La Fête de la Musique d’Aix

There’s no better way to celebrate the summer solstice than dancing around the centre-ville

…not only with amis, but also with a gazillion other strangers.

But, no need to get too claustrophobe because the ville was beyond préparée for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING!

…The ville was even préparée for children…

So, just relax and enjoy the musique because it’s EVERYWHERE!

Musique can be found from the Cours Mirabeau

to Rue d’Italie

to Place des Prêcheurs to Place de la Mairie…like I said: Everywhere!

Even the cafés, restaurants, bistros, brasseries…you name it, partake in the festivities: They set up tables that extend further along the Cours than normal.

Normalement, the fête is held around the 21 or the 22 of Juin, but this year, Aix held the fête on the 24th so as to have enough crowd police patrol. This is the FÊTE that I look forward to every year (aside from Carnaval)! It’s basically a free concert, so, what’s not to love? ♦


Festival: Immobilier & Aménagement Urbain

The first ever Immobilier & Aménagement Urbain Estivale (Summer Festival) was held in Aix from 3 Juin – 5 Juin (2016).

It took place at Les Allées Provençales: Place François Villon and Place de la Rotonde.

There were over 70 booths representing Agences Immobiliers (realtors),

New Home Builders,

Organismes Financiers (Financial), Government Associations,

and Interior Design Supplies/Idées.

This festival also showed future urbain plans for Aix.

There was a lottery game to play that offered 3 types of prizes…Sadly, I lost. But, it was free to play!

With all of these immobilier enterprises and governmental associations laid out at our feet, this festival was the festival parfait for potential buyers, sellers, and renters.

This was the first year for the fest,

so, we’ll just have to wait (a whole year) to see if this festival will be held annuellement. ♦

Chapitre 22: Climbing through the Château in the Comte of Monte Cristo in Marseille, France

Marseille: “C’est sale” (It’s dirty).

Marseille: “It’s The ville (city) of pick-pocketers.”

Marseille: “C’est une ville effrayante” (scary).

These are just a few anecdotes out of all that we were told before making our first memorable trip to Marseille (during my study abroad in Aix in 2012).

Still, these stories and opinions didn’t prevent us from going!

After all, it wasn’t everyday we had the chance to visite a château,

so, we jumped on the Navette and prayed we wouldn’t look like easy targets.

5 Raisons to Comb Through the Château d’If in Marseille:

  • It’s on an îleThe only way to get to the château is by ferry (payant, bien-sûr!). Here’s one way to take a step back in time: (ignoring the moderne ferry ride) Once stepping foot on the île, take the prisonniers walk. 
  • It was a prison. There’s nothing like embracing the past through prison walls marked by anciens prisonniers…and it’s prisonniers mythiques as well. For exemple, Edmond Dantès was contained at d’If in Le Comte de Monte-Cristo by Alexandre Dumas’ (1844). Dumas’ novel gained enormous succès: It was translated around the world and adaptés and/or inspirés into 23 films. There’s even a salle in the château dedicated to these adaptations and stories. 
  • There’s an echo spot on the roof. With easy access to the roof, this spot is a must-try!
  • It’s free for personnes ages 25 and under. Other free tarifs: Passe Éducation (aka TAPIF assistants), Personnes handicapées and his/her accompagnateur, Carte Culture, Carte ICOM, and unemployed personnes with an Attestation from Pôle Emploi (the unemployment agency).
  • There’s a café. First of all, this is France. There Should be a café (it was expected); if there wasn’t, I’d have been déçue. Secondly, there’s no better way to enjoy a glass of vin before the ferry arrives than in front of a Château Médiéval.

