Images from our September Magazine
Visist to Château La Coste
All events listed are open to all AAGP Members. There is also a large range of regular events and activities to choose from including: French Conversation, Computer Club, Wine Club, Children’s Group, Regional Art and Cultural activities, Restaurant reviews and many more great activities, tips and ideas to help you get the best out of life in Provence! For contact information for any of these events please refer to the AAGP Newsletter or the Members’ section of the website.
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Please note that due to holidays and various other considerations there will be no lunch in Aix in June. The end of season celebration will however be held in July. (See below under ‘Looking Ahead – July’)
There will be no Family ramble in June.
We are invited to have our picnic in the spacious garden of a member's family. Please be aware that there is not a lot of shade in the grounds so, for your comfort, please bring a sunshade, together with chairs or blankets to sit on or if you have folding picnic tables, even better.
The group will provide wines, beer and soft drinks and bread, together with chicken and chipolatas for the BBQ…which means we need a few volunteers for setting up and cooking! So come on you men! Please bring your own BBQ tools if you are keen to help.
When you contact me to add you to the list, let me know how many of you are in your family and what you can bring, either something to accompany the meats or instead a dessert. A platter for 6-8 people would be perfect. By all means bring something for your family if they prefer not to eat meat. Looking forward to many of you coming to a very popular family event before we break up for summer. Contact Jan.
Please note new day shared with the AAGP library! This is an open session for all.
Contact Michel or Trevor.
Please contact Nicole to tell her if you are going.
In June, we are going northwest into the Vaucluse to Lourmarin to experience the one star restaurant of Reine Sammut, Auberge La Fenière.
The plus beaux village of Lourmarin is well worth an early start to explore the upscale Friday market and have time for a walk around the village and the shops before lunch. This is also the last home and resting place of Albert Camus.
La Fenière is located in a green park facing the Grand Luberon. The Chef Reine Sammut’s specialties include fêves et asperges vertes au jus de truffe noire, rapé de truffe de printemps, loup de Méditerranée à la vapeur de coriandre, jeunes pousses d’épinards et bouquet de brocoli, millefeuille à la vanille et crême glacée à la Chartreuse.
The Menu du Marché at 50 € includes starter, main course, dessert and glass of wine.
The drive from Aix is about 1 hour, and parking is available at the restaurant.
I hope to see you there for a beautiful afternoon in the garden, enjoying sumptuous food and engaging conversation.
Please email me by 2nd June, if you are able to come.
For your summer planning, the Gourmet Club lunch dates are July 4th, August 1st and September 5th.
I will send emails to the Foodie address group with the restaurant details closer to the lunch dates.
In order to allow members to attend both the very popular monthly Book Discussion Group and the final Excursion organised by our wonderful Excursion Committee, the Group will meet on the second Wednesday of the month instead of the usual second Thursday.
Beth will be presenting ‘The Dirty Life’ by Kristin Kimball. The author wrote: "This book is the story of the two love affairs that interrupted the trajectory of my life: one with farming—that dirty, concupiscent art—and the other with a complicated and exasperating farmer."
Kimball was born in 1971, and grew up in central New York. She graduated from Harvard in 1994, then moved to New York City, where she worked at a literary agency, taught creative writing, and freelanced for magazines and travel guides. Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him. ‘The Dirty Life’ is the captivating chronicle of their first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through the following harvest season—complete with their wedding in the loft of the barn.
Kimball and her husband had a plan: to grow everything needed to feed a community. It was an ambitious idea, a bit romantic, and it worked. Essex Farm offers a year-round, full diet, free choice membership.
“We produce grass-fed beef, pastured pork, chicken, eggs, fifty different kinds of vegetables, milk, grains and flour, fruit, herbs, maple syrup, and soap. Members come to the farm on Fridays, from 3pm to 7pm, and take what they need for the week, in any quantity or combination they choose. We sometimes limit scarce items, like maple syrup or the year’s first tomatoes, but most food is available on an all-you-can-eat basis. Members are encouraged to take extra produce during the growing season for freezing or canning, to supplement what is available from the root cellar during winter and early spring. In addition to food, we offer members the opportunity to hike the farm, visit fields and animals, and join us as volunteers for harvest and field work.”
