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Archive for the ‘Patrimoine’ Category

Firstly the wonderful museum of Classical Art has re-opened: set in an ancient building in the heart of this beautiful village, they have combined classical artifacts (Greek, Roman, Egyptian) with sculptures and paintings inspired by them.  Superb.

Aixcentric post: https://aixcentric.com/2016/11/12/an-unmissable-new-museum-in-mougins/

Details: https://www.mouginsmusee.com/en

Then you could walk over to enjoy lunch at l’Amandier where chef Sebastien Zunino offers a midi formule or special Menu Musée, all with quite a view. Details: https://www.amandier.fr/home/home/accueil-ouverture-de-lecole-de-cuisine.html

And finish off with a wander round the curving village streets, lined with little galleries and Instagramable doorways, to admire the plein-air animal sculptures which are the stars of this summer’s Mougins Monumental exhibition.

Parking by the way is well-organised at the foot of this village perché.  You are whisked up to the main square and belvedere by glass-sided lift.  Mougins is just over 1.5hr drive from Aix, but so worth it.

A memorable day out!

 

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New to Aix?  Visitors to entertain? Here’s some info on Richard Seaward who is hosting guided tours, full of insight and humour, around centre ville.

He says, ‘I have lived and worked in the UK, USA, Asia and we are now settled in Aix.  On a year-long trip around the world, we took a lot of walking tours, the best way to get to know a city. We enjoyed small groups where the guide knew the history, but also the stories, the characters not just the dates, we are not at school! On my tours, you will walk through the history of Aix, noble and not so noble, as well as chat about what it’s like to move to France and live in modern Aix’.

Tours leave from the Rotonde

Walks leave Mon-Sat, morning and afternoon from the Rotonde (outside Apple). The maximum number is 8, and the charge is 30€ for the over 13s.  More here: https://aixwalkingtours.com/

For a socially-distanced alternative, you could opt for Richard’s tour on your smartphone. (more…)

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Long-time Aixcentric followers will have read about the development of the old SNCF railway sheds and shunting yards into LUMA Arles, a stylish arts centre, funded by Swiss industrialist and art-lover Maja Hoffman.

Hopefully the photo below will give you an idea of the scale of the ‘Parc des Ateliers’ site:  the large building with the blue-grey roof was a factory for making engines, and has been open for a couple of years for exhibitions.  Then there are various industrial buildings which were being converted when we visited, and past them (to the left of the photo), the new tower designed by US Architect Frank Gehry.   The whole 20-acre site will be a centre for studios, workshops, research, exhibitions, and link into the annual ‘Les Rencontres d’Arles’ photography show which takes over every square inch of space in the old town each summer (apart from this one of course).

Two bits of good news: it all opens from 27th June (daily 11-19hrs), and guided tours of the buildings will be available in English.

Here’s the website for more infohttps://www.luma-arles.org/luma/home.html ….plus details on their new exhibitions.  Expect to be challenged!

Photo below for a closer look at the new 56m tower: it is clad with 11,000 aluminium panels and the cylindrical base is apparently a reference to the town’s Roman amphitheatre.  The tour of the buildings should be fascinating!

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On Sunday 5th July, the historical vineyard, le Château Saint Estève de Néri, situated just outside the Luberon village of Ansouis, will be ‘en fête !’

You are invited to go along and taste their Bio wines and enjoy a buffet provençal….crudités, fromage de chèvre and so on to complement the range of wines.  Discounts on purchases on the day.

Alexandra Wilson and her French team will welcome guests from 10:30-16:00hrs, with they say, ‘immense plaisir’.

A trip out to the vineyard and a walk round the village afterwards is a perfect antidote to lockdown!

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When I saw this header in today’s Times, I thought, ‘I bet they are going to recommend Porquerolles’.  The largest of the little cluster of islands off the coast near Hyeres usually makes these annual listings, and sure enough,  it did today too.

‘The Cote d’Azur without the gloss, Porquerolles is a traffic-free Provencal time warp…part of a protected land and marine park’, says the Times.  Strangely they don’t mention the new and totally unforgettable Fondation Carmignac which hosts dazzling modern art in an equally dazzling gallery and gardens. Here’s a link to details: https://aixcentric.com/2018/09/20/fondation-carmignac-at-porquerolles-not-to-be-missed/

It re-opens on July 4th this year – reservations must be made as they only allow 50 in at a time; and this year, unusually, visitors must keep their shoes on.  No more bare-foot visits, and masks must be worn. (Tuesday-Sunday, 10-18, last admission 16.30, until November 1st)

So perhaps it’s a good time to make the trip before the tourist industry gets going again.  Already, boat services have been increased in frequency: https://www.hyeres-tourisme.com/les-iles-dor/porquerolles/traversees-maritimes-bateau/

And here is a post with some practical information on visiting the island. https://aixcentric.com/2018/09/20/visiting-porquerolles/

Below our photo of Notre Dame beach, ‘un petit coin de paradis’, just a short bike ride through pine woods from the port.

Plage Notre-Dame, one of Europe’s top beaches…at Porquerolles

 

 

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Boats at Port de Cassis

Mid-June is when I usually urge Aixcentric followers to hurry to the vaulted gallery tucked behind Aix’s ancient cathedral to enjoy a garden with dark green ivy and little white flowers glowing in the candle-light, leading indoors to the annual exhibition of paintings by Jill Steenhuis.

But of course not this year.

And this is a shame as it would have marked her 40-year anniversary as an artist living and working in Provence.  Influenced by the Cézanne landscape, Jill who was born in Atlanta, Georgia, continues to paint daily, either “en plein air” or in the light-filled studio of her country home, capturing the essence of Provence with landscapes, still-lifes and scenes from the coast or the streets and markets of Aix.

Instead, like many artists right now, she is using technology to show her work and is offering a gallery of 40 paintings at half-price.  Launched today, some are already sold so time is clearly of the essence: https://www.artinprovence.com/40-years-in-france-legacy-gallery/

This website also has Jill’s blog which has interesting reminiscences of her 40 years in Provence, including meeting her husband-to-be

Almond Branches in Glass Vase by Jill Steenhuis

on Day 2!

Good decision, the couple have raised an artistic family – and son James, a film-maker, has produced a documentary about Jill and her work which can be purchased through the website.  Trailer here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/paintingtheinvisible

Jill looking out at medieval cloister

 

 

 

 

Best wishes to Jill on her anniversary.  This is the photo I took at the gallery and expo last year. Let’s hope 2021 sees us all safely back there to enjoy her paintings in person once more.

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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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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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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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