Behind the Scenes in Provence

Provence Confidential has been blogging about restaurant launches, cooking classes, food festivals, Provençal wines and spirits as well as tradition and folklore since 2008.

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Rendez-Vous Jardins

Rendez-Vous Jardins

From June 4-6, 2010 the owners of France's most remarkable gardens (a designation awarded by the Ministry of Culture) open their doors to all garden enthusiasts. Over 1.5 million people are expected to visit the most spectacular gardens in France. There are over 2000 gardens open for the occasion. 50 of them are located in Provence.

Spring Scents

Spring Scents

April 29, 2010 - The 40th Annual Rose Festival welcomes rose growers from around the world to compete for the prizes of most beautiful rose and sweetest smelling rose. From May 13th to 16th, 2010 the city of Grasse, known as the Perfume Capital of the World, will welcome over 14 000 visitors. Last year over 63 000 cut roses were on display throughout the town.

Gastronomic but not astronomic

Gastronomic but not astronomic

April 26, 2010 - The students at the Lycée Hotelier in Marseilles are just like regular high school students except that they obtain a slightly different degree. Math, French, Geography and English all figure on the curriculum along side the culinary arts.

Say Cheese

Say Cheese

May 16, 2010 is the day the village of Banon (Luberon) will be honoring it's delicious goat cheese aptly named Banon.  Made from non-pasteurized whole goat cheese, a Banon has the peculiarity of being delicately wrapped in chestnut leaves before being individually packaged with raffia.

Gourmet Grannies

Gourmet Grannies

Jean-Baptiste Reboul is to Provençal cuisine what Julia Child is to French cooking. Every French person has heard of him the same way every American interested in French food knows about Julia Child.

Not just another cook book

Not just another cook book

Michelin star chef Eric Sapet, La Petite Maison de Cucuron, will be launching his new cook book "Mes Cours de Cuisine" at the FNAC Valentine in Marseilles on May 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm. It’s not just a book signing – it’s a full on cooking demo.

Brunch - à la française

Brunch - à la française

What better way to start your trip to Provence then by having a bite to eat at the elegant landmark restaurant Le Train Bleu  located inside the Gare de Lyon in Paris. The restaurant was built in 1900 for the World Exhibition by PLM (Paris-Lyon-Marseille) which has since become the SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer). It’s a grandiose restaurant serving 500 meals a day.

Marseille Murmurs

Marseille Murmurs

L'Hôtel-Dieu de Marseille was a hospital built just above the Vieux Port in the 12th Century. It underwent several renovations in the 18thC with the introduction of wrought iron works which are still visible today.  A statue of  Jacques Daviel, the eye surgeon who was the first to perform crystalline lens removal in cataract operation at this facility in 1745 stands in front of hospital.

Sushi or not to be

Sushi or not to be

A proposed ban on industrial fishing for blue fin tuna has French, Italian and Spanish fisherman in an uproar. In France the industry concerns over 200 boats and 1000 fisherman most of them based in the city of Sète west of Marseilles.

Le Ferry Boat (Bo-a-te)

Le Ferry Boat (Bo-a-te)

The Vieux Port in Marseille has just inaugurated the new ferry boat which can transport 45 people across the 250 metres that separates one side of the port from the other. This 13m vessel, built in near-by Martigues is a modern replacement for the ferry Cesar which ferried passengers across the port for 55 years. And modern it is – sliding electric doors are powered by solar panels on the roof.

Allez L'OM!

Allez L'OM!

For all those soccer fans there is an exposition marking the 110 anniversary of l’Olympique de Marseille. 11 artists are showing 110 photos of the most important moments in the Club’s history.  The photo exhibit "OM 110 years - the History of the Olympique of Marseilles in 110 pictures"  will be on from February 20 - May 9, 2010 at the Palais des Arts. It has been organised by the Fondation Regards de Provence www.regards-de-provence.org