Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Join the Foreign Legion for Camerone Day

It's Camerone Day (something to do with a wooden protesthetic hand) today, a huge deal in Aubagne where the French Foreign Legion is based. Apart from the usual ceremonies and processions, the Legion's museum reopens after a year's closure for renovations with one of the odder events of MP2013: a show of photographs of legionnaires' tattoos. Click here to read more

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Surfing Along on a New Wave of Art

Don't you just love this funky camper van by the San Francisco-based artist Jay Nelson? It's called Golden Gate, naturally, is made of fibreglass and plywood and cruises along at a cool 20 mph. It's in a new show in Marseille of art influenced by surfing and skateboarding culture, accompanied by a month-long music festival including Pete Docherty (3 May) and the Wu-Tang Clan (24 May). What's not to like? Click here to read more

Friday, April 26, 2013

Picasso the Potter

Aubagne, a centre of terracotta in its own right, is hosting a major show - opening tomorrow - celebrating Pablo Picasso's Mediterranean-themed ceramics. After the Second World War until the end of his life, the artist, based in Vallauris, experimented with this medium, employing themes with a Southern flavour: ancient myths, the sun, bullfighting, doves and olive trees and, as always, women. Click here to read more

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Hospice for the Needy Turned Luxury Hotel

Marseille gets a magnificent new five-star hotel this week in the shape of the historic Hôtel Dieu, The origins of this monumental building located on the edge of the Old Town and overlooking the Old Port date back to the 12th century when a hospice for the poor and needy was built on this site. It evolved and expanded in the course of the centuries, before finally undergoing an estimated 120 million €uro conversion, amid some controversy. Click here to read more

Monday, April 15, 2013

Marseille on Film: A New Book

Think of Marseille on film and the image that will flicker before most people's eyes is probably that of Popeye Doyle going cold turkey in The French Connection II which, back in 1975, did for the city's image as a tourist destination pretty much what Kim Jom Un is currently doing for North Korea. But the cinematic history of Marseille is much richer than that, as a new book, published today, reveals. Click here to read more

Monday, April 8, 2013

Malkovich returns to Dangerous Liaisons in Aix

If you loved John Malkovich as the libertine and arch-villain Valmont in Stephen Frears' 1988 Oscar-winning film of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, there's an unusual opportunity in Aix this month.

Malkovich is returning to the classic 18th century tale of seduction, corruption and betrayal - but this time as the director of a new production, with a young cast in their teens and twenties. Click here to read more

Friday, April 5, 2013

Carnival on Marseille's Old Port

Most countries hold their annual carnivals in Mardi Gras week, but it's a (rather sensible) quirk of Provence that many of its cities and small towns wait for better weather. Marseille launches its party tomorrow, 6 April with a "mobile museum" on the Old Port. Click here to read more

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Whistling in the Wind

Some 500 music instruments whistle in the wind throughout this month in the sound installation Harmonic Field, in the coastal village of Les Goudes just south of Marseille. Cellos are just part of the unconventional soundscape: it also includes bicycle wheels, bamboo pipes, Balinese wind chimes and even suspended deckchairs or bits of crackling old plastic. Click here to read more