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If you haven’t visited Saint-Maximin, this Sunday  (29th January)  is an excellent time to do so as it is the Fete de la Saint Vincent, when the local vignerons celebrate their patron saint.  Sixty-five of them will gather to thank their saint for the last harvest and implore his protection for the coming year. (more…)

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visuel_ITALIA_CASSIS_2013_illustrator_quadriIt all seems to be happening this coming weekend in the pretty little port of Cassis.  There’s a ‘Village Italien’ which showcases the foods, wines and art of their twin town of Portofino.

At mid-day there will be cookery demos followed by tasting of wines from Piedmont and Portofino at 18:00hrs.

Saturday is the big day though with a parade of classic Vespas and Fiats around the town.  The vehicles will be on show afterwards along with Fiat’s latest range, right up to their new 500XL Trekking, ideal they say for ‘jeunes papas branchés’.   Thus ruled out, I will have to content myself with getting hold of one of these lovely posters.  Purchase of a poster or mug also buys you a tombola ticket – and proceeds go to charity.

Wed 6th – Mon 11th Nov in the Place Baragnon.

During the weekend there will also be an antiques and art market.CASSIS ANT13 Aff A3 Les Antiques & Modernes de Cassis will be held at the Oustau Calendal. 8th-11th, 10:30-18:30.  Entry 2€ for Telethon.

The town has a very good website: http://www.ot-cassis.com/en/ which has details of their Park and Ride scheme which will be working at the weekend only. 

Remember there is also their ‘petit train’  if you want to explore further. 

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It takes you on a town tour or out to the start of the calanques.  I believe this is its last weekend in operation before winter sets in.  Do check all these details with the tourist office….and enjoy Cassis!

 

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  Driving into a Provençal vineyard, the last thing you expect to see, surely, is a superb Louise Bourgeois spider sitting in the middle of an enormous plane of water, reflecting the surrounding hills and vineyards.  It is a stunning setting for the sculpture and is in fact the beginning of an art trail that takes the visitor around the 600 acre site.

The walk starts at the sleek visitors’ centre designed by Tadao Ando.  Map in hand you head off up into the hills passing neat rows of Grenache Noir and Syrah vines. 

Various art installations can be seen on the way up but the best is right at the top where an ancient chapel has been renovated by Ando and enclosed in a wooden and glass building.  It’s a beautiful and peaceful spot with views of the shining white summit of Mont Ventoux and the snow-covered Alps. 

Down through the vines, you come to ‘Drop‘ by Tom Shannon, a mirrored installation which reflects the trees that surround it.

 

 

 

 

And finally, there is the Music Pavillion.

Designed by Frank Gehry of Guggenheim Bilbao fame, it is a beautifully deconstructed building with tumbling wooden beams and angled glass – it must look wonderful during evening concerts.

This is an extraordinary venture by the Irish businessman who owns the vineyard.  What a brave and beautiful mixture of art and wine!

DETAILS: Find Chateau La Coste on the road from Aix to le Puy-Sainte-Réparade – it’s well sign-posted.  It is open every day 10:00-19:00.  There are various tours of the art and also the wine-making operation – details on www.chateau-la-coste.com.  The mainly Irish staff are friendly and informative; plus the visitors’ centre has a restaurant where food is locally-sourced and made on site.

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