I recently posted about both MuCEM and the museums in Avignon wheeling out  items from their archives, and now it looks like the three municipal museums in Aix are getting in on the act:  their theme is vegetation. Continue Reading »

…you may be interested in the new space opened in the Fort Saint-Jean in July. 

(c) MuCEM, Gabriel Popoff

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A Star is Born

Just opened in Aix: the remake of ‘A Star is Born’, from first-time director, actor Bradley Cooper.  He delights in being able to conduct the occasional interview in French and guess where he learned it?

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Most museums have massive amounts of ‘stuff’ filed, heaped, mounded away in archives, basements and

warehouses.  The question is: what do they do with it all?

It really is an issue: Marseille’s MuCEM inherited the contents of the Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires in Paris and now has around one million items.  Over in Avignon, the town’s museums can only show 10% of their treasures at any one time.

Both, right now, are exhibiting items from their reserves, but in very different ways.  MuCEM have introduced a programme based on the alphabet, choosing one item per letter, and based on a theme.  In the spring it was ‘Amour’ and from this week, ‘Animaux’.  Meanwhile, in Avignon, the very creative local designer Christian Lacroix has been given the run of the basements to choose whatever appealed to his discerning eye. Continue Reading »

Pablo Picasso, Le Baiser, 1925
Huile sur toile, 130 x 97,7 cm
Musée national Picasso, Paris
© Agence photo RMN-GP
© Succession Picasso, 2017

Works by Picasso and Picabia were on show over the summer weeks at Aix’s Musée Granet while a few blocks away, the enigmatic Nicholas de Stael had a solo exhibition at the Caumont Centre d’Art.

Both were popular with summer visitors – but which one had the edge? Continue Reading »

Yes more ‘travaux’!

Work started this week on a new 700m sliproad that will enable traffic coming down the Montée d’Avignon, A51, (from Celony or Venelles), turn right on to the A8 and head for Lyon.  At present, they either have to go through Jas de Bouffan, or join the A8 heading east and manoeuvre around Pont de l’Arc to join the A8 westbound.  3700 vehicles a day pass through Jas.

The new sliproad is scheduled to be finished by 2020 at a cost of 13,8 million euros. It will involve constructing two bridges – one across a road, the other over a railway line, see diagram above.

Clearly something similar is needed in the opposite direction, to take motorists from the A8 to the A51 but this second phase is more complex, both in terms of the environment it will pass through but also in that a fly-over will be necessary.  A public enquiry will be held next year with an aim of delivery in 2025.  Costs are thought to be over 50 million euros.

Before the A8 autoroute came along with its thundering heavy traffic, it was easy for Paul Cezanne to wander across to the plateau at La Constance from the family bastide at Jas de Buffan, to paint the Sainte-Victoire, the Pilon du Roi and the new viaduct taking the railway line into Aix.  Even more reason to visit was when, in 1886, his young sister Rose and family moved to the 18th century Bastide Bellevue, perched on the slope.  He enjoyed the views from her property so much that he produced 8 paintings here, and brought his friend Renoir, too, to paint alongside him. Continue Reading »