Posts Tagged ‘La Provence’

The Sixties as we all know were the years that changed society radically, or, as this new hors-series from La Provence explains, ont mis le monde cul par-dessus tête.

There were the worldwide events: the first man on the moon, the Vietnam war, the Algerian conflict, the assassinations of JFK, Che and Martin Luther King;  there was the explosion of music, the sexual revolution, and political action on the streets; and meanwhile the consumer society was tempting us with telephones, washing machines, short skirts, cars, record-players, 45s and colour TVs.

But what was happening down here in Provence?

All of the above was having an effect of course, as elsewhere in Europe, but the magazine shows some startling areas of change, especially in Marseille which was changing fast.

The tunnel under the Vieux Port was opened in December 1967, after 4 years work.  It replaced the old transporter bridge which carried 200 passengers and 1 vehicle across in a minute and a half.  The new tunnel was capable of handling 100,000 vehicles a day.

A little further along the coast, the corniche JFK was under construction, a road widening from 6m to 23.5m from the plage des Catalans to the Prado; it also incorporated a long concrete seat and pedestrian promenade stretching for 3km.

The Parc Borely area – today a park with cafés and play areas and sandy beaches – was a camping site just across the road from a narrow rocky shore line.  Leading into town the autoroute Nord was extended, in 1967, to reach the Porte d’Aix; interesting that today massive roadworks are taking place, a marche arriere, to liberate the Porte d’Aix from all the polluting traffic.

I was astonished to read that Marseille had a bull-ring (see photo); this closed in 1962.  Also astonishing the condition of the lovely Vieille Charité which, having been a barracks, was squatted and in an appalling state. The restoration started in 1968 and the building today houses a museum and galleries for temporary expos.

The lovely cours d’Estienne d’Orves was filled, in 1965, with a nasty concrete multistorey car-park which thankfully got demolished 20 years later.  Now the square is full of sunny café terraces and the cars are all underground.

Here is a link to some more photos of 60s Marseille:


The magazine covers lots of other interesting things: favourite names of the 60s (Philippe and Nathalie), the building of Marseille Airport, the impact of the 1968 protests in Provence, the growth of Cadarache, the digging of the Canal de Provence, the death of Tommy Simpson on Mont Ventoux – so much.  It’s 2,80€ which has to be the bargain of the week!

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The best way to chill your rosé, I learn from ‘A Table’, La Provence’s latest publication, is to tie a string around its neck and drag it through the sea from the back of your boat.  And here’s me faffing around with a fridge all these years!  But much of the advice in the magazine is pertinent:

There’s a listing of the region’s top rosés, including choices from local sommeliers but also usefully listing the top 3 from each of the usual supermarkets eg Carrefour’s best rosés etc.

Foodwise, there’s advice on how to put together a truly Provençal cheese-platter – Brousse du Rove, Tome d’Arles, Petit chevre frais, Picodon and Banon – plus tips on putting together a good picnic.

There are reviews of the region’s ’10 restos trendy’ and their verdict on which hotel is best for eating – Mama Shelter or the Radisson Blu.  (The former gets a limited thumbs up but the reviewer wasn’t enthusiastic about either……)

A good read – at kiosks from this weekend, 2€80.

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