Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Edelweiss on the Mediterranean Coast

Expect the unexpected at Edelweiss, a pension named after a mountain flower in the heart of Marseille. Its shabby facade conceals a style freak's dream: four guest rooms, each individually decorated with hand-picked retro/vintage furniture from just about every decade of the 20th century. Click here to read more.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Quirky B&B in the Old Town of Aix en Provence

Hidden in a tiny side-street in the heart of the Old Town, of Aix en Provence, "Carla's little house" is a charming, quirky spot to stay if you want to keep close to the main action. It's just off the Forum des Cardeurs, with its vast array of restaurants and practically within earshot of the Archbishop's Palace, the principal venue for the city's Festival of Lyric Art in July. Click here to read more.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Old Town of Aix: Perfect Provence

 Aix's Old Town is perfectly poised to seduce the visitor to Provence: a warren of winding streets, picturesque craft shops, upscale boutiques, restaurants, elegant squares, refreshing fountains, markets - and all steeped in centuries, if not millennia of history. Click here to read more.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Set Sail for the South from Marseille

Marseille's identity is deeply bound up with its ancient origins as a port and the vast network of routes that the sea opened up to the outside world. It's a cosmopolitan connection which still flourishes vigorously today, with regular scheduled ferry services to Corsica, Sardinia, Algeria and Tunisia. And now the city has initiated an exciting urban regeneration project that will completely transform the port and docks area. Click here to read more.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pastis de Marseille: The Complete Guide

Enjoyed on a sun-drenched café terrace by the sea, if possible while watching or playing a game of pétanque, pastis is the essential - indeed stereotypical - apéritif of Provence. It belongs to a family of anise-based liquors that includes ouzo (from Greece), arak (from the Arab world), raki (from Turkey), sambuca (from Italy) and mastika (from the Balkans). There is a resemblance between all these beverages. But pastis tastes quite different from its Mediterranean cousins. Click here to read more.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Seeing the Wood For the Trees

If you are looking for an alternative to the usual characterless American-style theme parks, the Écomusée de la Forêt (Forest Ecomuseum), just outside Aix en Provence, could just fit the bill. An introduction to the unique ecology of the Mediterranean landscape, it's a fun, instructive and immaculately green family outing. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marcel Pagnol: the Ultimate Promenade Performance.

If you are a keen hiker or a fan of Marcel Pagnol, here's a unique experience. An all-day walk/theatrical performance takes you high into the wild, craggy hills of Aubagne and into the dark, comic heart of the writer's world, which actors bring to thrilling life. Since 1998, nearly 25,000 people have gone on these hikes, inspired by Manon des Sources. Now through the spring of 2011 there's a brand-new show, based on Pagnol's La Femme du Boulanger (The Baker's Wife). Advance booking for it opens today. Click here to read more.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Refuge From the Rain

You're in Provence with the children, and the weather is meant to be fabulous. But the Mistral is howling or the rain is pouring -- just like today, in fact. So what to do? Legend'aire, France's largest indoor play centre, is your solution. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Aix en Provence.... by Llama

If your kids are reluctant to go hiking in Provence, here's an unusual solution: take a llama in tow. Not only will your companion allow you to pet, groom and stroke it, it will even carry your knapsack and picnic hamper (though you won't be able to ride it). And you can take a little swatch of its hair home as a souvenir. Click here to read more.