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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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.
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.
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.
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
In May 2009 the European Commission announced that Marseilles would be the European Capital of Culture in 2013. At a recent press conference hosted by the Chambre de Commerce et Industrie Marseille Provence (CCIMP) President Jacques Pfister, announced that La Poste (French Postal Service) was the first official sponsor of the event with 1.5 million Euros. With over 600 individual project proposals submitted Marseilles 2013 is currently recruiting sponsors who can adopt a project.
Or at least in his footsteps by following the big brass studs that are embedded in the sidewalks of Aix en Provence. Drop by the tourism office and ask for the map called "In the steps of Cezanne". The walking tour starts just off the Cours Mirabeau on rue de L’Opera at the place of his birth in 1839 and takes you to various landmarks including his art school which is now the Musee Granet.
Be sure to go Les Halles, the covered market, in Avignon on Sunday February 21, 2010 to celebrate the truffle. Also referred to as the Black Diamond this rare gem will be prepared by 15 of the region's most talented chefs. You can attend one of the demonstrations from 10am - 3 pm. And if you feel like going home with a few of your own you can purchase from the merchants on hand. For more information have a look at www.festiv-halles.com
Each year the Fete de l'Oursin (Sea Urchin Festiva) which is held the first 3 Sundays of February 2010 (7th, 14th , 21st) in the coastal town of Carry-le-Rouet, just west of Marseille, attracts several thousand visitors. The fisherman return to port with boat loads of the key attraction, sea urchins, prickly creatures which are then cut in half and eaten right away.