Posts Tagged ‘Aubagne’

‘Picasso, Ceramics and the Mediterranean’ exhibition is related to the expos at the Palais Longchamp and the Musee Granet, as well as the Dufy expo in Martigues. In the 1950s, Picasso explored Mediterranean civilisations using all kinds of media, including paintings, engravings, lithographs and ceramics. This exhibition features around 150 pieces that have never been shown together, and some that have never been shown at all.

picassoplateI am never quite sure with Picasso – typical Libra/Balance, I can hold opposing views simultaneously in some sort of inner debating society. Some of the plates and platters were almost child-like, with daubs around the circumference and crude figures in the middle.  Why was Picasso decorating them like this?  Was he thumbing his nose at the art market?  But then other pieces are quite beautiful, especially the colourful glazed plates where he had added pottery fishes or lemons.  The exhibition includes some ancient pieces to show where he got some of his decorative ideas – rows of dots for instance;  and he does have some dynamic jugs, vases and pitchers.  He seems to have taken great pleasure in painting on all sorts of surfaces like tiles and bits of clay pipe.  picassoStimulating.

Ambiance: the exhibition is being held in the gallery created in the beautiful Chapelle des Pénitents Noirs. It’s great that so many of these abandoned churches are being given new life by becoming galleries. Here, the staging and lighting is lovely and really enhances the exhibits.

Parking: a nightmare when we visited. Finally found a car-park past the chapel, up by the cemetry.

Open every day from 9am to 8pm.  Until 13th October. 8€


Centre Pompidou Mobile

pompidouThis is the world’s first ‘musée nomade’ which is a little like a circus tent. It’s pitched up by the river Huveaune in Aubagne where it is exhibiting modern art from Paris.  ‘Cercles et Carrés’ is the theme and you can see twenty works by various artists including Kandinsky. It’s not just paintings.  There’s an item by Carl André who inflamed the British tabloids when he showed a pile of bricks at the Tate.  In Aubagne we have a large square of floor tiles, rather like one would see in Castorama. We are invited to walk on them and ‘be united with the sculpture’.  Quite liked the ‘exploded cabin’ by Daniel Burenexploded cabin (below).

Ambiance: Very friendly and geared towards children enjoying the exhibits. It’s free as are the audio-guides. Opp a nice bakery/café for snacks.

Parking: Right next to a multi-storey.

Open daily exc. Mondays. Timings vary with school holidays. check on www.mp2013.fr. Until 29 September.

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This evening sees the opening of ‘Picasso Céramiste et La Mediterranée’ at Aubagne, in the presence of Claude Picasso.  There will be tapas, wine and Spanish music for the attendees. The vernissage starts at 17:30hrs.  If you can’t get there tonight, no worries as the expo is open daily until October 13th.

RTEmagicC_picasso-a-aubagne_jpgThere will be 150 items on show at the Centre d’Art des Penitents Noir.  Aubagne was chosen because it is a centre for pottery – there are 53 enterprises in the town.  More details and interviews with the curators here:



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 It’s good to see le Petit Train chugging round the streets of Aix again and when I last walked past there, it seemed to be very popular with lots of tourists climbing on board for the city tour of 45 mins or the slightly longer one which takes in the Cézanne sites.  At 7€, it’s a great way to explore the town.  (It runs 7 times daily from the Rotonde).

I was interested to see that there will also be a train touristique running in Aubagne this summer.  From 3rd July to 2nd September, it will provide a 45-minute ride around the town giving comments on its history, patrimoine and famous inhabitants. 

New too this summer is ‘Marseille by Night’.  The petit-train will be leaving from 18.40 until 22.30 for a tour of the city, with a 10 min. stop for photos.  By day there are three circuits in Marseille -Notre Dame de la Garde with a 20 min stop to see the church; the Panier with a 30 min stop to explore the shops and cafés; and Frioul, a 30 minute tour of the island from the dockside where the boat comes in.  These are all daily but don’t run during lunchtimes – see www.petit-train-marseille.com for details.

Finally there is a train touristique in Cassis which is running from now until 11th November.  It chugs around the town and port and then goes along to the Presqu’ile where punters are given 10 minutes to take photos.  Shame there isn’t flexibility to allow people to visit the nearby Calanque dePort-Miou and pick up a later train, but maybe that would be too complicated.

Anyway, details of the Aix, Aubagne and Cassis trains are on www.cpts.fr.  It’s a great way to get your bearings in a new town and brilliant for visitors who are elderly or have little ones in tow.

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The  programme for next year’s Marseille Provence Year of Culture looks amazing!

The opening weekend, January 12-13th, sees the unveiling of contemporary art installations in key locations of  Aix, an evening festival in Marseille with light shows along the coast and pyrotechnic displays on the Rhone at Arles.  And over our heads will be the Patrouille de France performing a new aerial ballet.  January and February will bring circus performances and lots of street activity for the young: hip-hop, electro, BMX, skateboarding.  There will be art in the shop windows, film festivals and even a new 250km hiking trail right around the region, to be called the GR2013.

Several new museums will be opening in Marseille around a completely renovated docks area and the Vieux Port pedestrianisation and spruce-up by Norman Foster should be complete. 

More soberly, the camp at Les Milles will be ready  to commemorate the 10,000 people interned there, and there will be memoires of other migrations: Armenian, Mahgrebian, Roma.  There will be an expo on the Panier clearances and  a virtual museum on the resistance in Provence.

June will see an explosion of art with: Rodin at Arles, Dufy at Martigues and a blockbuster exhibition on painting in Provence split between the musée des Beaux Arts in Marseille (Van Gogh a Bonnard) and the Granet in Aix (Cézanne a Matisse) with over a hundred paintings at each.  Christian Lacroix is curating a show at the Abbaye de Montmajeur and there will be a special exhibition in Cassis of painting done there by major artists.  Aubagne, historically a centre for pottery, will be showing ceramics by Picasso.

The lives of ordinary people will be captured by a ‘Grand Album d’Images’ and you can even upload your photo on to the MP2013 website to be illuminated on to one of the buildings if you want your 15 minutes of fame!

There will be lots of activity right across the region (see the map)  from village to village – even Martigues is organising a light-show on all the big industrial sites nearby.

The website www.mp2013.fr has the entire 207-page catalogue online which you can click through and read or download.  I popped into the tourist office in Aix yesterday to pick up a copy but – none available!  What was I thinking?


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