Saturday, March 30, 2013

A New Film About Pierre-Auguste Renoir Celebrates The Luminous Landscapes Of Provence

If you live in the US and haven't make it to Provence this Easter, don't despair: a new film about the great artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, shot in the Var between Le Lavandou and Saint Tropez, has just opened in selected cinemas. Click here to read more

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Fantastic New Smartphone App for Hikers and Bikers in Southern Provence

Here's a fantastic free offer for smartphone users: a new app for hikers and bikers features maps and routes in Southern Provence from the Camargue to the calanques. It has been developed by the tourist authority, the Conseil général des Bouches du Rhône, and covers, logically enough, the département 13: that's to say, the Bouches du Rhône.The app is in English as well as French and available for both iPhones and Androids. Click here to read more

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Futuristic New Museum in Marseille

The exciting new buildings transforming the cityscape of Marseille just keep on coming: the latest one is the FRAC PACA, a space celebrating contemporary art, which opens to the public this evening. Designed by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, this luminous and futuristic structure shines like a beacon in the rather drab part of town around the commercial port area. Click here to read more

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Magic Roundabout Comes To Aix En Provence

The Cours Mirabeau in Aix en Provence is currently festooned with brightly coloured banners featuring cartoons of some of its leading shopkeepers. And, at the top of the boulevard sits the gorgeous, hand-crafted Manège Magique, surreal magic roundabout where kids can ride on a grasshopper, a pterodactyl skeleton, a cello or a dinosaur. It's all in aid of the city's latest festival - and, no, it's not a classical music one. Click here to read more

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Marseille, the Cleanest City in the World?

Or at least it ought to be after this giant, three-metre / ten-foot high cube of Marseille soap has been installed in front of the city's J1 Terminal on 8 April. An equally outsize tap will drip water on it until the soap melts away, signifying the passing of time. Apart from being rather fun, it's there to raise awareness for the current campaign to protect the famous savon de Marseille brand which is under threat from cheap foreign imitations. Click here to read more.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Venet's Disorderly Arches in Marseille

The conceptual artist Bernar Venet, who was born in Château Arnoux in Haute Provence, was invited to install a very large-scale work in the Jardin du Pharo, a park overlooking the Old Port of Marseille and surrounding the Palais du Pharo, itself recently the subject of renovation. The dramatic result is unveiled to the public today. Click here to read more

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Win a Free Camper Van Holiday in Provence

Two quintessential fantasies fuse perfectly on a touring holiday in Provence with a classic Volkswagen T2 camper van, aka a combi, "bulli" or "vee-dub". This is, of course, the typical hippie van as seen at Woodstock or in the films Alice's Restaurant and,more recently, Little Miss Sunshine. These days rental VW combi vans come with a few more creature comforts such as iPod fittings and solar-powered showers, while still maintaining their mythic charisma. We've provided a guide to touring Provence - and the chance to win a free VW vacation with our partner, 69 Campers, who is also offering three stunningly refurbished camper van for hire in Provence. Click here to read more

Friday, March 8, 2013

Jolie-Pitt Launch Their Own-Brand Celebrity Vin Rosé

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, two of Provence's most famous vineyard owners, have launched their own-brand organic rosé wine: created by the Perrin wine-making family - and online stocks sold out within five hours. Click here to read more

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Quarries of Lights Reopen With a New Show

The Quarries of Lights (formerly known as the Cathedral of Images), near Les Baux de Provence and Saint Rémy de Provence, are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. Each year there's a brand-new son et lumière show and, after a two months' period of closure to prepare it, the quarries reopen tomorrow with the 2013 spectacle. Click here to read more.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Brand-New Museum in Marseille

Last week I got a privileged preview at a press party for Marseille's very latest museum: the Musée Regards de Provence. Overlooking the city's fast-expanding port area, between the Cathedral, the Fort Saint Jean and the future MuCEM and Villa Mediterranée, this building is a treasure trove of provençal art, both classic and ultra-contemporary. More than that, the building itself, designed in 1948 by the leading local architect Fernard Pouillan, has a fascinating history in its own right. Click here to read more.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Michelin-Starred Restaurants of Provence (2013 Edition)

Published today, the new Michelin Restaurant Guide for France has crowned a new three-star chef - and he's in Provence. Saint Tropez, to be precise, where Arnaud Donckele - who's just 35 - has been working since 2004 at the Vague d'Or and quietly building up a reputation for "discreet and flawless" cuisine using classic, locally sourced ingredients. You can read more about Donckele, pictured, and the other new Michelin chefs in our full list of the 2013 selection, with links straight through to the restaurants' websites. Click here to read more.