and slavery and fought for the rights of France’s Jewish population. And the guillotine was invented by the revolutionaries not as a brutal punishment but as a more egalitarian and humanitarian form of execution.’

Details: Friday 6th November, 9pm British time; BBC2

Charleston farmhouse, home to the Bloomsbury group, and literary festival, now online

And, online this week, there’s a treat in the form of the annual literary festival at Charleston, the Sussex farmhouse that was the richly-decorated country hang-out for the Bloomsbury Group.

‘Join in conversations with a star-studded line-up including Maggie O’Farrell, Claire Tomalin, Monty Don, Elif Shafak and Carl Zimmer from the comfort of your own home as the Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival goes digital! The 10-day celebration of literature and ideas takes place online from 6 – 15 November with 16 free events.  All sessions premiere at Eastern Standard Time (EST) but most will be available to watch on YouTube after they have been streamed’.  Find out more here: http://www.charlestontocharleston.com/  The programme hasn’t anything specifically French but I’ve included this as probably we all need some diversion during lockdown!

 

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‘Plantes Pour Tous’ was started in 2017 by two urban-garden specialists who wanted to bring house plants direct from the growers to nature-loving townies.

They organise big weekend sales with plants priced at 2, 5, 10 and 15 euros.  Last time they had one in Aix I saw queues of people waiting to snag a bargain.

Interested? (more…)

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Happy Hour at MuCEM, Marseille

Fabulous, literally….the rooftop at MuCEM

During November and December, MuCEM’s new Happy Hour programme includes free admission to all exhibitions from 16:00-18:00.  This starts today and will last for the duration of the curfew.  It’s worth remembering that all the public museums in Marseille are free too, for the next 12 months.

Details here and worth a click to see the lovely photo of MuCEM, better than mine! https://www.mucem.org/le-mucem-en-mode-happy-hour

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New Ecomusée In Sea at Cannes

Marseille’s Les Catalans beach has been announced as the site for an underwater sculpture park by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor………..but it looks like Cannes has beaten us to it…

They are now preparing six works for a submarine display opening in early November to the south of Sainte Marguerite, a small island in the Bay of Cannes. Taylor’s 8ft-high sculptures—based on casts from the faces of local volunteers—will be placed 13ft below the surface, so swimmers will be able to see them without scuba equipment.

The underwater art park also has an ecological mission as the statues will be used to attract sea-life and vegetation. The city authorities of both Cannes and Marseille are planning partnerships with local schools, using the new attractions to educate students about marine conservation.

This is a really interesting little film which shows the sculptures arriving in Cannes from the UK:  https://youtu.be/3c-R4SulDnw

 

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‘Catastrophe’ is the word used by the traders’ association president to describe the ‘Les Docks’ office, shopping and dining development opposite Les Terrasses du Port.  Housed in beautifully renovated warehouses, the ground-floor thoroughfare was designed to take 80 shops and restaurants.  It opened in October 2015 and my view when I visited was basically that there were several new developments happening across Marseille, especially around the docks, and there’s a limit to what would be commercially viable.  And that was before Covid!  Click here for background: https://aixcentric.com/2016/10/11/marseille-latest-docksshopping-news/ (more…)

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Jas de Bouffan – News

As Aixcentric followers will know, the 18th century country house, Jas de Bouffan, which was home to the Cezanne family for 40 years, was closed over a year

Cezanne painted his home 36 times in oil, and 17 times with watercolour.

ago for renovation.  I went in for a last visit on its last day of opening and my goodness it needed renovation: think cold, damp, pieces of plaster hanging off the walls and ceilings.

It’s a sizable property, 450m2, with a farm, outbuildings, caretaker’s house, a large pond, an orangerie…all in 6 hectares of land, all inside the Aix city boundaries. Work started and was expected to take about 3 years, but of course Covid intervened, and work is just recommencing.  The new target date is 2023.  So what can we expect to see? (more…)

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Le Grand Théâtre de Provence welcomes « Nouveaux Horizons », a musical programme by Renaud Capuçon with the support of Gérard Caussé.  They have gathered together promising young composers and musicians for five performances to inspire and motivate them during such a difficult time for the arts.  Booking necessary. Read on: https://www.lestheatres.net/fr/a/2750-nouveaux-horizons

Plus! The Grand Theatre will be the venue for the Ballet Preljocaj who will be performing Swan Lake at the end of October.

Details of other events in town are listed here in the Aix Agenda for October: http://www.aixenprovence.fr/IMG/pdf/aixgenda-2020-10-200924-imp-web-v2.pdf

 

 

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There were demos in Aix centre ville yesterday by the owners of the town’s restaurants and cafes which are to be closed until 11th Oct inclusive. They are, they said, in mourning for the slow death of their businesses.

And to underline the economic interdependency in town, the markets were suffering too, with few customers.  One stall-holder yesterday reported making 50 euros. (more…)

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Next Show at Aix’s Hotel Caumont

Just announced, the next show at the Caumont Centre d’Art will be a display of (more…)

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Now only Aix and Marseille affected

Local elected representatives, including Aix’s Marysse Joissans and Martine Vassal, head of the Metropole and the Bouches-du-Rhone, have met with the prefect of PACA and the Minister of Health, securing some significant concessions: (more…)

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