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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This month we are going north into the Luberon, for a change, and to be ahead of the crowds who will arrive later in the spring and summer, and to enjoy a recommendation by Ester.
La Bastide is built on the 12th C ramparts at the heart of the perched village, one of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages of France’. The views down over the village and of the Vaucluse Plateau are spectacular. The Chef specializes in fine Provençal cuisine.
Take time to stroll around the village, stop in the church, enjoy the views. Gordes is really a special place.
The Menu du Marché at 39€ includes starter, main course, dessert and a glass of wine.
The drive from Aix is about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Very limited parking is available in front of the restaurant. The best parking is at the parking area before La Bastide, on the curve as you come into the Village from Coustellet. The other options are the parking lots farther up the road, at the Chateau, and up beyond the hospital. You'll need to allow extra time to walk back from the parking area.
I hope to see you there for the fantastic views, wonderful food and gracious service. Please email me by 31st March, if you are able to come.
We still have plenty of room for members or non-members to join in the evening’s fun. I have three teams looking for either one or two people, so if you can’t form your own team then come and join another group.
There is a change this year, we shall have teams of six and each team should be ideally, but not necessarily, a mixture of different nationalities. If you want to enter your own team of six then do so, but we always have teams looking for additional members, so we can accommodate anyone, somewhere. The quiz itself will carry on in the original format, with teams marking each other’s answers; this still seems to be the best method. Again this year, I’m preparing a much shorter general quiz with the intention to finish at a civilised hour. As is normal, there’ll be prizes for the first three, the inevitable wooden spoons for the last placed and maybe your photo in the magazine.
The cost of the evening is again 25€ per person, which will include a choice of two main courses (one fish and one meat) and two desserts, wine à volonté from the start of the quiz, coffee and of course the prizes. Vegetarian meals are available, also soft drinks for those who prefer not to drink alcohol. Please call me to put your names, or teams on the list.
Further details and directions will be given when reserving, but if you want to ask any further questions then please give me a call.
We have a good selection of pleasant circuits that we can do from our meeting point. There are no steep hills and dotted along the pathways are signs showing the kind of wildlife we may spot. There’s a great viewpoint too overlooking l’Etang de Berre, Vieille Vitrolles and the surrounding countryside.
We aim to set off at 11 sharp, walk, picnic and walk some more. Please wear suitable clothing and good footwear. Well-behaved dogs are most welcome too.
It is not necessary to sign up for the ramble, but if you need a lift please phone Chris a few days before.
Should the weather be doubtful, please call us for confirmation of the ramble taking place. If you have any queries call us too.
10:00 - 11:15hrs
This is an open forum for anyone to come along with their computer issues or questions, so come along and we shall do our best to help you. Contact Michel or Trevor.
Hope to see you on April 9th for the Ciné Club meeting. We’ll be showing one of our favorite films, ‘Now Voyager’ (1942) starring Bette Davis & Paul Henreid.
Bette Davis magically plays Charlotte Vale, a spinster from one of Boston’s wealthiest families, who defies her domineering mother to discover love, heartbreak and eventual contentment. For the ultimate in romantic melodrama, it’s ‘Now Voyager’, now, then and forever!
See you then.
Remember the Ciné Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month as well as an evening date in Aix to be communicated by the beginning of the month.
We will discuss ‘Trois Femmes puissantes’ by the Prix Goncourt 2009 winner, Marie NDiaye.
“NDiaye was born in Pithiviers, France, less than a hundred kilometers south of Paris, to a French mother and a Senegalese father. …She began writing at the age of 12. As a senior in high school, she was discovered by Jerome Lindon, founder of the ‘Editions de Minuit’, who published her first novel, ‘Quant au riche avenir’. After her first novel she wrote a further six novels, all published by Minuit, and a collection of short stories. She also wrote her Comédie Classique, a two-hundred-page novel made up of a single sentence, which was published by POL when she was 21 years old.
As well as writing novels, NDiaye has written a number of plays and a screenplay. ‘Papa doit manger’ is only the second play by a female writer to be taken into the repertoire of the Comédie française.
In 2009 NDiaye was the inadvertent cause of a national furor when a member of the French Parliament, responding to an interview in which she’d called the Sarkozy government “monstrous”, suggested in an open letter to the culture minister that Goncourt laureates should be required to “respect national cohesion and the image of our country” or else remain silent. What most disturbed people about this outburst — coupled as it was with the Sarkozy government’s increasingly ham-¬fisted policies on inner-city policing and the expulsion of immigrants — was what they saw as its unspoken assumption that as a black woman of African parentage, NDiaye should have to prove herself deserving in a way that would never be demanded of white male laureates.” (Wikipedia).
The expectation — whether menacing or well meaning — that NDiaye should “represent” multiracial France, or be considered a voice of the French African diaspora, has often dogged her. In fact, as NDiaye is at pains to make clear, she scarcely knew her Senegalese father, who came to France as a student in the 1960s and returned to Africa when she was a baby. Raised by her French mother — a secondary school science teacher — in a housing project in suburban Paris, with vacations in the countryside where her maternal grandparents were farmers, NDiaye describes herself as a purely French product, with no claim to biculturalism but her surname and the color of her skin. Nonetheless, the absent father — charismatic, casually cruel, voraciously selfish — haunts NDiaye’s fiction and drama, as does the shadow of a dreamlike Africa in which demons and evil portents abound, where the unscrupulous can make overnight fortunes and, with another turn of the wheel, find themselves rotting in a jail cell.
