Archive for the ‘Patrimoine’ Category

…starting on Friday evening with the Provencal celebrations of the ‘Feu de la Saint-Jean’ with dancing and music throughout the evening in the cours Mirabeau, culminating in the traditional bonfire at the Rotonde as darkness falls. 

Saturday sees the opening of the summer exhibition, Passion de l’Art, at the Musée Granet, this year showing 100 works from the Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger in Paris.    Have a look at their website for a taste: http://www.museegranet-aixenprovence.fr/expositions/prochainement/passion-de-lart.html

The big free concert, PARADE(S), takes place on the Cours Mirabeau, at 21:45 on 26th June; this year, extracts from Carmen are sur l’affiche.

And finally don’t forget the Flaneries d’Art Contemporain – open gardens which showcase the work of artists and craftspeople throughout the town.  A splendid opportunity to get a glimpse behind those high walls! Details:  https://www.aix-en-oeuvres.com/flaneries-2017/informations-pratiques/


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Peter Mayle certainly started something back in 1989 when he published ‘A Year in Provence’.  What a best-seller that turned out to be; and it launched a whole genre of ‘newcomer-to-Provence-buys-old-house/olive-grove’ books that document the inevitable cultural differences that we all bump up against. Is there anything more to be said?

Well Keith Van Sickle certainly thought so.

He and wife Val wanted to leave the US to live in Provence, but there were two problems: they weren’t French speakers and they had full-time jobs.  So, taking advantage of new technology, they left their jobs, became consultants and split their time between the two countries.

‘One Sip at a Time’ charts their progress mastering the new language and making friends with the locals.  Of course long meals are the order of the day so the ‘one sip’ in the title relates to our delightful Provencal wine, but also to the short chapters of the book, each with its own central observation.

I did enjoy this approach as he comments on:

  • the right and wrong ways for men to kiss each other
  • the French addiction to Nutella
  • when to pronounce the final ‘s’ as in Carpentras, but why the ‘x’ is pronounced in Coudox and not in Velaux when they are next door to each other
  • being the subject of waiters’ scorn for liking milk in coffee
  • the preponderance of tail-gaters in France…..and so on.

The couple had three extended stays in the area – Molleges, Le Thor and Ventabren, near Aix – and did their best to fit into each community, making good friends along the way.

It’s an easy and light-hearted read: both M. Aixcentric and I enjoyed it.

It would make a welcome pressie for new arrivals to the area.   I’m sure ‘Book In Bar’ could order it for you or…https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Sip-Time-Learning-Provence/dp/0998312002 have it in paperback or Kindle.


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Paris is a much-loved and well-known city, well documented too, but increasingly visitors are seeking out new quartiers to explore, whether through neighbourhood guided tours or staying in Airbnb accommodation.

Writer Susan Cahill has tapped into this vibe with her guide to Paris following in the footsteps of famous Parisians.

She includes medieval lovers Héloïse and Abelard, King Henri IV, scientist Madame Curie,  chanteuse Edith Piaf, and the writer Colette. We are told the life-stories of twenty-two famous Parisians and then taken to the quartiers where they lived and worked. Every tour begins with a Metro stop and ends with a list of “Nearbys”―points of interest along the way, including cafes, gardens, squares, museums, bookstores, churches, and, of course, patisseries.

To follow artist Alberto Giacometti for instance, the visitor must go to the district of Pernety in the 14th arondissement to find his studio.  It was a rural area back then but now artists have colonised the old stables.  Susan Cahill describes the area: ‘It’s scenic and charming like a movie set of a secret Paris though it feels – it is – lived in’.  The chapter tells us lots about the artist and his years living there. Bordering Montparnasse, he visited all the artistic haunts – La Coupole, Le Select and Le Dome – often walking miles at night with Samuel Beckett.   After the walk through the neighbourhood, the author directs us to Place Flora Tristan to join the locals at this terrace-café.

It’s a great idea for a book with loads of ideas for exploring Paris – lots of photos too.

For some reason, it is currently only available to order through http://www.amazon.com which means a dispatch here in France from the US.  Here’s the link:https://www.amazon.com/Streets-Paris-Following-Footsteps-Throughout/dp/1250074320



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The ‘myprovence’ website has sent out an excellent piece on the relationship between Provence and the cinema, working its way from the original film shown at the Eden Cinema at La Ciotat back in 1895, through the many movies filmed in the region.


One of the films listed is ‘Cézanne et Moi’, which was released last year in French. I have just learnt the date for the English-version DVD release: June 26th.  I loved the ambiance of the film and now look forward to understanding a bit more of  the dialogue! What with Cézanne’s passionate outbursts and Zola’s false beard, I did find the French version tricky……..

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This is a must for your diary if you are in the Aix area on Friday 16th June….Les Grooms are appearing in Trets.  If you have seen them in Aix in past years, you will know how good this band is – and how amusing. (more…)

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…Not an artist I had ever heard of, but I came away impressed by this discovery  courtesy of the Musée Regards de Provence.

Joseph Inguimberty was born in Marseille back in 1896.  Here, one of his early works captured the scenes in the docks of his home town.  This muscular scene of dockers loading the boats took place right outside the Musée Regards de Provence, back  in 1923.

Halong Bay

The painter then moved to Vietnam to take up a teaching post, and the gallery has a wonderful room of his landscapes and lyrical views of rice-collectors, fishermen and elegant ladies in gardens of exotic vegetation.

War in 1945 forced his move back to France – to Menton his wife’s home town – and there are some nice landscapes of the town and of his family relaxing in the summer sunshine. 

Elsewhere, there are landscapes capturing the Alpilles, Provencal villages and (my favourite) views of the Calanque de Sormiou.

If you decide to visit this show – and I do recommend it – it might be a good idea to go after the 17th June, when there is a second exhibition starting in the musée, ‘Escales Mediterranées’.

Website here: http://www.museeregardsdeprovence.com/exposition/poesie-de-joseph-inguimberty

Dates on the poster below….

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Having done posts this week about expos beginning, here’s a heads-up on one that is about to end.

‘Mountains and Seas’ is a temporary exhibit crafted by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. (more…)

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