Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Celebrating the New Season's Olive Oil

The early winter in Provence is not just the season of new wine and truffle festivals: the year's latest pressing of olive oil is celebrated here from late November. The new pressing is marked with a Fête de l'huile d'olive nouvelle. Tastings, music, wine, cookery demonstrations, local food (often an aïoli) and general revelry are to be expected on such occasions. Click here to read more

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Brad and Angelina's Starry Wine

In March this year Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, two of Provence's most famous vineyard owners, pictured (apparently after enjoying a bottle or two of their own tipple), launched an organic rosé wine created by the Perrin wine-making family.

Named Miraval, it went on sale in March 2013, when most of the stock was sold out within five hours at 15-16 €uros a bottle (click here to buy Miraval Rosé image!which has since become available online again).

Already well-received by critics, the wine has now just received a huge boost after it was included on a list of the top 100 wines in the world compiled by Wine Spectator magazine (reportedly the tasting was carried out blind). Click here to read more

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sheep in the Spotlight

Count the sheep! There'll certainly be plenty of them around at the Fête des Bergers, or Shepherds' Festival, in Istres, on the Blue Coast just north-west of Marseille all this week. This very provençal farmer's festival will include sheepdog trials, sheep processions - a sort of winter transhumance - and, inevitably, a feast. Will roast lamb be on the menu? Click here to read more

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Free Eats on the Old Port of Marseille

Yes Virginia, there is such a thing as a free lunch. This Saturday, in fact, on the Old Port of Marseille. The mild catch: it's slightly educational: a campaign to raise awareness of food waste (similar events have already been held in other cities). In this case, vegetables which are perfectly edible but would have otherwise been thrown away are converted in a "banquet for the 5,000" by gourmet chefs.  Click here to read more

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wine, song and son et lumière: Millévin in Avignon

Here's a nice winter warmer in Avignon on 21 November. Millévin is an all day party to celebrate the arrival of the new vin primeur wine, the region's answer to Beaujolais nouveau. There will be tastings, music, a dinner on the place de l'Horloge and, as a added bonus this year, a free son et lumière show on the façade of the Palais des Papes. Click here to read more

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The 2014 Line-Up at Marseille's Museums

This has been an amazing record year for museums in Marseille and it's now hoped to carry on the Capital of Culture momentum with a forthcoming programme of new shows.The line-up has been announced for 2014 and it includes Warhol, Bacon, Hopper, the Belgian surrealist Paul Delvaux plus exhibitions dedicated to the North African city of Volubilis, Odessa, carnival across the Med - and fashion at the racetrack. So, if you are planning a visit to Marseille in 2014, here are some early dates for your diary. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

An Offer Only Scrooge Could Refuse

Here's an offer only Scrooge could refuse: a chance to buy an original artwork for a very affordable price, and at the same time to create a brighter Christmas for children in hospital suffering from cancer.

Now in its ninth year, an annual show in Marseille, opening tomorrow, is exhibiting the work of 111 artists and photographers, some of them well-known, others rising stars. Each artist has 11 works in the show and all of them are on sale for a bargain 111 €uros apiece - including the frame. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pagnol's Marseille Trilogy Comes to Britain

Daniel Auteuil shot to fame playing Ugolin, the dim and shifty peasant opposite Gérard Depardieu, Yves Montand and Emmanuelle Béart in Claude Berri's 1986 arthouse blockbuster film versions of Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources - both based on stories by Marcel Pagnol. And he's had a love affair with this writer ever since, choosing Pagnol's The Well-Digger's Daughter for his well-received debut as a director in 2011. He has followed that up with a much bigger and more ambitious project, three films adapted from Pagnol's celebrated Marius-Fanny-César trilogy set on the Old Port of Marseille. Now the first two of those films are coming to Britain this month. Click here to read more.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Top Five Christmas Presents From Provence

So you're not actually in Provence but would still like to offer a spot of Southern French sunshine to your friends and family this Christmas (or perhaps treat yourself). To help you avoid the touristy tack. I've compiled a brief list of favourite, totally traditional, high quality products that are all available to buy online and bound to be hits. Click here to read more

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Claude Gazier's Moody Film-Art

I hadn't heard of Claude Gazier before. But his paintings, inspired by vintage film stills, with more than a whiff of Edward Hopper, are moody and intriguing. He has a new show opening this week in La Ciotat, a city which - thanks to the pioneering Lumière Brothers - has its own strong cinema connections. Click here to read more

Monday, November 4, 2013

Albert Camus in Aix en Provence

The tribute planned for Albert Camus during the Marseille-Provence Capital of Culture year has been dogged by troubles. Curators came and went, arguments raged and for while it seemed as if the whole event would be cancelled. Now, though, the organisers have rallied and the show has finally got on the road - just in time to mark the centenary of Camus' birth on Thursday - with an exhibition exploring the writer's life and work and the world premiere this week of a new ballet based on his hugely influential novel L'Etranger (The Stranger, or The Outsider). Click here to read more