Lavender fields, hilltop villages and spectacular rocky fjords, rosé wine and bouillabaisse, Cézanne and Van Gogh, cutting edge rap and hip-hop music, Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, pétanque, scuba diving and Olympique de Marseille: Provence is a vibrant mix of romantic tradition and surprising, fast-changing modernity. This is an insider's guide to the best of it, from a professional journalist living there.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Food, Glorious Food
I was recently invited to a preview visit of the Camp des Milles, a huge former brick factory just outside Aix en Provence which was used as an internment camp at the beginning of the Second World War and opens to the public as a memorial early next month. Over 10,000 people were locked up here: political dissidents, "enemy aliens", artists, intellectuals and Jews - sometimes all five categories at once. Visiting the camp could have been depressing, but in fact it's thought-provoking and, in a strange way, inspiring - mainly because the artists holed up there found extraordinary ways of transforming their experience. On near-starvation rations, they covered all the walls of one room with surreal frescoes celebrating a superabundance of food.... Click here to read more