Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

This event seems to get more popular each year – this morning there was a big queue of eager people waiting for the gates of the Parc Jourdan to swing open. In fact 30,000 people are expected to visit the 260 stalls.

It’s their 20th anniversary, over which time the organisers have noted changes in the world of interiors: the kitchen is now a living area, inside and outside blend together harmoniously, interior walls have come down and the stylish have a blend of the modern, vintage and travel-acquired objects.  And this show certainly caters for the stylish!

The central walkway has stands selling all  manner of tableware, pottery, glasses, fabrics and wall-coverings.  One very popular stand was Beija Flor who sell floor-coverings and table mats that look like traditional French tiles – people were queuing to buy them.

The garden section is useful – landscape designers, garden furniture, cool lighting, plus solutions for living in the sunny south like pergolas and sails.

Coté Saveurs is where you can eat – there are stalls selling patisseries, coffees, or juices; Aix&Terra has tartines and pasta dishes.  Bistro-style tables and chairs are dotted around for people snacking.

Loved the decoration of the Parc Jourdan.  The central pool is adorned with giant enamel poppies and the stairs have been transformed by Carocim.

The show is on tomorrow, Sunday and Monday, opening at 10 each day.


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A heads-up that this annual design extravaganza will be taking place in Aix’s Parc Jourdan this weekend.  Over 260 exhibitors will be showing furnishing, fabrics, lighting, brocante, kitchen items, tableware, and all sorts of inspiration for the house and garden.  Also:

  • Special products designed to celebrate this 20 year anniversary
  • ‘La Cuisine en Transmission’ – sessions from leading chefs describing the inspiration they have had from their families and the recipes passed down the generations
  • ‘Coaching Deco’ – 20 min workshops given by stylists who advise on how to ‘reinvent your home’.  Or you can book an individual 1-hr slot for 90€
  • Friday night is late-night (until 23:30) when the whole site will be illuminated – you could dine here too.

Details here: DP-VCS AIX-MARS 2018



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Did you know that Marseille has France’s oldest quincaillerie, or hardware shop?

It really is a must-visit if you are interested in traditional Provencal life.  Take the magnificent big hand-graters for instance – just the sort of gadget used in café kitchens many years ago for churning out carrots and cabbage for salads.  Then there are traditional crepe pans for sale, as well as Provencal jugs for the table.

See the original fittings in France’s oldest quincaillerie


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Marseille yesterday was strangely quiet with many shops and bars in the Panier closed.  Some had notices saying they were on holiday during January; other people explained that the wind was bad, there were no cruises in on a Tuesday, Mucem is closed on a Tuesday…and so on.

Happily, eventually, the pottery store, Memoire de Terre et Terroirs opposite the docks opened its doors towards mid-day – if you haven’t visited, do, as they  have a great range of Tunisian dishes, serving pots for tagines, jugs, plates at really modest cost.

They come in on the boats opposite, from Nabeul, which is the ceramics capital of the country.  If you like North African tableware, this is recommended.  We came out laden!

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So far, the centre of Aix has seemed busier than ever: we saw lots of visitors at the

The vin chaud is always a crowd-pleaser at the Aix Christmas market

Christmas market last weekend. As ever, the most popular chalets were (more…)

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If you haven’t visited the ‘International Twin Towns Market’ which starts tomorrow, get ready for a treat as it is quite different to the usual Christmas market.  And all I have to say to the Brits is ‘mince pies’!

Our twin town partners from around the world will be present with their local specialities, crafts, Christmas gifts and information about their particular towns.  As the OT explains, ‘it’s an attractive, colourful market, in a welcoming atmosphere where cultural dialogue is the order of the day’.

The German stall is usually brimming with gingerbread goodies but also pretty decorations; the Portugese and Italian stalls have wines, local produce and often pretty pottery, and yes, the ladies from Bath UK bring Christmas cakes and their terrific mince pies (usually gone on the first day!).

It’s all happening on the Allées Provençales, at Place François Villon, times on the poster above.  A lovely multicultural start to Christmas!

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This Sunday (26th) sees the monthly fete in La Canebiere during which this famous street is closed to traffic and open to all manner of animations.

There are market stalls plus food trucks, and games for the little ones.  This attempt to tempt people back into centre ville has been growing in popularity. We have really enjoyed it.  And of course this month there is the Christmas market down at the Vieux Port to add temptation.

A wander along to La Joliette brings you to the newly christened MJ1, the shipping jetty which was so popular during 2013.  It has re-opened with a large selection of photography from the summer show, Les Rencontres d’Arles.  Having missed this, I was happy to go and catch up, but found the selection to be unremittingly dark.

The show begins with photography from the backstreets of Columbia focusing on slums, drug-dealers and prostitutes.  It then moves on to the work of seven photographers, all male, and largely showing distressing subject matter: militants in deserts, the effect of Agent Orange, the experience of one woman refugee in a Libyan camp…. One photographer has made floods his theme, photographing people standing up to their waists in water in areas as diverse as Brazil, Kashmir and the Thames Valley.  All due to climate change – but did he fly round photographing these people?  The quality of the work is amazing, just much of the subject matter depressing.

It’s a great building, good to see it in  use again………..but I would have liked the show to be balanced with some photography which is affectionate or quirky or beautiful.  If you do go to see what you think, it is open weekends so could be combined with the event in La Canebiere. https://mj1.fr/

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