Archive for the ‘News’ Category


Good to see the museums re-opening, though do expect masks to be obligatory; social distancing is required too but most in Marseille are spacious and quiet enough for this to be do-able.  The three listed above – Vieille Charité, Musée d’Histoire and the Musée des Beaux Arts are all worth a visit.

MuCEM re-opens on 29th June (daily exc Tuesdays 10-20Hrs) and is free until 21st July.  New exhibition is ‘Vetements Modeles’, the story of 5 different types of clothing.

And if you want to visit Notre Dame de la Garde for one of the best views of the Med, the petit train is operating again. From what I saw on the TV news, the Vieux Port area looked very quiet and the petit train operator said they had very few customers for the moment.  A good time to take advantage of this as there are usually queues from passengers from the cruise ships.  They are operating trips around the ancient Panier district too.  Screens of plexiglass have been fitted behind each seat up to the ceiling for customer-protection. http://petit-train-marseille.com/fr/accueil/

Mask on….enjoy Marseille!




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Well we’ve tied with Bordeaux which normally pips us on these types of survey.  Both towns get 7% from a survey of 1000 people asked where they would like to live. 

Six per cent favoured Biarritz and Vannes, but the interesting thing to note are Paris, Lyon and Marseille down at 3%, indicating what we’ve been hearing about people’s wish to leave conglomerations. 

Details below.

Aix-en-Provence, ville préférée des Français pour s’installer


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If you feel like life hasn’t been surrealistic enough recently and are up for an immersive art show of Dali and Gaudi, then the happy news is that the Carrieres de Lumieres at Les Baux opens again tomorrow.  (The chateau which dominates the nearby village has already re-opened).

Visits to the Carrieres though are not as we knew them in the pre-Feb 2020 world:

  • Entry by internet booking only
  • Masks to be worn throughout the visit
  • Temperature check on entry
  • Hand-cleansing gel available
  • One-metre distancing to be maintained
  • No groups
  • No audio-guides available.


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If lockdown / confinement has been tough for local businesses, so too are the adjustments required for working in this strange new world of social distancing.  Local teaching duo, Chantal and Fabienne, who specialised in teaching-while-touring-town, are back in business, but now using the safety of Skype.  Here are details:

Skype classes by Destination Francais: Dynamic and varied classes adapted to your level and needs

Free level test

Course-follow-ups by mail

Homework by email

Special  Covid 19 health newsletter

Monthly newsletter  of our cultural and touristic tips

Special registration offer:  1 free hour for 10 paid hours

Contact for more information


Email : destination.francais@ymail.com

 What’s app :   

Chantal : 06 86 36 76 99

Fabienne : 06 61 75 77 09

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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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SM’ART the annual art extravaganza which normally takes place in Aix in May, is just one of the events which has been postponed, in this case to mid-September.  Others have had to be cancelled completely.

Here is a list from the tourist office: https://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/agenda-des-evenements/les-grands-rendez-vous-aix-en-provence/  Thanks to Jennifer for this useful information.

Update: if this link doesn’t work, you can reach this information via the tourist office website: go to ‘agenda des evenements’ which has a photo of the Aix Festival stage.  Scroll down and click the box headed ‘ Les grands rendez-vous’ which is where the list can be found.



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To market, to market to buy a plum cake! The markets will be opening in Aix again from Monday next week! writes Susan Gish.


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News from the Mairie of ‘la Market Place Aixoise’, a digital map of shops open, when, where and what they can provide.

It’s to help us all quickly source supplies – and to provide a platform for shops to advertise their products, offer deliveries and contact-free payments and launch promotions.

New addresses will be added as they re-open for business. A local company has developed the platform which is free for the next few months.

A useful service for both businesses and inhabitants of Aix.

Here are details: http://www.aixenprovence.fr/La-market-place-aixoise-de-proximite

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Great news that Book In Bar will re-open on Tuesday 12th May at 10:00 albeit with slightly altered conditions.

They explain:
“We are doing all we can to provide a safe environment for everyone, while trying to hold on to the atmosphere and personality of Book in Bar that we all hold so dear. To begin, the bookshop will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm nonstop.
The sitting area of the café will remain closed but drinks and cakes will be available for take out.
Secondly, we ask that you wear a mask while at the store, as well as use the hand sanitizer provided at the shop entrance. We also request that the required social distance be respected for your own safety, that of the other clients and of our team.
We also reserve the right to limit access to the shop if deemed necessary.
We would prefer bank card payments.
Finally, the click and collect system will remain open for those who wish to avoid all contact with others. For this, place your order via our website www.bookinbar.com
or by email and collect at a given time. We are also setting up a delivery service (free from 30€ sale, for the historical
part of town).
Sadly, we have to cancel the bookclubs and any other gatherings until September.
The team is looking forward to seeing you all again”.

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Good news for cyclists as the lockdown loosens. 

Whilst they have been relatively traffic free, major routes in town are being rethought to provide extra space for people travelling by bike. 13km of road should be freed up.

From 7 May, some bus lanes are being opened up to cyclists, as well as one carriage-way on a dual carriageway road – see diagram from the mairie:

15-20 May – a similar system will be introduced on major routes: avenues Max Juvénal, Malacrida, Henri Mauriat, le cours des minims plus la route de Galice.

In parallel, work is ongoing to work out how to connect these new tracks to existing cycle tracks.  The authorities stress that this is experimental and if heavy traffic returns, the full width of the roads may be needed again; on the other hand, it may be that a shift to tele-working will take place and leave space for cyclists on a permanent basis.

More here: https://www.aixenprovence.fr/Deplacements-un-plan-a-l-essai-pour-le-velo

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