In ‘Three Strong Women’, these recurring themes have become more explicit. The novel consists of three loosely linked narratives. In the first, Norah, a lawyer raised in France by a single mother, is summoned to Dakar by her Senegalese father, only to find that the cool, elegant, self-made millionaire of her youth is now a broken-down old slob who wants her to untangle the murderous family mess he has gotten himself into. In the final section, we follow the fortunes of Khady Demba, whom we first encountered as a nursemaid caring for Norah’s father’s most recent batch of children. Khady, now a childless widow who has been cast out by her late husband’s family, finds herself joining the thousand-mile death march of clandestine migrants seeking to reach European shores. The novel’s original title, which might more literally be translated as ‘Three Powerful Women’, contains a gentle irony that’s lost in the English version. NDiaye’s heroines are, on the face of it, singularly powerless — not only were these women raised in poverty, each, “after years of austerely constructing an honorable existence” for herself, is in the process of having that life ripped apart by the folly of narcissistic family members. And yet, NDiaye shows us, each woman retains a saving core of humanity — an indestructible reserve of love, common sense or even self-mockery — that’s incomprehensible to the fathers, husbands or in-laws who are putting them at risk.
I thought we should read a French novel and, because we are all strong women, we will have a lively discussion about the multicultural attitude in France. If you would like to come and enjoy our excellent food, please let Michele or me know. There is only room for 12 members, so make sure you sign in early.
10:00 – 16:00hrs
During the cabaret night we found out that many of us have different talents. With the craft club we want to find out who has talent and who wants to pass it on to others. It could be jewelery, scrapbooking, stained glass, embroidery, sewing, knitting, upholstery, tapestry, pâte a sel, painting etc... We would like to meet every 2 weeks on Friday or sometimes on Tuesday or Saturday. If possible, it could be at the place of the person who is going to teach us her skill.
I will start by showing you how to make a beautiful ‘tableau en carton mousse’, all that is needed is the ‘carton mousse’, which I will provide. Bring small pieces of material and a cutter. To have an idea of what it is all about, you can have a look on internet “créer un cadre en carton mousse”.
We will meet at my house Friday 11th and Friday 25th April from 10:00 to 16:00hrs. Bring your picnic.
Please let me know if you are interested.
14:00 – 16:00hrs
For more information, please see the main article in the Children’s News section of the magazine.
Yes, we know that we said our February excursion would be the last one, but circumstances change!
The original excursion for April sadly had to be cancelled so the fact that Jo and Anne were interested in going to the above exhibition and then found that the AAGP Arts group were also considering this venue, made a joint collaboration in everyone’s interest!
Maybe you are amongst those of us whose appreciation of modern art stops somewhere around Picasso’s Blue Period when he was painting things that were recognizable. Or maybe you are a committed lover of cubism/Dadaism/fauvism/surrealism etc. Either way, this exhibition is for you. There are 80 painters and 150 paintings on show with works on the theme of the representation of the human face from early XXcentury to today. Billed by the Vieille Charité centre as “the cultural event of 2014”!
We have decided that an English speaking guide is essential to lead us through the mazes of modern art and we are lucky enough to have secured the services of our favourite guide, Sylvie, who has done the last two Marseille excursions for us.
Now, the Vieille Charité and prestigious painters don’t come cheap so the visit (entrance charge and guide) will cost 16 – 17€ each, depending on how many we are. So we are planning lunch afterwards at a nearby restaurant which will be simple and not expensive.
With no idea how many of you are going to join us on this artistic exploration, we ask you to confirm your presence by Saturday 12th April, latest. After this date, we decide if the visit goes ahead or not and assuming it does, we ask all participants to pay up even if they have to cancel later.
Please contact Jo or Anne to sign up for this.
We will meet on the car park, and proceed from there by car to the Col de Sormiou.
We will hike from the Col de Sormiou taking the path to Podestat where we will have our picnic lunch, and then do a return trip following a different itinerary. Count about 4 hours hiking in all and a change of altitude of about 200 metres. There are no particular difficulties but at two points it is necessary to hold on to a chain in order to progress. Please wear proper hiking gear and bring enough food and water.
For any further information please call Roderick.
15:00 - 16:30 hrs
Come and join us for lunch at one of our favourite restaurants tucked away between the lively market in the place des Prêcheurs and the law courts in the middle of Aix. Hopefully, weather permitting, we will be eating outside in the shade of a large plane tree. The food is traditional Provençal and there is always a signature millefeuille for dessert and possibly even a starter!
Space is likely to be limited so please contact me by Tuesday 22nd April to book your place. Looking forward to seeing you. If you have a favourite place that you would like to share or would like to organise a lunch, please let me know.
The April play will be Noël Coward’s well known ‘Private Lives’ a 1930 three-act comedy of manners. The fun begins when a divorced couple discover that they are staying in adjacent rooms at the same hotel, while honeymooning with their new spouses.
Last year’s London West End revival starring Anna Chancellor and Toby Stephens (Maggie Smith’s son) was staged in the theatre next door to our March play ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’.
The reading will start at 14:00hrs on Monday 28th April 2014 (later this month due to Easter).
Please email if you wish to attend so that the parts can be distributed.
Looking Ahead: May
I am always on the lookout for new venues and Mandy and Richard, both new members to the group, are very keen to host a Pot Luck for us and we thank them very much for this. We hope to have our apero outside on the terrace but will be eating inside. Numbers are limited so do please reserve early. Contact Jan .
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