Archive for the ‘Patrimoine’ Category

Getting fluent in French seems like a  never-ending task to me but I very much enjoy reading thrice-weekly posts from French Word a Day. 

Its author, Kristi, is an American, married to a Frenchman with whom she has two bilingual offspring.  The family are based at La Ciotat from where she sends us observations on French life both in her town or on her travels (then) or tales from house and garden (now).  Each post introduces new words and expressions to help us extend our vocabulary in a very painless way. https://www.french-word-a-day.com/  Recommended … as is her book!




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Photo from La Provence

As if the police haven’t got enough to do right now, they are on the track of the perpetrators of an act of vandalism at the bottom end of the cours Mirabeau where (more…)

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Here’s a book, in English, which takes readers off the usual tourist routes into hidden corners of Provence to find curiosities, probably not even known by locals: a statue of a pregnant Virgin Mary, a moondial in les Alpilles, a hotel room in a tree or a gypsy caravan, a village’s phallic balconies, a fountain that flows with wine, a church in a theatre, an erotic mediaeval bas relief, a countess who returned to life, a Provençal Villa Médicis, a false volcano at La Roquebrussane, a “sheep bridge” at Arles, a rain-making saint, an alchemist’s garden…

Near to Aix, there is lots of information on the tomb of Mary Magdalene at Saint Maximin along with background on the saint whose skull is preserved in the crypt. Author Jean-Pierre Cassely also provides interesting facts about the nearby grotto, its royal visitors and strange inscriptions.

Moving west to Maillane, I was intrigued to read about a cushion in the Frederic Mistral Museum: ‘made from beige leather and roughly sewn it bears the portrait of a face. This ‘cushion of life’ belonged to Native American chief Silver Eagle, who came here during the Buffalo Bill circus tour of France’.  Nobody seems to know how the cushion came here – but Cassely goes on to describe the impact of the tour locally, and the novel ‘The Heartsong of Charging Elk’ which it inspired.  William Cody enters our story yet again.

‘Secret Provence’ is a book to keep in the car, to read as you explore, or an addition to the bookshelf of a hotel/AirBnB.  It’s left me with a list of things to explore, starting with ‘The House of She Who Paints’ at Pont-de-L’Etoile’.

It covers the area from the Camargue up to Bollene, across to Digne-les-Bains and down to Hyeres, a large chunk of the south of France, but oddly both Aix and Marseille are excluded. That’s apparently because they each have a book devoted to them, but in French.

Incidentally, the author who lives locally gives tours of ‘Unexpected Aix’ via the tourist office: https://booking.aixenprovencetourism.com/french-walking-guided-tour-unexpected-aix-2h.html


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A leading street artist is exhibiting in a gallery in Aix centre ville.

There’s Marseille’s first ever Oursinade

Museums are free in both towns on Sunday

……and Aix’s fun fair continues


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It’s hard to talk when your mouth is full of yummy, sugar free dark chocolate spread! I can’t get enough of the ‘Paté a Tartiner sans sucre’. Perfect to spread on toast, writes Susan Gish.  I stood there and watched Christophe, my confiture guy at the market – for about an hour. He was jammin’, haha, but I did manage to talk to him in between customers. He is so charming, friendly, and passionate about his product. He smiles all the time. He really enjoys talking to every single person. Children, older people. Those from Aix and tourists from all over. 


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The monthly street-party this Sunday in Marseille sounds too good to miss.

One theme is Rugby and visitors can literally have a try on the specially constructed pitch, 25x10m, at the bottom of the Canebiere which is newly pedestrianized. Lots of animators to show how it’s done.

Elsewhere, there are workshops for Circus arts with opportunities for children to learn new skills. Programme here: https://quefaireenfamille.com/dimanches-de-canebiere/

Plus the usual produce market, street-food sales, games, and more and more restaurants open.  If you come in from Aix, parking under MuCEM is easy on a Sunday and you have a nice walk by the Vieux Port to reach the action.

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More on Buffalo Bill!

My post on Buffalo Bill grabbed people’s attention and I was warmly recommended the books of James Welch who wrote about the era:  (more…)

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