Posts Tagged ‘Rotonde’


How pretty the Rotonde looks this Christmas!  Wandering through Aix last evening was just enchanting – the lights down the cours Mirabeau are fabulous and it was so good to see so many families out enjoying the seasonal ambiance.

The Groupe F show at the Grand Theatre lit up the sky with golden fireworks, lasers, stunning catherine wheels and huge bursts of fire – all to the sound of techno – for 30 incredible minutes.

The market is drawing the crowds as usual:

I was sorry to see that the magic guy isn’t here this year – he was the one who had a chalet where he did card tricks and really drew the crowds.  I have read that he applied for his usual pitch and didn’t get it.  There’s now a Facebook page protesting about this decision.  My French isn’t great so I missed the nuances of this – does anyone know what happened?

In parallel with the festivities is the annual Phot’Aix: it’s a trail around 28 in-town locations to see the work of 47 photographers.  This year the theme is ‘Regards Croisés Mediterranée’.Phot'Aix affiche

The Musée de Tapisseries is a good starting point. It’s 3.50€ to see several of the series of pictures by various Mediterranean-based photographers.  There, you can pick up a map of locations which take in art-galleries and book-stores around town where you can see more photos.

The gentleman (I think) in the poster, with a great deal of fruit on his hat, is the work of Chaza Charafeddine who explores the questions of ‘genre, pop art and Islamic art’ too. Interesting!  Here is the website for more info http://www.fontaine-obscure.com/pages/photaix_RC.htm which has a map of venues and also details of a photo competition if you think you can do better!

And finally, today, with families arriving to admire the Christmas markets and lights….

loo shut

the town toilet is ‘en panne’.  You really couldn’t make it up!

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…And how.  Here are the plans announced for the next couple of years.  Warning – It’s quite a long post!

Apple Store – this will be a new building replacing the old tourist office. Because it’s a sensitive site, the architects will have to line it up with the cours Mirabeau. In fact it will be mainly glass – very see-through – birds watch out! Should be open beginning of 2013.

The Rotonde area is in for a face-lift. The 3 corners which haven’t been ‘done’ will be re-paved to match les Allées Provençales with all cars cleared away into the underground parking. The second step will be to repave the road itself and make it the same level as the pavements. The pedestrian parts will be enlarged at the expense of the traffic. Work commences in the spring.


The New Gare Routiere. Works starts in April. There will be a 600m2 passengers’ building with 20 bus platforms and an arcaded walkway to provide shade. A new roundabout will separate the buses from passing cars. Finish date end 2013.

Krypton Expansion The park and ride scheme on the A8 will triple in size (from 300 to 900 places in a multi-storey building) and have 8 platforms for buses, making it a mini-gare routiere. A new bridge will cross the autoroute, reserved for free navettes into centre ville, bikes, and foot passengers, mainly students heading for the campus.

The quartier des Facultés will be renovated to form a proper campus for the newly unified university. The 40,000 students who use the campus will have 13km of walkways available. The intersection of the main roads will be the heart of the campus where all the key services will be situated.

A new Park and Ride will be built at Malacrida (bottom of cours Gambetta). There will be 250 parking places and 4 bus platforms. Again free navettes will run people into the town centre.

Parking under Arts-et Métiers. 350 new spaces under the school.


The whole area in front of the Palais de Justice will be cleared of traffic and places Verdun, Madeleine and Precheurs are going to be re-laid and pedestrianised.

Work will start on rue d’Italie and some side-roads in February, following consultations with occupants.


New Conservatoire – the building designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has already started, close to the Grand Theatre de Provence. It will contain 62 classromms, 15 practice studios and 5 rehearsal halls. There will also be dance studios and a 500-seat auditorium. Ready for September 2013.

Chapelle des Penitents Blancs– built in 1654 in the rue Maréchal-Foch, this is being stripped of asbestos and totally renovated to welcome the Collection Planque as an annexe to the Musée Granet. Should be ready early 2013.

Work will start in the spring at the Eglise de la Madeleine which has been closed for 6 years due to urgent safety issues. The town has bought the shops built along the west façade – owners had been extending by nibbling into the church walls and undermining the structure. They are being made safe and underpinning will take place. In May, items from within the church will start to be renovated. All the work should be finished by May 2013 and then there will be six months of checks before it can re-open.

Hotel de Châteaurenard This has been closed for some time for work on the infrastructure. The wonderful murals in the stairwell will be restored from September onwards. These Daret  paintings should be back on show during 2014.

Place d’Albertas – in a previous post, it was explained that the town is going to expedite the renovation of the central section.

There is much much more work going on in the outskirts of town – renovating buildings and improving the infrastructure. The current ‘aixendialogue’ magazine has details.


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