Posts Tagged ‘Aix-en-Provence The Inside Story’

Delighted to say that my book Aix-en-Provence The Inside Story is being re-issued, brought up to date and now in colour throughout.  It ‘s 8 years since it was first published and I believe I am right in saying that it’s still the only book to cover the story of this fascinating town in English.

Where to buy it:  from http://www.lulu.com if you aren’t in Aix; but if you are, you can pick up a copy from Book-in-Bar in rue Joseph Cabassol. https://www.bookinbar.com/  Copies will be available from next week – call 04 42 26 60 07 to check.

It just remains to wish you all a happy and healthy summer as Aixcentric takes its annual break!







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220PX-~1One of the personalities in my book ‘Aix-en-Provence The Inside Story’ is of course the extraordinary Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau.  He only lived to 40, but what a life!

This Saturday, April 27th, there will be a 3 hour re-enactment of key episodes from Mirabeau’s life, taking place in Aix.

Starting at 14:30, 22 actors will be taking to the streets of centre ville to recreate scenes from his youth, his trickery to ensnare the very rich and racy young Emilie de Covet, their marriage, their turbulent separation – but they will also be referencing his outstanding political, legal and oratorical skills.

MFP plan deambulation2Here is the map and the timetable for Saturday:

1 – 14h30, Sciences PO, 25 rue Gaston de Saporta : Mirabeau’s Youth 

2 – 15h00, hôtel de Mirabeau, 16 cours Mirabeau : His return to Aix
3 – 15h20, hôtel Marignane, 24 rue Mazarine : Mirabeau gets the hand of Emilie through a trick
4 – 16h15, église du St Esprit, 40 rue Espariat : Their marriage
5– 16h45, palais de justice, place Verdun : The trial for their Separation
6 – 17h15, place des prêcheurs :Mirabeau’s political role – the growing Revolution. Here is a link to the short biography of Mirabeau taken from the book if you want to know a little more about this very special man: Honore Gabriel RiquetiFor more info: Compagnie Rouge Garance : 04 42 21 13 56, www.compagnie-rouge-garance.com; Office du tourisme : 04 42 16 11 61, www.aixenprovencetourism.com

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Copy of frontcover0001Finally my book, ‘Aix-en-Provence The Inside Story’ is available.

I’ve been working on it for months, pulling together research from all my visits, from books, from websites and from interviews. I embarked on it because there is so little in English on the history of this fascinating town. Guide books are very big on facades and columns but tell us little about the people who lived in the buildings. I wanted to find out more, especially about the lives of women who rarely figure in the history books.

Once the protective power of its Roman founders had dissipated, medieval Aix endured centuries of physical attacks, political upheavals and devastation from disease. What were the social conditions during these times? How did the townspeople earn money and feed their families? In trying to find out, I have uncovered some fascinating detail, but also run into dead-ends.

During the so-called Golden Age, aristocratic Parlementarians and rich lawyers built Baroque-influenced town-houses and brought in Italian artists to decorate them. The book looks where possible behind the doors at the families and also some of the artists working in the town. Such a life-style of course depended on an impoverished working and agricultural class who were about to be unleashed….

The French Revolution had a dramatic effect on Aix. I had little idea of its impact until I started to research it. What with aristocrats running for the borders and the unlucky few swinging from the trees in the cours Mirabeau, plus revolutionaries pillaging the churches and the Hotel de Ville, it must have been traumatic for families trying to survive during these years.

Devastated Aix lost its status as capital to Marseille and spent the 19th century recovering and rebuilding. But local bright spirits like Mignet and Thiers were in Paris helping their native city and Cézanne and Zola explored the Provencal countryside and dreamed of fame. We probably know plenty about them – but the book also introduces Mesdames Cézanne and Zola, long-suffering ladies both, but interesting in their different ways.

Twentieth century Aix was hit brutally by two world wars which, in the way of most conflict, was not of its making. And then, as it had done through the centuries, the town had to pick itself up and rebuild its population, its economy, its morale.  What a story!

I found it fascinating to research and write, and hope readers will find it fascinating too.

From a practical point of view, no French publishers were interested in printing anything in English (I assume – emails ignored). So I have gone down the print-on-demand route and kept to black and white to keep the price down. Perhaps now it is in print, it will find a publisher and we can get a glorious colour version. That would be wonderful!

Until then, ‘Aix-en-Provence The Inside Story’ is available at www.lulu.com and is priced at £9.99 or just under 13€, +p&p.  (Once in the website, hit Buy or Acheter and put ‘Aix’ in the search box).

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