Archive for the ‘Patrimoine’ Category

This coming Sunday, 13th September, is the annual Assogora, the fair when over 400 associations set up stall to publicise their activities.  You will find opportunities to take part in sports, dance, charitable groups, language classes, music, painting, activities to suit all ages and all interests. 10-18:00 hrs. Website:  http://assogora.org/

In the cours Mirabeau and surrounds, 11-17:00hrs.

Masks obligatory.

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Each year, there’s an opportunity in Aix to push open the doors of some of the most elegant and private-looking townhouses to visit their gardens.  The special weekend is usually in June, but this year, the Flaneries d’art takes place at the end of this week. (more…)

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Here’s an update from Jules Farber: ‘The real estate developer went ahead in demolishing two wings of the house in which James Baldwin had his office and living space. The remaining building now serves for pool equipment and other technical installations plus a caretaker’s apartment.’
Instead there is: LE JARDIN DES ARTS : 18 luxury apartments built around a large outdoor pool on 2.3 hectares of landscaped gardens . Sea view.  Situated short stroll from Saint-Paul de Vence.


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A focus on James Baldwin by the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. has resulted in a digital treasure trove of material being made available including two texts from local author Jules Farber.

Farber “discovered,” by chance, the black author’s little-known home in Saint-Paul de Vence in southern France where he lived during the last 17 years of his life until his death there in 1987. To know about Baldwin’s happy stay in Saint-Paul, Farber interviewed over 70 Baldwin friends ranging from village people to international celebrities including Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Maya Angelou, Angela Davis and others who regularly came to visit him. (more…)

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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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