25 June 2017

Marius Comba in Mouriès, Bouches-du-Rhône (13)

Marius Comba is a famous name in the Mouriès area of Bouches-du-Rhône not only for his interest in drum-playing, but also for olive farming, for the quality of his olive oil. His home, La Risoulète, means Paradise. The sculpture here depicts his with his black laborador Tango.

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

Conservateur en Chef du patrimone,
historien d'Aix-en-Provence,
Maître d'œuvre du Félibrige, 1914–2004'

Among Jean Boyer's publications are L'Architecture religieuse de l'époque classique à Aix-en-Provence (1972) and Architecture et urbanisme à Aix-en-Provence aux XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles du cours à carrosses au cours Mirabeau (2004).

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)

1887 – 1961

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.


'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)

1868 – 1935

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)

LE 24 JUILLET 1832'

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