Posts Tagged ‘GR2013’

What a rainy weekend for the launch of the new hiking trail!  If you missed walking some of it, which I have to admit I did, we can all catch up from the warmth of our sofas on Wednesday evening when France 3 is showing a programme featuring the GR2013.   ‘Des Racines et des Ailes’ is dedicating its documentary slot (and very good it is too) to MP2013: the first part will concentrate on ‘La Metamorphose de Marseille’ (!) while the second part focuses on the new hiking trail.  20:45-22:40. I believe that they have filmed a section in Aix and will be covering the work of the Ely family who have been photographing the town for over a century.  If so, this will be fascinating.

There’s the new Festival de Paques starting on 26th March – it brings 20 concerts in 10 days to the Grand Theatre de Provence.  There is a special ticket counter in the Office de Tourisme or you can book on www.festivalpaques.com.

manet-affiche_400Another treat is in store if you missed the major Manet expo in London which ends just after Easter.  I did actually go to this but my gallery-going-buddy and I found it almost impossible to see the pictures.  The expo focuses on his portraits with some beautiful paintings but I have to say it was frustrating not to have the space and calm needed to appreciate his work.  There were also some gaps – his most famous paintings like Olympia couldn’t leave Paris and the Bar at the Folies-Bergeres remained at the Courtauld.

But we can all soon enjoy a filmed visit complete with expert commentary (art historian Tim Marlow) in the comfort of the Cézanne cinema on April 11th at 20:00.  In English with French subtitles. Online booking is now open…but 12€ seems a little steep.  Nearly as much as the expo itself!

Finally a word about Ulysses who seems to be popping up as a character and a theme during MP2013.  Leafing through the various leaflets show his presence throughout the year as a symbol of the Mediterranean spirit of travel but it is his wife Penelope who has inspired a new show in Aix.  ‘Tisser des Liens’  has weaving and threads as its theme.  Various artists have been invited to create a work, each of which inhabits one of the small rooms in the Pavillon de Vendôme.  Some are intriguing like Carolle Bénitah’s white handkerchiefs each embroidered with red threads spelling out her younger-self’s aspirations; I also liked Marie Ducaté’s fabric construction of fish, crabs and shells with golden nets which linked to the existing fresco of the goddess of plenty on the ceiling above.  But some of the exhibits left me baffled.  No photos I’m afraid as they won’t let you take any (why?). Click here for the press release  press.  On til 16th June and to be followed by two more ‘weaving-themed’ exhibitions.

What really should be fun is an all-night reading of the Odyssey taking place on 3rd May. Starting at 18:00 in the place de l’Hotel de Ville, it will go on until 5am.  There will be 20 readers, plus dancers and musicians – more detail nearer the time!

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Having a special hiking trail to celebrate the Year of Culture has always struck me as being an inspired idea and very much in the ‘plein air’ spirit of this lovely part of France.  As usual though, it has taken some time to figure out exactly what is going to be happening. Communications so far have been telling us how poetique et inédit the whole thing will be…now detail is emerging for the coming weekend.

The trail will be 365km in the shape of a large butterfly, crossing over at the Aix TGV station.  It will pass through 38 communes and would take 20 days to walk.  It isn’t though just a typical Provencal hike.  The route will go right through Plan de Campagne, giving us all a different view of the shopping centre (I hope one can stop for cake….) and also through some of the industrial complexes at the Etang de Berre.

map for GR2013

The launch this coming weekend (22-24th March) will involve 4 relay teams of 400 people whose handover batons will contain GPS transmitters.  Locals can cheer them on or, better still, join in.  It’s a fairly complex series of events which is why they must have had to take time to work the detail.  It’s best to check out the website on www.mp2013.fr/gr2013 to see what is happening near you.  However, this being Aixcentric, these are our times:

Sat 23.  11.30 Gardanne, 13.30 Meyreuil, 15.00 Aix  (I’m assuming it is going via Le Tholonet and the Route Cézanne).   Sun 24. 10.45 Fondation Vasarely 13.30 Aix TGV Station.

In addition to this inauguration, there will be special events and art installations at various spots along the way during the year.  For instance, we saw a TV programme about the sound installations around Martigues where the wind will blow through various structures and make lots of noise!  ‘Wouldn’t want to live near there’, said M. Aixcentric not being very poetique about the whole thing.  Their special weekend is 12-14 April.  Click below for the flyer with details of the individual ‘temps forts’.

Click to access MP2013-A3A6-GR2013-carte-dépliant-WEB-1.pdf

I may well get my hiking boots out and join in………if the rain holds off.  Let’s hope so!

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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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