Sunday, October 30, 2011

Goats Galore in My Local Town Square

A couple of weeks ago I posted about André Gouiran, my local goatherd poet who, every year in October, organises a big shindig in the next village dedicated to the wonders of the goat. Well, he's just posted a clip of last weekend's event, which stars 360 of the beasties being shepherded (or perhaps that should be goatherded) into the tiny town square.

If you'd like to catch a glimpse of this eccentric local highlight, click here. It's my Facebook page (I haven't managed to find the URL of the clip to post it directly). It's the second post down. The top post (in French) is a piece from La Provence newspaper about the craze for nude hiking in the Montagne Sainte Victoire, the mighty limestone hill immortalised by Cézanne. It's pretty amusing too.

PS don't forget to "like" my Facebook page for regular updates!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cabals, Corruption, Excess, Compromise: The Story of the Avignon Papacy

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the "secret" tour of the Palais des Papes, a privileged peek into the pontiffs' private living quarters and their pampered way of life. Now to complement this, I've written a post about the Palais's public areas, the rivetting history of those maverick Avignon Popes - and why they left Rome in the first place. Click here to read more. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Christmas Markets in Provence

Aromatic lavender fields, sun-drenched beaches, perfectly chilled rosé wine on the terrace serenaded (if that's the right word) by cicadas.... That's what everyone associates with Provence. But, steeped in mystery and tradition, this part of France is even lovelier minus the tourist crowds. Forget the over-run Christmas markets of Northern and Central Europe. Instead, here's a guide to Avignon, Aix en Provence, Arles, Marseille and the surrounding region in the magical midwinter months, one of my very favourite times of year. Click here to read more. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Coffee with Olympique de Marseille's Number One Fan

Coffee with Catherine Brun at the Brasserie OM on Marseille's Old Port was quite an experience. This exuberant Marseillaise is a familiar face on television (waiters approach her for her autograph), the owner of a B&B for pets, a volunteer tourist guide and, first and foremost the Number One fan of Olympique de Marseille, the city's legendary football team. Click here to read more: scroll down the article to find my interview with Catherine in easyJet Traveller.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

From Here and There in Avignon

I've almost finished posting about my latest trip to Avignon, but I couldn't sign off without a word of warm recommendation for this terrific little brasserie right in the heart of town. The place de l'Horloge - the epicentre of the papal city's tourism - is lined with humdrum pizzerias offering the most basic of set menus for 12 Euros, but for the same price Beatrice Bellegarde, the visionary chef at D'Ici et d'Ailleurs, will whip you up a superb set lunch of inventive classic French and cosmopolitan fusion dishes just round the corner. Click here to read more. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Avignon: A Tale of Two Train Stations

The two rail stations in Avignon are a study in contrasts. The city centre one has a touch of 19th century elegance with its ornate facade and stone water fountains on the train platforms. Opened in 2001, Avignon TGV is ultra-modern, with its sleek, elegant contours designed to resemble the hull of an upturned boat. Which one to come into? All is revealed in our ultimate guide. Click here to read more.