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Posts Tagged ‘Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur’

beach at cannes(1)We were in Cannes last week and as usual I was enchanted by the blue sea, brightly striped umbrellas on the beach and exotic palm trees lining the Croisette.  Still I prefer Aix…couldn’t cope with the Riviera traffic.  But it’s an interesting area and this week there are two documentaries on TV dealing with it.

‘Cote d’Azur: les dessous d’une cash machine‘  (yes that’s the title) focuses on the beaches.  There are, it says, 10m visitors a year to what is one of the world’s top destinations, and the plagistes and restauranteurs have to make their money during July and August. Their story. They also explain how the businesses are allowed to fence off what were public beaches.  Channel 8, Wednesday 11th June, 20:50hrs.

Cote d’Azur: l’échappée bleue: more of a travelogue.  It is a tour of  Porquerolles, the presqu’ile de Giens, St Tropez, vieux Nice and Monaco.  This is the way to travel – a glass of wine, a comfy sofa and avoid all that traffic!  France 5, Saturday 14th June 20.35hrs.

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bandeauThis past weekend saw the launch of ‘Bienvenue chez vous’, a PACA-funded programme which aims to showcase its patrimoine regional to locals. Numerous tourist sites will be opening free or at reduced costs from now until 4th November.

There are 5 themes (Terre de saveurs, Senteurs de Provence, Dans la Nature, Histoire, Arts et Civilisation and Decouverts Economiques.)  Details on http://bienvenuechezvous.regionpaca.fr/front_office/

header-metierdesarts-routegourmandeThere’s a second programme which should be interesting if you have newly arrived or have visitors who want to find authentic culinary or artisanal enterprises to visit.

 La Route Gourmande takes you around artistan patissiers, glaciers and confiseurs who all welcome visitors. There are four itineraries around Marseille, Pays d’Aix, the Cote Bleu and the Alpilles. To give you a flavour of the suggestions for Aix, the drive takes in the Chocolaterie at Puyricard, the Confiserie Leonard Parli for calissons, the Weibel Patisserie, Macarons Meresse, the Liquoristerie de Provence – and so on.

The second programme, La Route des Metiers d’Art is a similar concept but takes you around potteries, people making soft furnishings, oil-mills, violin-makers and jewellers.

Details of both are on this website http://www.provenceartisans.fr/ or you can collect two useful booklets which have details of opening times and of course the maps, from the Office du Tourisme.

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This is the new hors series from La Provence which brings lots of info on unmissable monuments in our area. 

Each of the 45 monuments they have chosen has photos, a  history, a description and then a panel with practical details on how to get there and its opening times.  There are chateaux, abbeys, a synagogue, Roman remains, Mary Magdalene’s cave, the docks in Marseille, the aqueduct at Roquefavour – right up to Le Corbusier’s Cité radieuse and the Vélodrome.  So much to see and remember, the Journées du Patrimoine are coming up so many will be free and have special tours and displays.

The magazine also has a 1:30hr walk round 15 fountains in Aix, and a 3 hr trip round 15 statues in Marseille, sadly not a women among them.

Not a bad investment for 2.80€ – currently at the kiosks.

By the way, if you want more ideas for outings, I have gathered all the past posts on the subject under a new heading Exploring Provence.  There’s also a heading for Books and I’ve included all the restaurant suggestions  for Eating in Aix. 

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There seems to be so much going on this weekend in Aix – and the villages around.

Homesick Brits should make for Gardanne which is having its annual Arts and Festins du Monde, this year featuring Britain.  It begins tomorrow evening with a band of 15 pipers – all kilted – playing Scottish and Irish music through the streets of the town. Then an amazing-sounding U2 tribute band from Montpellier take to the stage.  The following day has a full programme which includes African dancing (no me neither) and at 18:30 a band called British Legend who will perform Stones and Beatles hits. It’s all free!  31 restaurateurs will be in the cours Forbin offering ‘specialités’ –  Marmite sandwiches? Beans on toast? Battenburg?  Count me in!  http://www.ville-gardanne.fr/Arts-Festins-du-monde-version

In Aix, there is a book sale on Sunday in the place de l’Hotel de Ville.  Rained off on April 22nd, it’s being organised by the Association des libraires ambulants. 9-18:00hrs.

There are  vide greniers taking place on Sunday – Jouques and Aix Val St André.  Over at the Grand Theatre de Provence, there’s an open day to encourage us all to learn about the opera – Tous à L’Opéra 2012.

If you are interested in ancient history, Pourrieres is the place to be.  They are having a weekend of re-enactments of the famous battle between the Romans and the invading tribes from the north.  It sounds fun – and what a great poster.

Or if a little winetasting is more to your taste, you could make for Ansouis for the Portes Ouvertes at the Chateau Saint Esteve de Néri.  They will be having a Grand Buffet Provençal and also having an exhibition of paintings by Denis Feraud….‘Fleurs de Printemps’. Durng the weekend there will be a 10% discount on orders of 12 or more bottles. That’s Sunday from 10:30 – details of vineyard on www.stestevedeneri.com.

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