Monday, October 29, 2012

Plunge Into An Underwater World

This part of the world goes rather quiet in November. But, judging by my visitor numbers and demographics, there are a fair few people coming down to Provence at half-term and looking for things to do with the family -- in not necessarily clement weather. The perfect answer: the World Festival of Underwater Pictures in Marseille, a very long-established and prestigious fest of films, photographs and artwork, accompanied by children's workshops and all sorts of other things to keep them happy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Marseille, à la Peter Mayle

In Peter Mayle's new novel set in - well, you guess - the main character attends a rap concert, necks a few beers with Joey Barton after an Olympique de Marseille match, buys a rather out-there shirt from Marseille's hottest young new designer on the Cours Julien and enjoys a slap-up meal of couscous in Belsunce... only joking. In fact, Mayle's comedy thriller takes you on a tour through the usual tourist attractions and upscale restaurants of the Old Port area and contains few surprises -- except, perhaps, in his choice of villain. All the same, The Marseille Caper is an easy, breezy entertaining holiday read. Click here to read more.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A New Classical Music Festival in Aix en Provence

So I've now reached as far as March with my diary of events in the South of France in 2013, when Marseille-Provence (that's the whole region, not just the town) will be European Capital of Culture. And I wanted to flag up, in particular, the brand-new Easter Festival of classical music which will be launched for the first time next year in Aix en Provence and will be a sister-event to the city's long-established and prestigious Festival of Lyric Art in July. The full programme is now online, and the online box-office also opens today, so get in early to play your trip! Click here to read more.

Monday, October 1, 2012

France's First Metropolitan Long-Distance Footpath

A new hiking trail seems at first an unusual project for the European Capital of Culture's programme. But the Grande Randonnée 2013, or GR2013, is a long-distance footpath with a difference.

Mapped out by a collective of artists who are also keen ramblers, it doesn't just pass through some of the magnificent countryside and familiar tourist attractions for which Provence is justly celebrated. The Grande Randonnée 2013 also takes hikers to unusual, little-known places: disused factories, industrial trading estates, odd graffiti, Marseille airport and Aix TVG station.  It's being described as "the first metropolitan hiking trail".

And if you think that hiking isn't really a cultural activity, think again. Those crazy artists are lining a packed programme of events and activities all along the route throughout 2013. Click here to read more.