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Posts Tagged ‘Ansouis’

There seems to be so much going on this weekend in Aix – and the villages around.

Homesick Brits should make for Gardanne which is having its annual Arts and Festins du Monde, this year featuring Britain.  It begins tomorrow evening with a band of 15 pipers – all kilted – playing Scottish and Irish music through the streets of the town. Then an amazing-sounding U2 tribute band from Montpellier take to the stage.  The following day has a full programme which includes African dancing (no me neither) and at 18:30 a band called British Legend who will perform Stones and Beatles hits. It’s all free!  31 restaurateurs will be in the cours Forbin offering ‘specialités’ –  Marmite sandwiches? Beans on toast? Battenburg?  Count me in!  http://www.ville-gardanne.fr/Arts-Festins-du-monde-version

In Aix, there is a book sale on Sunday in the place de l’Hotel de Ville.  Rained off on April 22nd, it’s being organised by the Association des libraires ambulants. 9-18:00hrs.

There are  vide greniers taking place on Sunday – Jouques and Aix Val St André.  Over at the Grand Theatre de Provence, there’s an open day to encourage us all to learn about the opera – Tous à L’Opéra 2012.

If you are interested in ancient history, Pourrieres is the place to be.  They are having a weekend of re-enactments of the famous battle between the Romans and the invading tribes from the north.  It sounds fun – and what a great poster.

Or if a little winetasting is more to your taste, you could make for Ansouis for the Portes Ouvertes at the Chateau Saint Esteve de Néri.  They will be having a Grand Buffet Provençal and also having an exhibition of paintings by Denis Feraud….‘Fleurs de Printemps’. Durng the weekend there will be a 10% discount on orders of 12 or more bottles. That’s Sunday from 10:30 – details of vineyard on www.stestevedeneri.com.

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Hopefully the rain has cleared away and we have sunny days to look forward to!  If so, Ansouis is an interesting place to visit.  Not only is it very pretty – it’s one of ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France‘, (there are strict entry criteria for this listing) – but there are three interesting things to do while you are there.

The château which has just re-opened for the season has an unusual heritage in that it was owned by the same family – the Sabrans – for over 900 years.  That all changed in 2008 when one of the descendants decided, against the wishes of her brothers, to sell it.  Bidding against couturier Pierre Cardin, in an auction a la bougie, the château was snapped up by a couple from Aix for 5,6m euros.  It’s said that they are passionate about history and have been busy refurbishing it.  The core building is a military fortress but a residential wing was added in the 17th century.  There are dungeons and weapons in the medieval part, a lovely Provençal kitchen and pretty bedrooms.  Great views too over the lovely countryside.

It’s open every day except Tuesdays; entry is for organised tours at 14.30, 15.30 and 16.30.  The chapel which used to be a guard-room is nearby and can be visited free of charge.

Back to the car for a very short trip to a nearby vineyard: Château St Esteve-de-Neri.  They have excellent wines – lots of medals and awards – and you can taste them Mon-Sat, 10-12, 14-18hrs.  The enthusiastic owners are British and, unusually, have their wine deposited in London so can deliver cases across the UK.  They ask visitors to ring the bell if they aren’t there as they will probably be in the garden!

Wine in the boot, set off for the final treat of the afternoon – and what a treat this is!  L’Art Glacier is a restaurant with a difference as it is dedicated to ice-cream.  It’s off the road towards La Tour d’Aigues and, as you drive up a lane through the woods, you could be forgiven for wondering whether there really is a restaurant in such a remote spot. But it is worth seeking out – from the tables on the terrace you have the most wonderful view of the Luberon to enjoy while perusing the menu.  The Perrière family are maîtres glaciers and have 60-80 different flavours of ice-cream and sorbet to offer, beautifully presented and decorated with flowers.  Warning – they are very very filling so go hungry! From April 11th, they will be open in the afternoons Wed-Sun. www.lartglacier.com for full details and directions.

For all these visits, do please check out the websites before travelling.

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