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On Sunday, MSC Seaside set off for Sicily with an experimental group of 339 passengers instead of the usual 5000.

All being well, cruise ship holidays can resume in France on 30 June (Italy restarted in May), and the first boats leave Marseille on 4 July.  MSC say that they are strictly observing all protocols for passenger safety.

The dockside shops and ‘petit train’ operators must be heaving sighs of relief.

 

Art in Aix Gardens

The coming weekend sees the welcome return of Les Flaneries d’Art, the annual two-day programme of artists, craftspeople, musicians and actors performing in gardens in centre ville.  This year there are 19 performers in 6 gardens which open specially for this event.

A excellent opportunity for a peek behind all those high walls and locked gates!

Programme link here: https://www.aix-en-oeuvres.com/flaneries-2021/

Laura Owens & Vincent van Gogh

from 19 June to 31 October 2021

Opening next weekend, the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles will present an exhibition bringing together new works by the American artist Laura Owens with seven paintings by Van Gogh, most made in and around Arles.

Van Gogh hardly needs an introduction but here’s what the gallery writes about Laura Owens:

“Owens is one of the most celebrated American artists working today. For twenty-five years she has asked probing questions about the parameters of painting. She has expanded painting’s possibilities by breaking through the boundaries between painting and other fields of visual and material culture such as embroidery, design, children’s illustrations and digital drawing. In this exhibition, Owens’s works will host and respond to Van Gogh’s paintings. Owens spent most of 2020 living in and around Arles, and her new work comes out of meticulous research into the history of the city and of Van Gogh’s connections here”.

The seven Van Gogh paintings to be shown at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles include loans from museums with which Owens has a deep connection. Hospital at Saint-Rémy (1889) comes from the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the city where she lives when not in Arles. Other key loans include The Fields, painted in Auvers-sur-Oise shortly before Van Gogh died.

“Laura Owens has often addressed the spaces where she has exhibited. For this exhibition she has created a vast painting, in the form of a unique hand-painted and silkscreened wallpaper installation, which will cover the entire walls of the rooms where the Van Gogh works will be exhibited.

Van Gogh’s interest in setting up an artists’ community in Arles is echoed in Owens’s career-long efforts to create spaces for other artists to exhibit. In collaboration with Maja Hoffmann and LUMA Arles, Laura Owens has also started a parallel project in Arles. She has turned an apartment building, located in the town centre, into a studio and living quarters for artists who will spend short residencies there; this space will slowly be filled with their, and her art.”

Details: http://www.fondation-vincentvangogh-arles.org/en/expositions/laura-owens-vincent-van-gogh/

Vincent van Gogh, Hospital at Saint-Rémy,
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, October 1889
Oil on canvas, 92.2 × 73.4 cm (36.3 × 28.9 in)
Gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation
Hammer Museum of Art, Los Angeles
© The Armand Hammer Collection

 

Two new exhibitions to mark on your calendar, both in nearby vineyards. 

At Rognes, the Chateau Bonisson is showing the work of two artists, Nicolas Chardon and Michel Verdux, under the heading ‘Cercles et Carres’.

 

The Le Dorze family from Bourgogne acquired the 10-hectare domaine in 2017 and have created an art centre, comprising 4 rooms dedicated to contemporary work.  ‘Cercles et Carres’ opens on Wed 16th June and runs until 26th September.  Free guided tours are available by reservation on Wed, Sat and Sundays.  Take the opportunity too for wine tasting and stocking up on their olive oil and honey.

Nicolas Chardon & Michel Verjux

Meanwhile, over at Puyloubier,  preparations are advanced for the forthcoming exhibition of the work of Alexandra Pitz (sculptures) and Manuela Donatini (collages) at the Domaine le Loup Bleu.

Alexandra is a Berliner living in Provence.  Her background is in set-design and costume creation for the theatre, opera and ballet.  She took up sculpture in 2013.  Her intriguing work at this show harnesses natural materials into melodic compositions.

There are two vernissage days 26th and 27th June, 10-19:00 and the show will stay open until 15th August.  The domaine proprietor is Sylvie Dubois who works with the ‘Art-et-vin’ organisation, a really useful resource for finding out what’s on over the summer.  Here’s her website: https://www.le-loup-bleu.com/

Thanks to Jules for his recommendation of these creative spirits!

…have come from the work being done to renovate the burnt-out brasserie in Aix’s Cours Mirabeau. Continue Reading »

Hotel Caumont in Aix is participating

The Bouches du Rhone tourist office has just launched a voucher scheme to help the local tourist industry; Tickets My Provence.

