Posts Tagged ‘Epiphany’

The not-to-be-missed traditional Marche des Rois takes place on Sunday 12th January. It’s very well-known locally but if you are new to Aix, do make sure you get into town for this special event.


The procession, headed by the three kings with their camels, makes its way through town and is followed by all  manner of animals and locals dressed as Provencal characters.  It’s always fun, and Aix is usually lucky to have three camels as they are much in demand across the region on this weekend! (more…)

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This coming Sunday, 10th January, sees the ‘Marche des Rois’ which had to be cancelled last year because of the massive demonstration of solidarity after the Charlie Hebdo killings.

If you haven’t been to the ‘Marche des Rois’, I would recommend it as a very Provencal experience.  The three kings are usually accompanied by camels (they are much in demand in France this week but Aix usually has three!) and sheep and goats and musicians and dancers in Provencal costume….It’s a  long procession which stops at key places for dancing and music, a great photo opportunity.

And it doesn’t always go to plan.  I have happy memories of the cortege stopping and a camel taking the opportunity to eat most of the moss off the Fontaine Mossue – rolling his large pebbly eyes and unleashing a set of very yellow teeth, he looked like he couldn’t believe his luck!  Another year something spooked the goats who ran off into the antique market that was lining the cours.

The moment the goats and sheep made a bid for escape!

The moment the goats and sheep made a bid for freedom!

What will happen this year?  Find out at the following locations:

14:00 Palais de Justice

14:15 Statue of King Réné

14:30 Rotonde

15:00 Cours Sextius

15:30 Place de la Mairie

16:00 Cathedral.

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It always seems a little sad to take the tree down and see the Christmas activities in town coming to an end, but here are some dates.

sapins2-25th January  Collection of used Christmas trees – ‘Collecte des sapins 2014”; details here: http://www.aixenprovence.fr/Collecte-des-sapins

5th January: The closing date of the Camus Centenary exhibition has now been moved to 11th January.  A very interesting show if you haven’t been but it’s all in fairly intense French.

IMG_65845th January: Last date for the children’s roundabouts at the Rotonde. They seem to have been a great success this year. (Christmas market already closed)

But not everything is ending! (more…)

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A very happy new year to all Aixcentric readers!  And I think it will be a full one for all of us who like getting out and experiencing all that this lovely part of France has to offer.  MP2013 is about to burst upon us with masses of events – so in the lull before the storm which kicks off on 12-13th January, here are a few ideas.

The Epiphany procession – La Marche des Rois – in Aix is unmissable.  It’s now in its 23rd year but in fact draws on centuries of parades in the town.  The Fete-Dieus would last for days and processions always greeted incoming royalty or important visitors.  Religious processions were especially important in times of plague, which was sadly often.

processionThis one begins on Sunday 6th Jan in the cours Saint-Louis at 13.50 and winds its way down through the town into the cours Mirabeau, down to the Rotonde and then up to the Cathedral for the 16:00 service.

Last year was wonderful.  All terribly well-ordered until the sheep and goats decided to quit.  They were half-way down the cours when they suddenly veered left into the antiques market, then veered right on to the pavement on the other side, leaving parents leaping to pick up their little ones, and a very frazzled sheep dog trying to round up everything that moved.

IMG_2295 IMG_2322

But it’s great to have so many live animals and especially the camels to add authenticity.  Love the magi on their mobiles.  The costumes are all made by local volunteers who now have 1500 for all the historic reconstructions they take part in.  Chapeau!  After that, what better than to pick up one of the wonderful almondy galettes des rois to tuck into.  Gosh it’s hard starting a new year’s diet round here!

The cinema is suddenly looking good this week.  ‘The Life of Pi’ is an interesting film which I caught up with in England.  The opening scenes in India are beautifully atmospheric as the rich colours are enhanced by the 3D – birds and butterflies seem to come right out of the screen.  The shipwreck during which the hero and the zoo animals are washed over-board is incredibly realistic and then the film moves to the 200+ days when Pi is adrift on his raft in the Pacific with only a man-eating tiger, Richard Parker, for company.  I did feel this could be edited as it goes on for what felt like a long time, but I think the cinematographers were having too much fun with various 3D effects – flying fish, whales, storms – to cut back.  At the Cézanne so presumably dubbed into French.

renoirIn VO, there is ‘Anna Karenina’, and also Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo’ which, if it is anything like as good as ‘Town’, will be worth watching.  I also plan to go and see ‘Renoir’, fittingly at the Renoir, which is in French but from the trailer looks too pretty to resist and hopefully easy to follow.

                                               Have a good weekend!

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The annual procession of the Three Kings which takes place this Sunday (January 8th) is a special occasion which I haven’t seen anywhere else.  The wise men are accompanied by a happy crowd of Provençal artisans, shepherds, little angels, donkeys and camels.

They stop at various points in the town for music, dancing and traditional songs – last year the procession stopped half way down the cours Mirabeau to the obvious delight of the camels who chomped into the tasty green moss on one of the fountains.  At least there were 3 camels.  One year they only had one, due to the increased demand at this time across the region!

Here is the order of the procession:

13.50  Sets off from Ecole Saint-Joseph, cours St Louis

14:00  Palais de Justice

14:15  Statue of Roi Réné

14.30  La Rotonde

15:00  Cours Sextius

15:30  Mairie

16:00  Cathedral for Annual Mass.

At this point one year, I was fascinated to see one of the three kings on his mobile phone……..GPS instead of following a star?  But seriously… good for these people who recreate historical events – you can see their website at www.histoiresdaix.org.

Afterwards, to warm yourself up, you will need a galette des rois which are on sale across town at the bakeries. I do prefer the frangipane version (traditional to the north of France) rather than the brioche which is more usual in Provence.  Each comes with a crown for the lucky person who gets a feve in their slice. Luckier still will be the customer of Le Fourmil de Cézanne who finds a replica gold sovereign.  If they take it back to the bakery, they will be given the real sovereign worth 268€.

Bon appétit!

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