Free Festivals in Aix: Juin 2016

L’été brings the free (and the payant) fêtes to Aix (FYI l’été starts in Mai: Foire d’Aix, All Bikes Fest…etc…).

La Fête de la Musique Juin 2014.

The  Allées Provençales (the outdoor centre-commercial in Aix) has been working with the ville to host an array of free festivals throughout the year. This Spring – l’été, the mall offre a wide range of free fêtes called Rendez-vous Décallées. Rendez-vous Décallées not only includes festivals but also activités such as treasure hunts, games, and workshops.

This is every Saturday in Juin!

Last week-end (27-28 Mai) was the All Bikes Fest: An expo of US collector cars and bikes.

There were also non-collector cars (unless people have started collecting all Ford marques…).

En réalité, this fest was more of an auto show with an emphasis on US collector cars/bikes as non-US brands were also présentes.

In addition to this auto show, there was a dance school hosting free leçons!

There was also a concert!

Here’s a look at what’s to come this Juin aux Allées Provençales:

  • This week-end (Juin 3-5) is the Salon Immobilier. This is the first year for this estivale (summer fest), which was organisé by SEMEPA (Société d’Economie Mixte d’Equipement du Pays d’Aix), Aix, and the French version of the MLS: le portail d’annonces immobilières. This fest includes the ville‘s projection for urban development, disponible rentals and purchases, and what’s to come in urban conglomeration.
  • Juin 11 is the Euro 2016 Fest. There will be Foosball and bubble ball!
  • Juin 18 is the Journée et Bien- être. It’s a health and wellness day including nail bar, makeup workshops, and shiatsu.
  • Juin 25 is Excel Aix. This fest will include eco-friendly, hybrid, and électrique cars.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in Juin (free** and payant) in Aix (in addition to what’s happening aux Allées Provençales):

  • Juin 3-6 is Côté Vivre Sud. This fest is not free: It costs 10€, 7€ for the reduced fare; it takes place in Parc Jourdan. There are over 250 expos including demonstrations culinaires, taste testing, decorating advice for jardins, and more!
  • Juin 3-6 is also Rendez-Vous aux Jardins.* The cost of this fest dépend on the jardin you visite: Pavillon Vendôme is a free jardin public – the musée will be open and is also free, Bastide de Romégas is a jardin privé and costs 4€/ for âges 10+*, Jardin du château du Seuil is free and offre wine tastings, and Parc de la bastide du Jas de Bouffan is a free jardin public and offre Watergame (interactive art made by the art students at the Ecole Superieure d’Art D’Aix).
  • Juin 5 is Playground Cercle Basket Contest 2016.* This festival focuses on culture urbaine: Hip-hop dance leçons, musique, and urban art (such as graffiti) will be some of the highlights. The basketball contest is being held at Gymnase le Pioline and inscriptions are 20€ per team (buy tickets here)There is a free concert by LEFA de la Sexion d’assaut after the tournaments. *Watching the contest is free; however, participation on a team costs money.
  • Juin 5-6 is the Journées Antiquité Brocant. This festival is free and will be held on the Cours Mirabeau. There will be over 50 expos selling antiquités and various other items, such as books, paintings, tapis, their latest works of art etc…
  • Juin 5 is Quatuor Cadences. This free concert offre musique occidentale and orientale. It will be held at Musée Granet at 16:00.
  • Juin 5 is also the Marché du Livre Ancien et Moderne at Place Hôtel de Ville. Summary: It’s pretty much a book market with all sorts of différents types of books.
  • Juin 6-7 is the Musique de Chambre. This free Mozart inspired concert will be held at the Conservatoire Darius Milhaud at 20h.
  • Juin 11, 18, and 25 is the Marché d’Artistes Peintres et Sculpteurs. This marché will be held at Place de l’Université
  • Juin 10-12 is Festival des Livres, des Stars. This festival costs 5€, though the various celebrity encounters in cafés throughout Aix will be free. This fest is a way for auteurs and animateurs who have published something within the year to promote their works. They do dedications, conférences, and lecteurs.
  • Juin 12 is Les Calades Provençales et les métiers d’art. This festival is free and will take place on the Cours Mirabeau. Included in this festival: Potiers, glassblowers, carpenters, and céramistes from the région. 
  • Juin 24 is la Fête de la Musique. This festival is free. Musique stages will be placed throughout the centre-ville. From several artistes on the Cours Mirabeau to Rue d’Italie to Place du Prêcheurs and so forth…

Aix offre quite a bit of free fun things to do, so, choose one (or all) and have a blast embracing culture Aixoise! ♦

**Free = the entrée to the fest. However, there’s always vendeurs selling something, so, purchases can be made. The payant festivals also offre vendeurs selling stuff.


Foire (aka Festival) d’Aix

Normally, the term foire can be translated as “Flee Market”; however, this foire was more like a festival.

This year (Mai 27, 28, 29 2016), the Foire was held on Esplanade MozartSuper Héros were invited to the Foire; however, sadly, I didn’t see any.

Do you see any Super Héros?

I thought that the booths would be Super Héro themed (I figured there’d be booths of various entreprises who would be creative enough to play with this Super Héro thème), but I was wrong. This was a bit of a disappointment, but it still proved a foire intéressante.

There  were booths from various companies selling n’importe quoi: Anything from soaps…

to wine…

to Navettes were sold at this foire.

There were also booths from companies who were promoting products

…a pipes promotion….?

or activités: Anything from mini golf

to laser tag

to an outdoor labyrinthe were being promoted.

