Posts Tagged ‘Bandol’

Lots going on. Even if these events are not to your taste, it’s worth knowing about them so you can steer clear of traffic and crowds if need be!  We once set off for Arles and met police road-blocks – we hadn’t realised there was a feria taking place: not the best day for a peaceful walk around the old town!  Here are some events to enjoy or avoid as the mood takes you… (more…)

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diapo_valse-des-capians-2014gk-is-209It was wonderful down at the beach yesterday – but what happened to the sun?  Assuming it comes back at the weekend, you might enjoy a visit to Bandol where there the annual Valse des Capians is taking place.  This is a celebration of the colourful local fishing boats – the pointus – so called after their pointy front; the back bit is called a capian hence the name of the festival.

Boat-rides are being offered and it’s a great opportunity for photographers and painters to record a typically Provencal scene.  The festival takes place Thursday 29th May – Sunday 1st June.  10-19:00hrs.  Saturday sees a parade of boats at 14:30 while on Sunday there will be a parade folklorique.  The action will be along the harbour where there will be various stalls.  http://www.bandol.fr/

Alternatively you can try St Cyr sur Mer which I have posted about earlier this year: https://aixcentric.com/2014/03/09/statue-of-liberty-provence-style/  The (very good) touristBOROWSKI office currently has an exhibition of paintings by Henri Borowski who is now Toulon-based.  He grew up in Paris, a child of Polish parents, and he had two passions – painting and football – both of which he has now fulfilled.  He first became a professional football player for the likes of Bastia and Montpellierand is now enjoying creating impressionist-style views of the coast with a knife and brightly coloured thick oils.  This specific exhibition ends on May 29th, but the tourist office usually have something on show.

By the way, this tourist office is currently dishing out free copies of ‘Les 100 Plus Beaux Détours de France’ 2014, Michelin, a handy book to have in the glove box.detours

If you get your book stamped in another 5 tourist offices of the towns listed, you get a free polo shirt!  Good for them for a bit of proactive marketing…

You can also order a guide here: http://www.plusbeauxdetours.com/

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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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I have been immersed all weekend in this new book which has the most deceptive cover.

It isn’t one of those ”bought-an-old-wreck-in-Provence, planted-lavender-and-olive-trees, met-the-locals-aren’t-they-entertaining” kind of books that have saturated the market.

This is a memoir by Gully Wells, daughter of Americans – an abrasive journalist mother Dee Wells and a genial diplomat father, with a big contribution from stepfather Oxford Professor Sir A J Ayer – Freddie. She was brought up in Primrose Hill, London, in a charmed circle of left-wing politicians, academics and writers – Hugh Gaitskell, Roy Jenkins, Iris Murdoch, Bobby Kennedy, Bertrand Russell, Levi-Strauss, and assorted dukes  – wander in and out of her story.

The house in France where the family and assorted guests spent their summers is at Le Beausett, near Bandol, and she has splendid descriptions of life in Provence, including visiting the cours Mirabeau – ‘the most beautiful street in France’.  Their nearest beach was Les Lecques and there they all went to swim: the tanned and topless locals beside the eminent philosopher Freddie in his droopy British shorts with underpants protruding and her lover Martin Amis in chiffon flowery shirt, trunks and snakeskin boots. 

This is a sharp and witty autobiography from someone brought up in an intellectually-charged milieu, surrounded by people who were fascinating but totally self-absorbed and lacking any empathy with those around them. Despite this, and despite arms-length parenting, Gully Wells survived it all, and emerges as a skilled raconteur, balanced wife and mother, and successful journalist for Condé Nast Traveler magazine.  A good gossipy read.

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