24 June 2017

Peiresc in Aix-en-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône (13)



Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, commonly simply known as Peiresc as on this monument by the cathedral in Aix-en-Provence, was born in Belgentier in the adjoining département of Var (83), and died in Aix. He was a polymath, most noted as a scientist, a writer, astronomer and collector of art. He drew the first map of the moon based on telescopic observations.

Artistic sexual organs, Aix-en-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône (13)


The reason, the inspiration, the history, in fact nothing to my knowledge is known about this artwork in Aix-en-Provence, rue Espariat: just a whim, er, cocking a snook?

Blaise Cendrars in Aix-en-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône (13)


'DANS CETTE MAISON
L'ÉCRIVAIN
BLAISE CENDRARS
1887 – 1961
A VÉÇU DE JUILLET 1940
A JANVIER 1949'

War correspondant for the English army in 1939, Cendrars lived in Aix until moving to Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Paul Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône (13)


The bronze medallion portrait of Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) in Aix-en-Provence (the town of his birth) was designed by Auguste Renoir and given to the town by art dealer Ambroise Vollard in 1926.




'ICI REPOSE
PAUL CÉZANNE'

'Je vais au paysage tous les jours, les motifs sont beaux et je passe aussi mes journées plus agréablement au'autre part.'

There are other interesting people buried in St Pierre cemetery, among them François Zola, the engineer father of Émile. A machine at the cemetery entrance is designed to tell an inquirer where any body lies, although it seems to be written in code, and even though the approximate area is evident from the code, the cemetery divisions are so badly marked (or rather unmarked) that anyone looking for a particular grave is doomed to defeat. Even the map of the cemetery outside doesn't show the divisions but merely the outline of the cemetery and a number of totally unhelpful crosses. So, the only thing of course is to ask the person in charge. Uh-uh: we went there last Sunday (July 23) and the person in charge was far more than helpful: in fact he was extremely rude when we asked him about the code, and he even claimed that Zola wasn't buried there: well, no, of course not, if you're talking about Émile. Only, François Zola is buried here, and we would have expected some help in finding him. We've visited literally hundreds of cemeteries in the world, but this must be the worst.

To end on a positive note, it was a joy to see this swallowtail butterfly in the cemetery.

21 June 2017

Jean Moulin in Ménerbes, Vaucluse (84)

It's good that a garden has been dedicated to Résistance hero Jean Moulin in the village of Ménerbes itself. I can't say I understand the attraction of the village itself though: crowds of tourists flock here, even coaches, and it's quite crowded wandering around the ancient streets. But then, it's been named one of the most beautiful villages in France, and oh, Peter Mayle (the guy largely responsible for Provence being such a tourist trap) stayed here once. No, I've never read any of his books, and definitely never will.

Le musée du Tire-bouchon, Ménerbes, Vaucluse (84)


The museum shop, which also includes exhibits, prepares the visitor for things to come.


A self portrait of Alexis Grimou (1678–1733) is the first exhibit which greets the museum visitor, and is one of the first pictorial representations of the corkscrew.


The 'Rotary Eclipse' bar corkscrew.


French corkscrew.


English corkscrew.


Decorative corkscrews.


Popeye corkscrew, Sweden 1937.




Corkscrew given by Jean-Claude Brisville, the author of the play Le Souper.


German left-handed corkscrew.


Late 19th century French revolver corkscrew with a different worm from the original.




US Syroco corkscrew called 'The Waiter'.


US Red Devil bottle opener and corkscrew.


These two remind me of a priapic and semi-priapic Manneken-pis of Brussels, but what of that corkscrew in the background?


It goes without saying that these erotic corkscrews are a great hit when schoolkids visit the museum.


French 'Zizag' corkscrews, 1919-28.


'Cep de vigne' corkscrew.


The multi-purpose advertising device: Cointreau.


The folding corkscrew.


The 'Suntory' Japanese corkscrew.


An unusual multi-purpose tool.

Windmills in Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt, Vaucluse (84)


This restored (but unworking) windmill at Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt is the only survivor out of four which once stood here.


Another tower remains as part of a house conversion.

20 June 2017

François Hüe in Pézenas, Hérault (34)

François Hüe, was born in Béziers in 1905 and died in Paris in 1972. He was an ornithologist and a defender of the natural world.

He co-wrote a number of books on birds with Robert-Daniel Etchécopar: Données écologiques sur l’avifaune dans la zone désertique arabo-saharienne (1957); Les Oiseaux du Nord de l’Afrique (1964); Les Oiseaux du Proche et du Moyen-Orient (1970); and Les Oiseaux de Chine, de Mongolie et de Corée (in two volumes (1978 and 1983)).

Albert-Paul Alliès in Pézenas, Hérault (34)


'HOMMAGE
RECONNAISSANT
DE
PÉZENAS
À
ALBERT PAUL ALLIÈS
1868 – 1935
HISTORIEN
ANIMATEUR BIENFAITEUR
DE SA VILLE NATALE'


Albert-Paul Alliès is probably most noted for his Guide historique et archéologique de l'étranger dans Pézenas, although he also wrote Une Ville d'États : Pézenas aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles ; Molière à Pézenas.

Molière in Pézenas, Hérault (34)


This magnificent statue dedicated to Molière recognises that the young man and his troupe stayed in Pézenas twice – between 1650 and 1651, and between 1653 and 1656 – and was erected in 1897.

19 June 2017

Émile Mâzuc in Pézenas, Hérault (34)


'ÉMILE MÂZUC
AUTEUR
DE LA GRAMMAIRE LANDOCIENNE
DIALECTE DE PÉZENAS
EST NÉ ICI
LE 24 JUILLET 1832'

Mâzuc is most noted for his Grammaire Languedocienne: Dialecte de Pezenas (1899).

Jean Giono's grave, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04)

This is what I completely forgot about last year, and which our guide to his home never even mentioned: Jean Giono's grave.

« OÙ JE VAIS PERSONNE NE VA,
PERSONNE N'EST JAMAIS ALLÉ,
PERSONNE N'IRA. J'Y VAIS SEUL.
LE PAYS EST VIERGE
ET IL S'EFFACE DERRIÈRE MES PAS
JEAN GIONO»

My translation: 'I am going where no one goes, where no one has ever been, where no one will go, I am going alone, the country is uncharted, and hides my footsteps behind me.'

Le Musée Extraordinaire de Georges Mazoyer, Ansouis, Vaucluse (84)

Georges Mazoyer (born 1925) was a deep-sea diver, painter, sculptor, collector and many more things. In 1956 he bought this 16th century property in Ansouis and turned it into a museum in 1975. It contains his collections of sea creatures and shells, his paintings, and numerous other things. In Provence, this is a must to visit: forget the usual tourist attractions. But to begin with the most interesting part of the museum: La Grotte blue aux coraux:









Mazoyer also used to create fishy characters from stones.


The original stonework on the ground floor is much the same as when Mazoyer bought it. Many of his paintings are displayed around the museum:











An example of the collection of sea objects, etc.





The stairway leading to Georges Mazoyer's atelier.

And the atelier itself.

Today George Mazoyer's daughter on son-in-law make ceramics in the atelier, such as these cheese holders.

The original oven, which bakes the ceramics at 1000 degrees.

The chimney in the atelier.

Outside, there is a number of huge creations of Mazoyer's, sea-based of course.