Posts Tagged ‘Aix’

What with Chandeleur in France and Pancake Tuesday in the UK, February is a goodIMG_8684 time to get whipping up some batter for pastries and crepes.  But if you prefer to treat yourself to something here in Aix, there’s lots of choice.

As well as navettes  (see last post), the traditional pets de nonnes – nuns’ farts – are in (more…)

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These things are puzzling me – can anyone help? (more…)

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Info for this weekend:  Seeking Matisse

                                               A Vineyard trail

                                               Bandol’s Pottery Market

Reading the British press this morning reminded me how much we have here on our doorstep in Aix to explore.  For instance, the Independent has a piece on Matisse whose exhibition ofvence_matisse_chapel_altar fabulous colourful cut-outs has just opened at Tate Modern.  The paper gives a useful Matisse trail around the Cote d’Azur, the star attraction of course being the Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence.  It really is beautiful and well worth a visit.  Here is the Independent article followed by the website for the chapel which has quirky opening hours: http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/europe/henri-matisse-and-his-cte-of-many-colours-9259267.html; http://www.vence.fr/la-chapelle-du-rosaire-chef-d?lang=fr

Meanwhile the Guardian has an interesting piece leading us round the writer’s Top Ten favourite vineyards in Provence (more…)

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When I was writing my book and researching the chapter on the effect of World War 1 on Aix, itIMG_7013 seemed that there was some sort of controversy surrounding the troops from Provence but I couldn’t find details. ‘La Faute au Midi’, a new book and exhibition, tells all and it is truly an appalling story.

On 1st August 1914, just after 3 in the afternoon, the orders for mobilisation were given – bells rang, gendarmes went to villages on their bikes and posters were plastered on to walls. Young men throughout Provence rushed to get in the harvest before going to enlist and the two companies of professional soldiers based in Aix were soon heading north. The mood was sombre but confident, soldiers expecting to be in Berlin within two months.


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Rue-des-CordeliersDo you have a business or activity you would like to promote?  Or do you need local support for your venture?

If so, the MAABN (Mediterranean Anglo American Business Network) can help; and this month, they are holding a session in Aix.

On Tuesday 11th March, they will be meeting at the Atelier Cuisine de Mathilde at 58 rue des Cordeliers.  If you’re a Brit you go to the first floor; Americans should keep going up to the second.

‘The Aix Networking Tuesdays provide an opportunity to meet MAABN members from the surrounding area who sometimes cannot make it to the Marseille events. So come and join us on March 11 and network with some new faces!’ they say.

Timing: 18:30-21:00.  Free to members; 15 euros on the door for non-members.  http://www.maabn.fr/category/maabn-events/


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Groupe F, who lit up the Athens Olympics, the 1998 World Cup closing ceremony and the opening of the Millenium celebrations at the Eiffel Tower, will be marking the end of MP2013 with a massive (more…)

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Used to the typical British supermarket-scrum at Christmas, I was amazed arriving in Aix at the care and attention that goes into putting together the Provencal Christmas.  My new French friends would recommend this boulanger for the buche de Noel and that cave for the vin cuit.  I also learned about the treize desserts which have graced the table on Christmas Eve from time immemorial. 

But to my surprise this week, I read that these treize desserts are not all that traditional at all.  The current issue of A IMG_6474Table explains that (more…)

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GroupeFWhat exactly these ‘Révelations’ will be remains to be seen but we can expect a dazzling display of water and fireworks, words and music, sound and video – all played out from the terraces of the Grand Théatre de Provence from 18:00.  The publicity says it will be tres poétique and that we will witness une ephémere tour de Babel.


Groupe F, the Arles-based organisation who are putting on the show, have already carried out 5 Révélations so far for MP2013: Arles, Cassis Martigues, Port Saint-Louis and Marseille.  Ours here in Aix is the sixth and penultimate event and promises to be spectacular.

It will be ideal for families but, says the publicity, the concept of ‘family’ is irrelevant for this event as whatever our age, we will all have the eyes of children.  I do love the way French marketeers put things!

So, a revelation in store for us all and I for one can’t wait!

Details of the organisation on: www.groupef.com  Expect road-closures around les Allées Provencales 17:30-19:00. www.aixenprovence.fr.



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Le Cherche Midi – New Resto in Aix

I have noticed that recently there is a shift in Aix towards lighter lunches, good for those of us whose waistlines can’t face a three course extravaganza!  I was recommended to try Le Cherche Midi which opened in July in the rue Cordeliers. But the title puzzled me – someone looking for the south of France, for mid-day?  I did ask a couple of French friends who didn’t know what it meant either, but it’s the name of many restaurants in France. Wikipedia suggests that it was a 17th century name for a person who turned up at a friend’s house just before mid-day, hoping to be fed.  Nice idea! IMG_6270

The restaurant is actually in a good position as you can go in from rue Cordeliers or via their terrace on the lower part of the place des Cardeurs.

The menu comprises tartines – open grilled sandwiches – or salads, all at reasonable prices.  We tried the lunchtime menu which offers Tartine Mozzarella, or Poulet or Boeuf, with salad and a drink – either bottled water, soft drinks or a glass of Chateau Virant – for 9€.

It’s has a spotlessly clean, modern, interior and the couple running the restaurant are very friendly.  Our only reservation was that it seemed rather inconspicuous in appearance, easy to walk past, on such a busy colourful street. You really do have to ‘cherche’ it out.

But it’s good value and worth a try!  48 rue des Cordeliers. 04 42 53 19 91. Open daily at lunchtimes.  Also open in the evening Thurs-Sun.

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bandeauThis past weekend saw the launch of ‘Bienvenue chez vous’, a PACA-funded programme which aims to showcase its patrimoine regional to locals. Numerous tourist sites will be opening free or at reduced costs from now until 4th November.

There are 5 themes (Terre de saveurs, Senteurs de Provence, Dans la Nature, Histoire, Arts et Civilisation and Decouverts Economiques.)  Details on http://bienvenuechezvous.regionpaca.fr/front_office/

header-metierdesarts-routegourmandeThere’s a second programme which should be interesting if you have newly arrived or have visitors who want to find authentic culinary or artisanal enterprises to visit.

 La Route Gourmande takes you around artistan patissiers, glaciers and confiseurs who all welcome visitors. There are four itineraries around Marseille, Pays d’Aix, the Cote Bleu and the Alpilles. To give you a flavour of the suggestions for Aix, the drive takes in the Chocolaterie at Puyricard, the Confiserie Leonard Parli for calissons, the Weibel Patisserie, Macarons Meresse, the Liquoristerie de Provence – and so on.

The second programme, La Route des Metiers d’Art is a similar concept but takes you around potteries, people making soft furnishings, oil-mills, violin-makers and jewellers.

Details of both are on this website http://www.provenceartisans.fr/ or you can collect two useful booklets which have details of opening times and of course the maps, from the Office du Tourisme.

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