QUICK: Practical Information:

  • Ferry costs: 10.80€/round trip (Vieux Portd’If and vice-versa) – Ferry hours for Frioul-If Express (weather permitting) can be found here.
  • Château costs: 5.50€/regular entrée, 4,50€ reduced entrée, free (as previously mentioned) for 25 or younger, Passe ÉducationPersonnes handicapées and his/her accompagnateur, Carte Culture, Carte ICOM, and unemployed personnes with an Attestation from Pôle Emploi (the unemployment agency).
  • Château hours: (weather permitting)  2 Janvier – 3 Avril 10:00-17:00 (daily); 4 Avril – 2 Octobre 10:00-18:00 (daily); 3 Octobre – 21 Décembre 10:00-17:00 (closed on Monday’s)

Le Château d’If isn’t the only thing to do in Marseille.

There’s also the Vieux Port,

The Porte d’Aix,

and the Basilique de Notre Dame de la Garde

– just to name a few…

Marseille is no Aix, but it certainly has quite a lot to offer touristes – juste don’t forget to make a climb up the Château d’If! ♦

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

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 21: Déception in Saint-Tropez, France

Saint-Tropez was an excursion that I took during my studies in Aix.

I had heard so much about Saint-Tropez that when the possibilité of a trip to the ville halted in front of me, I jumped on the occasion to go!

Although I was highly déçue with how little this ville had to offer (it was small, there wasn’t a lot of activités, and the plage (beach) wasn’t crowded at all – I know this should be a plus, but I heard that hoards of vacationers flock to this place…I guess it was off saison?), I was pleased to spend some time basking beneath the soleil.

5 Raisons to Challenge my Déception of Saint-Tropez:

  • The Citadel de Saint-Tropez. It’s quite the hike to the Citadel, but the vue is worth it! 
  • The marché. While my friends and I were taking in the sights and sounds of this petite ville, we came across an Art Deco marché. Certainement, each ville has its fruits/vegetable marché – but, it’s not every day you see an Art Deco marché!
  • Le PortThe port in Saint-Tropez is full of riche-looking yachts, sailboats, and small fishing boats.
  • Église de Notre-Dame de l’AssomptionYou can see its gorgeously warm-colored tour almost anywhere in Saint-Tropez (even at the top of the Citadel). 
  • La Maison des Papillons. Most villes, including Saint-Tropez, have a Musée d’Art/Histoire; however, Saint-Tropez also has a Butterfly Musée!

Saint-Tropez was nothing like I imaginé: It didn’t take long to walk the entire ville – thus, there wasn’t a whole lot to do, either.

But, it’s quite pretty to admire.

Between the volets violets,

and its proximité the côte,

I managed to find some magique to the ville. ♦

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

Chapitre 20: Parfait Scents of Lavande in Eze, France

Eze welcomed me with fresh scents of lavande…but not the kind that you find outdoors.

An ancienne machine used for juicing the aroma from flower pétales.

No, this lavande was from a parfum factory: Fragonard.

After a lovely tour at Fragonard and some parfum and soap purchases,

I décidé to visite the rest of the village.

It was quite a hike to get from Fragonard to the centre-ville,

but we made it!

It was definitely worth the climb!

5 Raisons to Soak up the Lavande in Eze:

  • Fragonard (duh!). This parfumerie offre an exciting tour in many langues – including Anglais (English) – of the factory: It’s histoire, it’s opération and production, as well as an explication of the Nez (Noses) are included on this tour.
  • La mer. Eze is a coastal village! There’s no better way to enjoy the Méditerranée than relaxing on a plage (beach) within reach of wonderful scents of parfum.
  • La Cité Médiévale. Eze was an ancien village Médiévale. Today, ruines of the château can still be seen! 
  • La Grande Corniche. La Corniche (roads made from the montagne cliffs) is composed of 3 routes that lead into the Méditerranée; La Grande Corniche is the most famous of the 3 – and it just happens to make an apparence in Eze. It was even featured in a car chase scène in the James Bond film, Golden Eye!
  • L’Église Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption d’Èze. This quaint, charmante église not only boasts of 18th century architecture but it also offre belles vues of the mer.

Eze may be a village but it’s a Must-See for fans of architecture Médiévale (and parfum, bien-sûr!)!

When in Eze, don’t forget to make some time in-between the parfum and the Médiévale ruines to enjoy the côte. ♦

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