Posts Tagged ‘France’

Wednesday, 1st Jan, sees the opening of ‘Nymphomaniac’, the latest film from Danish director Lars von Trier who says that he was inspired by Proust.  Various actresses including Charlotte Gainsburg play the central character whose erotic development is charted.  ‘Perplexing, perposterous and utterly fascinating’, said the Guardian.  Also stars Jamie Bell who has obviously come some way from Billy Elliot!

philoThe following week, 8th Jan, we get a chance to see ‘Philomena’ (more…)

Read Full Post »







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…)

Read Full Post »

It must have been so exciting in 1967 when, excavating the site for the new centre commercial at the Bourse, they started turning up all manner of Greek and Roman remains, including large pieces of boats(more…)

Read Full Post »



I love my weekly Paris Match: it helps me keep up-to-date with France, has some good in-depth articles on international news and excellent photo-journalism. The current issue (see cover image) has, along with an article on why Anglo-Saxon women are falling for ‘le French Lover’ (looking at you Madonna, Scarlett, Nathalie and Halle Berry…) a thoughtful piece on Marseille.

What, they ask, is going on in Marseille? (more…)

Read Full Post »

Speeding in Spain

                                                                          …the message is DON’T!

speed-camera-agreementSince last month, August 2013, French-registered cars which are flashed  in Spain will be sent an unwelcome letter (more…)

Read Full Post »

Today’s Guardian has a two-page feature on Aix: the journalist visits on the new direct train to Aix to try out part of the GR2013….and spends the night in the refuge at the top of the Sainte-Victoire.  Read on:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2013/may/17/aix-en-provence-france-direct-train-paul-cezanne

cezanneThere is also a lovely video overview of Cézanne’s studio: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/interactive/2013/may/17/paul-cezanne-studio-aix-en-provence-france-audio-slideshow  (Thanks to Mike and to Carol for forwarding this).

And finally an interesting new book by British writer Peter Gumbel who lectures at Sciences Po.  ‘France’s Got Talent: the Woeful Consequences of French Elitism’ analyses the stranglehold exercised at the top by the 500 graduates of the top schools.  He argues that French meritocracy is a myth and that Hollande has made things even worse – his ‘old boys’ network’ as a bad as Giscard d’Estaing’s.   Not only are these individuals drawn overwhelmingly from the same upper class background, but they aren’t providing good leadership anyway.  Lots of detail and stats here:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/14/france-power-elitism-peter-gumbel?INTCMP=SRCH  or http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/liberte-inegalite-fraternite-is-french-elitism-holding-the-country-back-8621650.html

 (Just in case you are thinking two words – ‘Cameron’ and ‘Eton’ – as I was, apparently this is worse…..)

Read Full Post »

Amid a veritable building site down in the docks, with cranes and construction workers and car-ferries coming and going, the new Musée Regards de Provence has opened and it is wonderful.

It’s housed in the old Station Sanitaire and signage indicates what awaited the immigrants – rooms for déshabillage, desinfection and service DDT. But today the building is full of big open spaces, flooded with light and filled with wonderful local paintings.

The first floor concentrates on paintings of Marseille.  So if you have just walked to the museum along the Vieux Port, you will have walked right through the subject of many of the pictures!  VP

This is how Louis Nattero saw the Quai du Port in the early years of the 19th century.  Not only is it a lovely painting in its own right, but it gives us a view of the old buildings that were detonated in WW2. 

Another painter I’d never heard of, Joseph Marius Hurard, worked from the opposite side. He was in the narrow streets of the Panier, looking across to the church up on the hill.

view from panier What a wonderful composition this is. 

‘Notre Dame de la Garde et Les Escaliers de la Rue Bompard’ focuses on the church in the centre of the painting, but it is framed by the real subject of the work – the busy street life of the Panier.  The windows are adorned with washing and the women in the street chat as they come back from the market or the fish-quay.

The second floor of the gallery widens its focus to include paintings from all over Provence, and there are so many treats in store.  There are works by Marchand, Chabaud, Seyssaud and Ambrogiani who is represented by a long and colourful painting which illustrates Provence from the Camargue to the Cote d’Azur.  One of my favourites.

Modern paintings are grouped in the Salle d’Estaque and, as with most contemporary art, it’s a mixed bag.  But this work ‘Plan d’Eau’ 2004 from Patrick Moquet, another artist new to me, was outstanding.modernart

Right at the top of the building is a very elegant restaurant with fabulous views across the docks and out to sea.

I went up for a coffee (11:30) but the whole place was set out for lunch.  They were OK about it and moved place settings etc so I could just have a coffee.  They have a good lunch menu with plats du jour but also light options.  If you opt for the beef, there are signs to reassure you that the animal was ‘né en France et abbattu en France’.


It’s a fabulous spot to sit and eat – especially if you like watching cranes and boats!

The whole museum has been finished to the highest standard and is a pleasure to visit.

It costs 6€ (5€ for seniors) and is open daily. :http://www.museeregardsdeprovence.com/




Read Full Post »