The work is done by nine draft horses instead of tractors, ten full-time farmers and three tractors and the fertility comes from compost. They are powered by fifteen solar panels. Kimball’s vivid descriptions of landscape, food, cooking—and marriage—are irresistible.
"As much as you transform the land by farming," she writes, "farming transforms you." In her old life, Kimball would stay out until four a.m., wear heels, and carry a handbag. Now she wakes up at four, wears Carhartts, and carries a pocket knife. They founded Essex Farm together in 2004 – the world’s first full-diet CSA, “as far as we know – and I’ve been professionally dirty ever since. Mark and I have two daughters, and I have three great jobs: mother, farmer, writer.”
Since the publication of ‘The Dirty Life’, she has written for O Magazine about what it’s like to change your life completely; for Vogue on physical work, and for Gourmet Live on all sorts of farm and food related subjects.
Everybody who has an interest in organic farming, changing their lifestyle completely, food and love will enjoy ‘The Dirty Life’.
You are welcome with all kinds of food. Let me know before June 10th and try to carpool from Aix.
Please come with book title suggestions for the next season.
Hope to see you all on June 11th for the Ciné Club meeting.
We’ll be showing:
‘The Longest Day’ (1962) Directors: Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton
Starring: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Richard Burton
The events of D-Day on the Normandy beaches, told on a grand scale from both the Allied and German points of view.
Remember, the Ciné Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month in the library, as well as an evening date in Aix to be communicated by the beginning of the month.
June, last month of the school year already!
The craft club is starting slowly but we have great expectations and projects and even a craft fair one day. Many of us would like to learn how to create something with their own hands and therefore have something personal to offer to a friend or a loved one. It is so rewarding and detressing, sometimes therapeutic.
You think that you are not good with your hands, you would be surprising yourself!
If you have a certain knowledge of a craft, don’t be shy. You don’t need to be a professional to transmit your know-how. I have learned ‘kirigami’ (Japanese art of cutting paper) on my own on internet. Of course sometimes we will need a professional to teach us something like upholstery, stained glass or pottery.
We think it is better not to have a set day and a set place to do our craft. The person who will be showing us or teaching us will decide on the date and the place. If you have no place, let us know, we will organise it for you. Certain realisations can be done in one morning or one afternoon but most of the time it will take a full day or several days to learn.
Two days are organised in June which will be the last month before we start again in September or October when we may start how to make pottery.
Wednesday11th June: visit of Agnes’ stained glass and sculpture workshop in Carnoux. Picnic at Marcelle’s workshop, also in Carnoux. She will teach us how to make a 3D card. She usually charges 5€ and provides or sells basic supplies.
Tuesday 24th June: at my place and we will show you how to make earrings or bracelets and how to repair your jewellery. We will also show you how to make kirigami. Please let me know as soon as possible if you will attend.
A Liberating Experience, overlooking Toulon: Musée du débarquement en Provence
For the very last event organised by this Excursion Committee, we are going out, not just with a bang, but with an entire battle.
June marks the 70th anniversary of the famous Operation Overlord D-Day landings, in Normandy.
Less well-known is the story of the southern thrust of the liberation – Operation Dragoon was launched on 15th August 1944.
It was a controversial plan – Eisenhower was convinced it was vital to free up the ports of Toulon and Marseille to help send supplies to Allied troops in the north, but Churchill was vehemently opposed, even threatening to quit over it – feeling it was a waste of vital military resources, particularly by diverting troops from successful Italian operations. (Hence its name – he felt he was ‘dragooned’ into it…)
Fed with information from the Resistance (who also aided by destroying key communication points) forces from the US, UK, Canada, the Free French and many French colonies combined to storm the beaches of Cavalaire, St Tropez and St Raphaël. Boats, planes, gliders and paratroops descended and started the drive to liberate the key ports and push their way northwest to Avignon and upwards…
The tiny museum dedicated to telling this story is run on a shoestring, by French war veterans. This is no multi-million glossy MuCEM. It’s a bit tatty and faded, but since it also serves as a memorial, it has a touching soul – and is packed with interesting exhibits which will fascinate members who are interested in local and world history.
