Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Place To Be In Provence On New Year's Eve

For a while it seemed as if it would all end with a whimper. Provence's spectacular Capital of Culture year has been slowly winding down through the autumn; the J1 Hangar is closed and later this week the event's main showcase, the M Pavillion, will be dismantled. But Marseille is not a city likely to pass up the chance of a party and, although nothing at all was initially for New Year's Eve, now it seems as though the Old Port will be the place to be on Tuesday night. Click here to read more

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Eve in Provence

One of the most beautiful Christmas events in Provence is the pastrage, or shepherds' procession, which traditionally takes place just before midnight on Christmas Eve. Only a handful of villages preserve this tradition - but it is justifiably one of the region's most popular draws. Click here to read more.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Visit an Apartment at Le Corbusier's Radiant City

This modest kitchen might not look like much. But at the time it was utterly revolutionary: a state-of-the-art fitted kitchen designed by Le Corbusier for his trail-blazing, modernist housing complex in Marseille, the Radiant City. Now one of the 337 apartments in this block has just opened to the public for the first time. We went along this week for a press preview. Click here to read more

Monday, December 16, 2013

Michelin-Starred Dining at Marseille Airport

You don't normally expect gourmet food at an airport. And, until recently, the one in Marseille had only a motley selection of the usual fast-food joints of which the most exciting was probably France's first Burger King outlet. But this year a new gastronomic restaurant, Chefs en Provence, opened in Terminal One. Every three months on a rotating basis one of the region's top chefs takes over the supervision of the menu. First up was Michel Portos. And this week another Michelin laureate, Lionel Lévy, takes over the reins. Click here to read more

Friday, December 13, 2013

Drumming in the Midwinter Solstice

Apart from all the Christmas markets and celebrations, things can get a little quiet in Provence at this time of year. But here's a fantastic diary date for the evening of the winter solstice (21 Dec): a free outdoor concert by crack percussions Les Commandos Percus and fireworks show in La Ciotat. Click here to read more

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A New Five-Star Hotel in Aix en Provence

Next month a new five-star hotel, the Renaissance, will open in Aix en Provence. It's located about a five-minute walk from Aix's main tourist area - La Rotonde and the bottom of the Cours Mirabeau - surrounded by the city's stunning cluster of new, architect-designed cultural buildings including Rudy Ricciotti's Pavillon Noir, Kengo Kuma's Conservatory of Music, the Grand Théâtre de Provence and the Cité du Livre.

Like its ultra-contemporary neighbours, The Renaissance is not one of those historic 18th century hôtels particuliers for which Aix is famous but a modern building (it's designed by the Marseille architects Claude Sabin Nadjari and Rémy Saada).

And, also like its neighbours, the hotel is presenting itself as an art hub, with contemporary paintings and sculptures in the public spaces and a promised programme of cultural events featuring visits from local, national and international artists. Click here to read more