Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Aixois and Aixoises – your thoughts and experiences of this ‘confinement’ are indeed wanted by the town archivists.

As in Marseille, they welcome written, photographed, drawn, painted or filmed contributions from individuals reflecting on daily life in your family or business, or comments on decisions taken at national or local level to manage the ongoing crisis.

You can submit them in person once the archive reopens, or send contributions by email.

Details: http://www.citedulivre-aix.com/spip.php?article280

Interesting to help build a portrait of the 2020 lockdown for future generations…


Les Méjanes
Bibliothèque patrimoniale et archives municipales
Michel Vovelle
25 allée de Philadelphie
04 42 91 98 88

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Good News from the Calanques

It’s so cheering to read that, even after such a short time of lockdown for humans, wild-life is re-emerging around the Mediterraean coastline.

Last week it was reported that the ‘agents du Parc national des Calanques’ had seen puffins, dolphins, tuna, cormorants and other species regaining their natural habitats.

Then two days ago, two whales were spotted just off the Calanques, frolicking in the Med, undisturbed by noisy boats and holiday-makers.  Turns out they were ‘rorquals’ which, at 20 metres long, are the second largest mammals on the planet – just after blue whales.

A positive development and surely food for thought for future management of our environment?

Here’s the info and short film from La Provence: https://www.laprovence.com/actu/en-direct/5956098/le-1818-marseille-deux-majestueuses-baleines-vues-hier-en-face-des-calanques-un-effet-du-confinement.html

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With theatres now closed for the foreseeable future, it’s going to be a while before we can go out to enjoy a play again.  So, some theatres have organised streaming  of their productions to ensure we get that essential dose of drama.  London’s National Theatre has a programme of their best productions, to be launched on consecutive Thursdays at 7pm, UK-time.

It kicks off tonight, Thursday 2nd April, with ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’, featuring a Tony Award-winning performance from James Corden as Francis Henshall in this hilarious West End and Broadway hit.
Available online until 9 April.  https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/nt-at-home

NEXT WEEK: Jane Eyre

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Photo from La Provence

As if the police haven’t got enough to do right now, they are on the track of the perpetrators of an act of vandalism at the bottom end of the cours Mirabeau where (more…)

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The gleaming new Nimes-Pont-du-Gard station opened in January as a busy interchange on the TGV network.

Travellers can reach Paris Gare de Lyon in 2:49hr;  alternatively they can take services to Lyon and Lille in France, or travel south via Montpellier Sud de France to destinations in Spain through the Renfe network.

Nimes itself is 14km/8 mins away by TER.

Read more here: https://www.sncf.com/en/passenger-offer/nimes-pont-du-gard-new-station-benefits

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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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Thanking those on the front line, people throughout France are coming out on their balconies to applaud their local doctors, nurses, pompiers and all others  involved in fighting this awful virus.  Here is Marseille: (more…)

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Harry’s Bar Coming to Cannes

My 2020 diary is looking decidedly bleak with a cancelled holiday in April and lots of empty pages as we enter a period of social isolation; but we can dream, we can plan.  And I am starting a Post Lockdown List.

How does cocktails at the new Harry’s Bar in Cannes sound for starters?

The original in Paris is the oldest cocktail bar in Europe; it was in 1911 that the Scottish Harry MacElhone opened the first Harry’s Bar in Paris, to bring to the French capital the fashion of American “cocktail bars”. Mission accomplished as Harry’s Bar became “Paris’s place to be”, chosen by Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre, Coco Chanel and many more American and French celebrities. Now, it is in Cannes that his great grandson, Franz Arthur MacElhone, has chosen to expand.

Harry’s Bar Cannes will cover an area of 127 m2 with a 150 m2 terrace on the wide-open space of Port Canto a newly-developed area abutting La Croissette. (http://www.cannes.com/fr/cadre-de-vie/amenagements-et-travaux-en-cours/port-canto-phase-2-espace-grand-large.html)

The company has made cocktails its speciality: Bloody Mary was allegedly born in there in 1921, White Lady, Monkey Gland and the Blue Lagoon were invented by Harry’s Bar. There are over 300 references of whiskeys and a choice of 400 cocktails made by experienced bartenders.

I doubt its opening date – June 2020 – will be possible, but cocktails in the Cannes sunshine is pencilled in my 2020 ‘Post Lockdown List’.

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France: Nationwide Closures

Announcement by French PM this evening:


What times…..

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Opening this weekend, a new music venue in Aix, called 6mic (pun on sismique maybe. Guessing here). When completed, it will be the largest in France – already it  has a salle for 2000, another for 800 plus studios and outside spaces.

It will be offering concerts including electro, reggae and rap.  Must be popular as the whole opening weekend is sold out!


Also opening tomorrow is the new show at the Carrieres de Lumiere at Les Baux de Provence, ‘Dali the Endless Enigma’ plus a short show on Gaudi. Music from Pink Floyd. Open daily until 3rd January 2021.

Closing this weekend – ‘Man Ray et la Mode’ at the Musee Cantini and at Chateau de Borely in Marseille.  And closed, sadly, Aix’s Anticafé, in rue Mignet.  A warm and friendly café with lots of workshops and activities. Wishing the proprietors well in their next venture.

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