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? ♦

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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.

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.

A Taste of Culture Japonaise at the Japan Expo Sud

It was a beau, brillant, and sun-filled day at Parc Chanot in Marseille. 

It was The almost-parfait day to wait 45 minutes in the line outside (despite having pre-ordered tickets online); the Mistral was at its peak. I was thankful to have put my hair into pigtails despite the fact that I must’ve looked like a 12-year old. At least my hair didn’t end up all snarled.

But, I fit in with this style, for I was at the Japan Expo Sud.

The Japan Expo Sud was a beau mixture of Japanese (or Japanese inspired) manga

(and animé, of course)

Full Metal Alchemist will always be my favorite animé.

and culture Japonaise.

Tanabata inspired Wish Trees.

5 Things That Définissent a Japan Expo:

  • Japanese (and Japanese inspired) manga and animé.
  • Cosplay…

            

(Even the vendeurs tap into the cosplay marché)

                  

…and Scooby Doo…?

It must also be noted that whatever animated film/show (and even anything science-fiction) that was just released within the year (Japonais or not) will be displayed in one way or other at the Expo. Exemples: Star Wars; Deadpool…

Even vendeurs tapped into the marché.

…and the Lord of the Rings, which wasn’t released in 2016, but oh well, everyone likes a cool sword/dagger.

Oh, look! There’s Aragorn.

Though, I’m still baffled about how Scooby Doo fits into all of this…but, I love Scooby, so, I approve!

  • Japanese (inspired) sports…

          

…and board games.

Mahjong.

  • Author signings and présentations.

L’autographe and dédicace from Reno Lemaire!

Reno Lemaire, auteur of Dreamland.

Reno Lemaire, auteur of Dreamland (Lemaire set the stage for French manga authors) .

  • Onigiri…

   

    

…and Rainbow Rice Cakes.

  • Old vidéo game consoles… 

    Oh look…there’s Scooby!

    …and des jeux vidéos.

Super Mario Duck Hunt.

Street Fighter.

The Japan Expo Sud fulfilled my taste of culture Japonaise…for the day.

All I need to do now is go to Japon (and maybe my love of culture Japonaise will be fulfilled for the year…).

Ma famille-outing at the Japan Expo Sud was quite a last-minute-but-super-awesome décision.

Next time, we will dress in full costume (on vous jure ! We swear!). ♦