There was also a stage with a host doing animations and games.

The Foire d’Aix was nothing special, but it offre a logical way (logical for the clients – everything was lined up in front of you) for local businesses to promote themselves at the same time to the public.

I hope that this turned out to be great advertising for these businesses. ♦

Chapitre 5 1/2: Images from San Diego, CA

San Diego is quite a lovely city especially with its precious beaches.

And the loveliness is best exprimé through images.

There’s seal and sea lion watching…

Sun basking…

Beach musing…

Naval-ship touring…

House Vacation-rental admiring…

Nice balcons looking at the beach.


and Clubbing…

The clubbing experience is quite différent from that in Chicago – there was less House musique and more Rap.

…just to name a few…

San Diego is a belle ville with relatively mild weather nearly all year round – this makes it a parfait place for a nice, relaxing vacances! 

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Christmas Markets in Aix

Noël is a time to spread good cheer, to help others, and to… SHOP. Sure, Noël is really about the cheer and the kindness, but let’s be réal… the best marchés appear at this time, too, so, SHOP away!

Aix doesn’t hold the title of “best and biggest marchés in France”, but it hosts some pretty damn good marchés during the holidays.

First, there’s le Marché de Noël, or the Christmas Market, which is held on the Cours Mirabeau.

This year (2015), le Marché de Noël was from 18 Novembre until 27 Décembre.

It’s always exciting when the city starts to setup for the le Marché de Noël because that means that churros, pompe à l’huile, and vin chaud, or mulled wine, will arrive soon! It takes the city about a week to setup the chalets along le Cours Mirabeau, but once it’s finished, le Cours becomes a hoppin’ place. They even close off the street to automobiles!

At the same time le Marché de Noël opens, le Foire aux Santons, or Santons’ Market, is in session.

Le Foire aux Santons contains… you guessed it: Santons!

Santons are hand-crafted figurines made of clay. They’re known to be expensive; however, they can be found in nearly every Aixois’ household. For a figurine about 2 inches, it’s about 12 euros. The traditional Aixois(es) have a crèche, or Nativity scene, of Santons despite their religious beliefs. Due to the decline of Christianisme in France (see: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté), the crèche has become more of a tradition rather than a religious emblem.The santons are magnifique – I admire the creators as they put so much effort and detail into each santon. Last year, I bought a small one for mamie, or my grandma, for Noël.

Le Marché de Noël and le Foire aux Santons were in session everyday from 10:00-20:00 (8:00pm). However, these two marchés are not the only marchés, non, there are several other types of marchés that take place throughout Décembre: le Marché International des Villes Jumelles (the International Twin Cities’ Market), le Marché d’Huile d’Olive (the Olive Oil Market), and le Marché des 13 Desserts.

Le Marché International des Villes Jumelles:

This year, le Marché des Villes Jumelles, was from 2 Décembre – 6 Décembre. This marché is différent from other marchés in that it isn’t French. In fact, it contains trinkets from sister cities with Aix.

The cities represented include:

  • Pécs, Hongrie 
  • Carthage, Tunisie 
  • Baalbeck, Liban 
  • Kumamoto, Japon
  • Bath, Royaume Uni (the United Kingdom) 
  • Coimbra, Portugal 
  • Tübingen, Allemagne (Germany) 
  • Pérouse, Italie 
  • Ashkelon, Israël 

There’s also a “food tent” to satisfy your immediate hunger needs.

Le Marché d’Huile d’Olive (aka: La Fête de l’Huile d’Olive):

Le Marché d’Huile d’Olive was from 14 Décembre – 15 Décembre (2015).

 This marché contains exactly what its title describes: olive oil.

I had never seen so much l’huile d’olive in one place…

And it’s not just bottles of the stuff, though the small bottles are just too cute!

There’s chocolat de l’huile d’olive…

mini oliviers (olive trees)…

la Pompe à l’huile (“oil pump” – a cake made of olive oil, fleur d’orange, flour, and sugar)…

and Christmas flower arrangements made from oliviers!

One can also find mulled wine jelly (which has nothing to do with l’huile d’olive, but is still just as cool)!

Le Marché de 13 Desserts:

In the south of France, there’s the 13 Desserts, which refers to Jesus and the 12 disciples at the Last Supper:

  • La pompe à l’huile représente the bread that Jesus broke and served (FYI: the French don’t cut this bread with a knife; they use their hands to break the bread like Jesus did as it’s told in the Bible) 
  • *Les noix ou noisettes (walnuts or hazelnuts) représentent the Augustins
  • *Les amandes (almonds) représentent the Carmélites
  • *Les figues sèches (dried figs) représentent the Franciscains
  • *Les raisins secs (raisins) représentent des the Dominicains
  • Le nougat noir et le nougat blanc représentent good and evil
  • Les dattes représentent Christ who came from the East
  • Les calissons d’Aix représentent Aix-en-Provence and the south of France
  • La pâte de coing (quince cheese) (ou candied fruit) IMG_8047
  • Le melon de Noël (green melon) représentent Noël
  • Les oranges (ou les mandarinesreprésentent the fruit of the saison
  • Les pommes (apples)
  • Les poires (pears)

The 13 Desserts on one plate (the nougat noir is hiding behind the pompe à l’huile).

*These nuts and dried fruit représentent the 4 mendiants because the food matches the colors of the monks’ habits.

All of these marchés are annual. So, be sure to check them out next Noël! ♦