It starts with a few rooms dedicated to the main actors: i.e. the different national militaries involved, then a room showing the preparations for the landings, followed by the drama of the landings themselves, recorded in photographs, with many weapons and maps – finishing with a well-put-together film.
They do not have guides – but we’re providing our own. Peter Curd, a keen military historian, has thrown himself into researching this whole episode, and will take us through the dramatic events, starting on the roof of the museum, where we get the general orientation of the local geography with a 360° magnificent sweeping panorama over the port 600m below, the far lying islands and headlands, and rugged mountains behind.
To add to the drama, we will be whisked to the top of Mont Faron by a cable car, which gradually unfolds all the glorious views.
After such an invigorating morning you will be ready for lunch. There are three options: the Restaurant Panorama, at the top of the téléphérique - its terraces have some of the best views in our region; or there’s a second café next to the gift shop; or, alternatively, the area is made for a June picnic – there are scattered benches - or bring your cushions and rugs, and enjoy the shade of the Aleppo pines, and the glorious panoramas.
Please note that this tour involves quite a bit of walking, and lots of steps, so is DEFINITELY only for the hale and hearty. Wear sensible footwear. Cost: 10 € per person: to include the cable cars, the museum and extra expenses involved with revisiting and further researching this project.
To reserve, please contact me. Details will follow.
N.B. The cable cars can’t function safely in a mistral – so, just in case, we have a fallback date of 19th June. When you contact me I’ll need to know availability for both dates. We will keep, as usual, a Wait List, just in case.
We have yet another new venue for our summer pot luck, in the countryside very close to Mont Ste Victoire in Bernard`s country home. We shall be able to lunch outside under shady terraces and even if (perish the thought) it rains a little we will still stay dry!
Please contact me as soon as you can and wherever possible try to organise a carpool to make parking easier.
I will contact you nearer the time to plan our menu…I feel some delicious mixed salads coming to mind!
The play readers will continue their long tradition (started last year!) of spending a sunny Saturday afternoon in June in the garden entertaining each other with their individual theatrical selection.
Please email if you wish to participate.
Venue: Côte Bleue
Niolon is a little village on the coast just off the D5 between le Rove and Carry-le-Rouet. We will start our hike from here taking the coastal footpath towards Méjean, which is another charming village. Somewhere along the way, according to weather conditions etc., we will stop for our picnic lunch, and (maybe) enjoy some bathing. Bring the necessary food, drinking water, and sun protection, and wear proper hiking gear. The path is not difficult and altitude changes are insignificant. A t Méjean there is a bar where we can have beverages, and after that we will return to Niolon via the same route. Total hiking time will amount to 4 hours approx.
For any further information please call Roderick.
This month’s book is ‘Sane New World’ by Ruby Wax. Please contact Lydia to confirm attendance.
September’s book is ‘No Great Mischief’ by Alistair MacLeod.
Joins us for a rdv for a coffee in the Terrasse du Port and shopping in this new commercial centre overlooking the port and the sea! More details once you sign up as the Terrasse weren't open at the time of writing. They are due to open 24th May! See May magazine for article.
Doubtless many of you are familiar with Chateau La Coste but it is not the only vineyard in Provence with art by world-renowned artists. Karen Wildau has investigated The Commanderie de Peyrassol near Brignoles on behalf of the Arts Club, which combines a selection of wines, red, white and rose, in vineyards dating back to the 13th century on lands steeped in history, not the least of which involves the legendary stories of the Templars and the Knights of Malta. But wine is not all there is at the Commanderie.
What really interests the Arts Club is the vineyard, which boasts a wonderful sculpture park with pieces by over forty artists, including Jean Dubuffet, Frank Stella, Niki de Saint Phalle, Victor Vaserely and Bernard Venet. If you google Peyrassol, you will find details and photos on its history, art and wine.
On Saturday, June 21, we will visit the vineyard and walk through the vines amongst these wonderful sculptures. We plan to meet at 10:00 sharp. We cannot find any information on the website about cost; it may be free but don't count on this. Those of you who are interested can try the wine as well, which seems to cost between nothing and 5€, according to how many wines you sample.
