It’s a sign of the times that people are reclaiming the streets from the remorseless  increase in traffic and it’s no different in Marseille’s main thoroughfare La Canebiere which is going from this:


to this:

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….the Cézanne cinema to be specific to the delight, no doubt, of its many TV followers.  In the film, we rejoin the Crawley famly and their staff, busily preparing for an unexpected visit from King George and Queen Mary, exacting guests.   But trouble soon arises when Mrs. Patmore, Daisy and the rest of the servants learn that the king and queen travel with their own chefs and attendants — setting the stage for an impromptu scheme and other shenanigans.

Starts Wednesday 25th September. VO.

Details https://www.lescinemasaixois.com/films/downton-abbey


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Free Lecture Series in Aix

The Institute for American Universities has published its list of lectures for the autumn term – some intriguing subjects are being covered.  Read on…lectures fall 19

They are all free and take place at the IAU in centre ville.

Another opportunity for boating is at the Lac de Quinson which is on the border of the Var and the Alpes de Haute Provence.  It’s all part of the waterway which runs from Sainte-Croix to Gréoux-les-Bains.

It’s very beautiful and we saw heron, dragonflies, lots of fish and ducks.  We hired an electric boat but there are pedalos and canoes which are cheaper.  You are given a map showing various features to look out for and timings are indicated on it.  For instance,IMG_1071

you should allow 3:30 hrs in an electric boat to get to and from the village of Esparron.   We just did a 1:30 trip which seemed perfect.

Le fils Aixcentric who does this sort of thing often thinks this is a better bet than Sainte-Croix as it gets so busy in the summer; though this company is very popular during the school holidays too.

There is a picnic park at the departure point and a buvette.  Apparently they sell honey or lavender ice-cream but it was shut when we were there…best take a picnic.

Details:  Location-Nautic, Montmeyan Plage, 83670 Montmeyan; tel: 04 92 74 40 76.  https://www.location-bateaux-verdon.com/fr/autour-du-verdon/le-lac-de-quinson-pedalo-canoe-bateau-electrique-et-activites-ludiques

Life-jackets provided.  They are operating, apparently, until Nov but check before travelling there.




This is a special period for people in Provence.  The sun is still shining but the tourists have gone back home and the kids are back at school.  Time to quickly make the most of the countryside before the weather turns cold and winter sets in. We’re on borrowed time!

Kayaking is a deservedly popular local activity; it is a superb way to enjoy the beautiful rivers, peacefully drifting downstream through rocks and overhanging trees – well nearly always!  I can recommend three companies, all offering very different experiences and all open until or through October, though do please check before setting off.

sorgueThe river Sorgue which flows down from the Fontaine de Vaucluse is the most extraordinary shade of greenIt’s a truly memorable kayak journey down 8km to the Isle sur le Sorgue.  It takes about 2 hours.  You will get your feet wet as you have to alight twice to haul the kayak over a little rocky threshold in the river, so wear rubber shoes.  Details of Kayak Vert here: http://www.canoevaucluse.com/?lang=en

Up now to the Lac St Croix where you can hire canoes and kayaks through October.  The turquoise lake has sandy beaches and is a perfect place to spend an hour (14€ pp) paddling around.  The intrepid can set off up the Gorge de Verdon which is an impressive rocky canyon but here is a warning.  We stopped at the farthest point for a picnic, during which time a mighty wind had started up the gorge.  Paddling back to the lake was a complete nightmare.  I notice that this company’s website say that they don’t hire boats when it’s windy…….https://verdoncanoe.com/en/activity/location-canoe-kayak/gorges-du-verdon-plage-du-galetas/11-2-hours-the-unmissable-way-to-visit-the-gorges

Different again is the river Gardon.  Like the Sorgue, it’s a 2 hour, 8km, journey downstream, but the reward at the end of the journey is the truly astonishing Roman Pont du Gard.  It is so wonderful to paddle underneath it for a different perspective of this world-famous aqueduct.kayak

When we rounded the corner before the bridge, we were alone on the river which was very still.  So we saw a perfect mirror image.  Unforgettable.

Details here: https://www.kayakvert.com/conseils-pratiques-canoe-gardon.html

Although companies say that they are working until mid October, I suspect things are winding down and hiring will be weather-dependent.  Best follow the links and check availability.  Next opportunity will be in the spring!


This coming weekend, 20-22nd September, sees the 10th edition of Les Vendanges Etoilées at Cassis: Continue Reading »