These vouchers can offset your bills at restaurants, museums, festivals and so on, whether you are a local or are on holiday.

To profit from 100 euros of vouchers:

  1.  Look at the list of partners on the website
  2. Enter your mobile number
  3. You will receive 100€ in ‘bons d’achats’ ie. 10 tickets of 10€, valid for a week
  4. For each 30€, you give a ticket of 10€ so you just pay 20€.

The scheme runs until the end of 2021.

Details and interactive map of participating organisations: https://www.myprovence.fr/tickets?utm_source=My+Provence&utm_campaign=d80328d05f-vacances-responsables-01-06-2021-tickets&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c72cda0555-d80328d05f-192001881&ct=t(vacances-responsables-01-06-2021-tickets)

For its fourth season, the Villa Carmignac presents The Imaginary Sea (La Mer imaginaire), an ideal subject for this idiosyncratic gallery:  part of it is housed in an old building with views to the sea below, while the other part is underground, a modern exhibition space beneath a glass-bottomed pool.  The water casts magical ripples across the gallery walls.

See a review from my visit in 2018; https://aixcentric.com/2018/09/20/fondation-carmignac-at-porquerolles-not-to-be-missed/

Visitors this summer will see works from its collection: Bruce Nauman’s fountain with a hundred bronze fish, Miquel Barceló’s subaqueous fresco and Jeff Koons’s sculpture of a lobster perched on a chair, among others.  Plus there are several loans of works by French and international artists such as Henri Matisse, Gilles Aillaud, Mathieu Mercier or Gabriel Orozco, complete the ensemble along with new productions by Bianca Bondi, Miquel Barceló, Lin May Saeed, Kate Newby and Hubert Duprat, which were created for this occasion.

It’s such a special place to visit.  The boat-ride over to the island itself is memorable as is the picturesque port.

The gallery is a short, 15 minute walk up from the landing stage.

Obviously pre-booking is necessary now under the new sanitary regulations, but it always was needed as only 50 people are admitted every half-hour.

Lots of details here: https://aixcentric.com/2018/09/20/visiting-porquerolles/

And after all that ‘Mer Imaginaire’, what nicer than to swim in the real sea at the nearby Plage Notre Dame, so often listed in ‘Europe’s Top Beaches’ articles.

Plage Notre-Dame, one of Europe’s top beaches…at Porquerolles

 

Provençal water jousting consists of a battle on the water between two people in different boats – the opponents try to push each other in the water with a lance. Lots of fun for spectators, as well as the participants most of whom will end up pretty wet.

 

It’s an ideal outdoor spectator sport for those who prefer to remain in the fresh air as much as possible.

The programme, officialised by la Ligue Paca, kicks off on Sunday 13 June at Martigues when young people from across the region will have practice sessions.  The competition proper starts on 20th June at Cassis.  Details:

CRITÉRIUM NATIONAL DES JEUNES

13/06/21​ à Martigues

CHAMPIONNATS DE PROVENCE

20/06/21​ à Cassis

27/06/21 à Martigues

04/07/21 à La Ciotat

11/07/21​​ à Port-Saint-Louis

14/07/21​​ à Istres

18/07/21​ à Fos-sur-Mer

01/08/21 à l’Estaque

08/08/21 à Martigues (finales)

CHAMPIONNATS DE FRANCE

15/08/21 à Istres (quarts de finale)

22/08/21​​ à Théoule (demi-finales)

29/08/21​ à Saint-Mandrier (finales)

COUPE DE FRANCE

25/07/21 à l’Estaque

COUPE DE PROVENCE

05/09/21 à l’Estaque

Sometime around the year 340, a boat carrying gold coins, silver ingots, medals and other precious metals sank in 20m of water very close to its destination in Arles.  It was heading for one of 3 workshops in the Roman port to discharge its cargo.  The gold coins bore the head of the late emperor Constantine II and were to be melted down on the orders of his brother Constans I who preferred to have his own head on the coinage. Continue Reading »

At the Cinema

I read that there’s an avalanche of around 250 films ready to pour forth into French cinemas after they have been dark for so long; so a chance now to catch up with Oscar winners and nominees.

‘Nomadland’ which won three Oscars including best film has its premier on 6th June at 16.20 at the Renoir before being on general release from the 9th.

Also on show ‘Promising Young Woman’ and ‘The Father’.

Check them outhttps://www.lescinemasaixois.com/films/alaffiche