Archive for the ‘Patrimoine’ Category

All of a sudden it seems that Christmas is upon us and Aix really celebrates Christmas in style.

Here are the main festive markets (more…)

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The bells at the cathedral in Aix rang out at 3pm, 100 years ago today, after 1561 days of silence, to mark the end of the fighting.  And by 6pm, the crowds were at the Rotonde to celebrate.

Of the 3000 men mobilised from Aix, 720 were dead, 190 disappeared and 500 left disabled. The story didn’t even end here for those left in the north of France. Despite having been away for four long years, the local regiment was involved in occupation and didn’t arrive back in town until 2nd September 1919.  What a homecoming that must have been.

But when I was writing my book (Aix-en-Provence: The Inside Story) and researching the chapter on the effect of World War 1 on Aix, itIMG_7013 seemed that there was some sort of controversy surrounding the troops from Provence but I couldn’t find details.

Then came ‘La Faute au Midi’, a new book and exhibition, which told it all and it was truly an appalling story.

Here is my post from 2014:


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‘La Marseillaise’ which you’ve probably seen being built as you drive in from Aix, finally opened yesterday.  It’s 135 metres high and is next to the CMA CGM Tower.  Two more are planned in this new business sector development by the docks.

Organisations like (more…)

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For new arrivals in town, what nicer than a one hour trip from the Vieux Port to admire the key sites and hear their history? (more…)

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The British press has been fulsome in its praise of the Musée de la Romanité in Nimes which opened in June – I couldn’t wait to visit.


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A photo expo ‘Les Paralleles New York-Martigues’ – intriguing title

A new environmental art show at the Musee Ziem

The Fete de la Chataigne

Work on the big bridge, post-Genoa – an update (more…)

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Fete de la Courge

This weekend (13th and 14th October) sees the annual Fete de la Courge in Rians in the Var, and it is one of my favourite village festivals: mainly as it is so very un-English.  It is an excellent opportunity to see a work-a-day Provencal village, totally non-touristy, celebrating local produce. Who knew there were so many types of pumpkins and squashes?

There is lots of fun to be had – especially the displays in the Salle des Fetes: you can admire the largest pumpkins or the ones with the strangest shapes.  Over a hundred courge-themed stalls crowd the narrow streets and there is fun for children too:  fishing plastic vegetables out of the village fountain is one traditional and popular game.

food6Pumpkin soups and casseroles are served at long tables in the village centre – get there early though as they ran out quite quickly last time we went.

It’s all well organised with parking in a massive nearby field.


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