Archive for the ‘Patrimoine’ Category

An unmissable event for your calendar.   For the past few years, Aix has been investing a lot in its traditional Carnaval, bringing in creative companies to headline the event.  Local associations and schools interpret the theme with gusto and the school kids really get into the swing – you will be picking confetti out of your clothes for days!  This year the theme is AU BORD DES MONDES.   What fun it looks. 


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Harnessing the spirit and emotions of the past, a group of dancers will be performing tomorrow in and around the archaeological dig in the Place Verdun.  It’s a once-monthly event until the summer, while the excavations are taking place.  They explain that they want to illustrate history in ‘the very place where time and tensions have left their mark’.

9:30-12:30 Saturday March 25th.  I do hope the weather is kind to them. 

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To attract visitors back to frequenting – and spending money – in centre ville, the mayors of the 1st and 7th arrondissements have devised a programme of entertainments in a pedestrianised Canebiere on the last Sunday of each month, a great idea.  I reported on our visit in January here: https://aixcentric.com/2017/01/24/marseille-surprises-on-sunday/

This coming Sunday, March 26th, the event will have ‘Musique’ as the theme. (more…)

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The tourists sitting in the sun outside cafés in the Place aux Huiles and the Cours Estienne d’Orves probably don’t realise that they are perched above an ancient system of canals that dates back at least to Roman times.

I am indebted to the website ‘Made in Marseille’ for the super photos from the Marseille archives which show the area when it was a working harbour.  It had been the site of the 17th century arsenal, turning out war-galleys and then used commercially for mooring boats at warehouses.

C: Archives de Marseille

The development of the docks at La Joliette diverted much trade and the old canals became neglected and full of stagnant water.  They were filled in, finally, in 1927.

But the story doesn’t end there.  During the 60s, the traffic in Marseille began to grow and mayor Gaston Deferre decided that this was just the place for an above-ground 375-place car park.  Take a look.

C: Archives de Marseille

Everyone thought it a good idea at the time, but it wasn’t long before sense prevailed and the diggers came out to make the underground car-park that we see today.  And turn the cours back to this….

You can read the whole story with maps and many other photos at Made  in Marseille (http://madeinmarseille.net/23753-canal-douane-vieux-port/) which is an excellent source of information on Marseille, authored by Agathe.

Thanks to Jo for recommending it!

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The spring is here, the blossom is out, tourists are in town – and the Aix Petit Train starts its service again on 23rd or 24th March (tourist office not sure which).

These little trains are a useful way of exploring a new place especially for the elderly or families with little ones…..plus they are great in the heat or rain.

Marseille and Nice are unusual in that they have services all year round.  In other towns they are starting up again this month. Here is a list of some of the tourist rides to enjoy in Provence.


Tour around the town, 40 mins. Daily from March to October.



Circuit 1: Centre Historique et Paul Cézanne, 50 mins

Circuit 2: Centre Historique, 40 mins

Only runs if a minimum of ten people are on the train! Daily, mid March to mid November.



Town tour with a stop at Calanque de Port-Miou, 40 mins

Daily, mid March to mid November



Circuit 1: Notre Dame de la Garde, 75 mins

Circuit 2: Old Marseille including the Panier, La Vieille Charité and MUCEM, 65 mins

Both daily all year round.  These are getting more and more popular as the number of cruise passengers increase.  It’s a perfect way to get up to Notre Dame de la Garde.



Tour takes in the town, gardens and the military port. It includes a stop for the beach. 50 mins.

April – October: 5 trips daily; July and August: 13 trips daily



Tour of the historical centre, 35 mins

Mon-Sat, Feb-Oct. Daily, July and August



Circuit via the Old Town, past the Musée Picasso, along to the beach of Juan les Pins, and back. 45 mins

Daily Feb – Oct; additional services in July and August.



Tour via the Promenade des Anglais, Flower Market, Old Town and Castle Hill. 45 mins. Daily.


Circuit through the town and along the waterfront; 45 mins. Operates only in summer months.


I believe this doesn’t run anymore but can’t find information – does anyone know?



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There’s free entry for four people in 250 arts centres across France this coming weekend, provided you are armed with a voucher from Télerama magazine.

I mentioned in the last post that the interesting Musée Bonnard is involved.  You can also visit MuCEM, or the Musée Réattu and the Musée de la Camargue over in Arles.  Nothing in Aix though…..

Here is a link to see what else is available in our region: http://www.telerama.fr/scenes/week-end-musees/region.php?region=Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

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Le Petit Palais. Credit: Directphoto collection/Alamy

Cafés in museums and galleries are often a good place for a rest and a restorative snack. (more…)

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