We are told there is a pleasant and reasonable restaurant with limited space in Forlqualqeiret, just 12k from Brignoles for those of you who wish to have lunch after the visit. There are menus at 19/24/29€:
Auberge des Tuileries, Rondpoint des Tuileries, 83136 Forcalqueiret; 04 94 86 60 71.
Please phone the restaurant early to make a reservation for 12:30hrs and let Gillian know if you are coming to Peyrassol only and if you have made a reservation for the restaurant. Also we need to know if you have spare space in your car for passengers or whether you need a lift.
See previous entry under Wednesday 11th June.
19:00 – 22:30hrs
MIDSUMMER PARTY, pot luck, apero food fiesta style, at the CHATEAU, on 28th June at 19:00 – 22:30hrs. A small charge of 10€ per person, for wine and music, will be charged. See inside this magazine for directions and booking.
Looking Ahead: July
The Arts Club is returning to the Marignane Cultural Centre to see a retransmission of Covent Garden's new production by Jonathan Kent of Puccini's ‘Manon Lescaut’ with Jonas Kaufmann (now considered by many to be the greatest tenor in the world) and Kristine Opolais, the brilliant new Latvian soprano,who has recently appeared at La Scala, Vienna and the Met. The New York Post, after her performance as Mimi in La Boheme, wrote "Here's hoping the Met's brilliant new songbird migrates back to New York very soon."
Tickets will cost between 14 and 16€, according to numbers and there are excellent refreshments in the interval at very modest prices. To remind you, this is an easy place to find and park.
Please contact Gillian if you want to come, and/or if you need a lift.
For your summer planning, the Gourmet Club lunch date is July 4th. I will send emails to the Foodie address group with the restaurant details closer to the lunch date.
‘Van Gogh Live!’is the inaugural exhibition of the Vincent van Gogh Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the work and legacy of van Gogh’s work in Arles.
The AAGP Arts Club is organizing a group visit at 11:00hrs on Wednesday 9th July 2014. The exhibition explores the painter's impact on contemporary artists and the legacy of his 15 turbulent months in Arles. The theme, ‘Colours of the North, Colours of the South’ refers to the artist’s journey from “his sombre-coloured life in Holland and northern France to his joyous immersion in the colour and light of Provence”.
Twelve Van Gogh paintings are on display, a number, including his superb ‘Self Portrait’ and ‘The Yellow House’ where he lived and worked in Arles, are on loan from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Lynne Alderson touches the nerve: “How sad for Arles that his home was destroyed during the bombing in 1944.” in her excellent blog (http://aixcentric.com). The exhibition includes works by Courbet, Pissarro, Monet and Monticelli, who influenced van Gogh, as well as a fine sequence of Japanese prints, very different in style, but with a major effect on the Impressionists.
The date was chosen to coincide with ‘Rencontres d'Arles’ (the largest photographic exhibition in Provence, if not France) which opens on 7th July 2014 and includes works by David Bailey, Martin Parr and Vik Muniz. Every evening during the opening fortnight ‘Les Rencontres’ organise open air night projections at the Roman Theatre “when a photographer or a photography specialist presents photographs sometimes accompanied by a concert or performances, focusing on a different subject”.
The Arts Club plan is to
1. Get a group of about 20 for the Van Gogh Foundation 11:00hrs visit in order to qualify for the guided tour; (entry and guided tour: 6€; normal entry: 7€ - now that’s a deal!);
2. Suggest a restaurant where those who wish to dine together can reserve;
3. Spend the afternoon visiting ‘Rencontres’ of choice.
If you are interested or have further questions please email Dympna before 15th June 2014.
At the beginning of July an email will be sent to everyone who has signed up, so those who need lifts or wish to car share can contact each other.
Come and join us for a celebratory end of year lunch at one of the best hotel restaurants in Aix. Lunch is usually served outside in summer on the shady terrace overlooking the lovely gardens. Space is likely to be limited so please contact me to book your place. Looking forward to seeing you.
I am always searching for new venues, so if you have a favourite place that you would like to share or if you would like to organise a lunch, please let me know.
20:00hrs ‘til late
THE COTTON CLUB
DATE: Friday July 11th
TIME: after dinner, eight ‘til late
To comply with local city ordinances there will be NO PUBLIC drinking or gambling.
DRESS CODE: Black and white, a dash of red and a sprinkle of diamonds!
MUSIC: Lounge Jazz
Chips issued on the night and redeemed on the night .
Highest scorer takes all...no cash given or returned.
Try your luck at Roulette, Blackjack, Pontoon (vacancies for experienced croupiers)
Strictly for fun...the stakes are high.
We respectfully request that all side arms are surrendered at the door.
Chauffeurs avoid the moonshine please!
There will be an entrance fee of 10€.
For information, and entrance password contact us.
We are invited yet again to join our members in their lovely garden for another warm summer party. No doubt there will be some singing and dancing as music plays a big part in John`s life.
You may wish to bring your swimming gear too as the pool is always lovely and warm and a Jacuzzi alongside (with music!) is just waiting for you. What more can I say….except to get in touch. We will talk food nearer the time.
Terence Rattigan’s 1936 ‘French Without Tears’ will be our July play. Suffice to say that the play is set in a cram school for adults needing to acquire French for business reasons …
The play reading will start at 14:00hrs on Monday 21st July 2014
Please email if you wish to attend so that the parts can be distributed.
Looking Ahead: August
The Arts Club hopes to organise a guided tour in English of Les Chefs-d'oeuvre de la Collection Pearlman, Cezanne et la Modernite opening at the Musée Granet. Again, please contact Gillian for full information, or look out for an announcement on the One List.
Every Thursday in July and August some of us will be meeting for language morning coffee 10:00hrs to 11:30hrs. Both Marietta and I will try to go as often as possible but there will be quite a few weeks neither of us will be able to make it. Have a good holiday!
Another month, another pool! A fitting venue for ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’, Bertolt Brecht’s controversial play within a play? Brecht always provokes discussion: will this gel with a languid sunny afternoon’s laze in a Provencal garden?
Looking Further Ahead
Bringing the plays of the National Theatre of London to Aix - watch this magazine in future issues.
Because of publication deadlines, Karen has written this article prospectively. By the time you read it, the Arts Club hopes to have had our first of many showings of filmed broadcasts of the plays of the National Theatre. The first transmission, of the play War Horse, was held in the new Renaissance Marriott Hotel in Aix's conference center, on May 18th with English tea afterwards.
If this experiment is as successful as we expect, we plan to continue such showings throughout the year. Karen has established an excellent relationship with the hotel's management. Tentatively we hope to arrange for ‘One Man, Two Governors’ (the NT's comedy hit throughout the world) to be shown in August and Peter Morgan's new play about the Queen, ‘The Audience’ with Helen Mirren for September, as well as ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’, and two great Shakespearean productions of ‘King Lear’ and ‘Othello’ in the future. All these plays have been hugely successful in London.
We will keep you posted either in the monthly magazine or on the One List. If you are not on the One List and would like to be notified of NT productions, then please email Gillian and indicate whether you are interested in NT productions only or whether you would like to hear about all AAGP Arts Club projects.
For your summer planning, the Gourmet Club lunch dates are August 1st and September 5th. I will send emails to the Foodie address group with the restaurant details closer to the lunch dates.
As well as all the specials listed above, don’t forget the Regular Activities that offer new skills, fun and friendship all year round. Contact details are in your yellow Members’ List book.
Monday (fourth): Play Reading Group 14:00hrs
Tuesday: Bridge 14:00hrs
Tuesday (after the board meeting, usually the first): Computer Club 10:00hrs-11:30hrs
Wednesday (second): Ciné Club 10:30hrs
Thursday: Coffee (Croquemitoufle) 10:00hrs-11:30hrs
Friday: French (Aix) 9:45hrs - 11:45hrs
Saturday: Coffee (Croquemitoufle) 10:00hrs-11:30hrs
Sunday (first): Pétanque 10:30hrs