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From mid-November to end March it is the season for the Black Diamond of Provence, and the season started with an exhibition in the Maison de la Région on the Canebière in Marseille. The Black Diamond is the truffle, and it is worth its weight in gold!...

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The guidebook said that the best souvenir you can bring back from Sète is a hike up to Mont St-Clair, so I decided to start my visit to Sète by a two hour hike. When the train pulled in at the station in Sète my disappointment could not have been bigger:...

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Imagine yourself in a foreign town. You don't know anybody. You don't know anything about the place. How do you get a feel for the town? Last weekend I went to Toulouse for the first time. Prior to going there I had been here and there on the Internet...

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Let me be honest, there are areas in Marseille where I would never go. The northern areas of town (14th, 15th and 16th arr.) are no-go areas for me. Except for one reason: pool time! Today it is 1 September, and one might have thought that the city's...

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To be or not to be a parent? I wonder if Hamlet's famous speech (in the 1603 version) was not written for the Parents without Children: To be, or not to be, aye there's the point, To Die, to sleep, is that all? Aye all: No, to sleep, to dream, aye marry...

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70 years ago, on 25 August 1944, Paris was celebrating its liberation from the German occupants, but in Marseille the Germans were still occupying Notre Dame de la Garde, also known locally as La Bonne Mère. The highest point of town was considered a...

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The "Aha!" moment came when I was walking around the Musée Nissim de Camondo in Paris last Sunday. It suddenly made sense. Connections were made in my head, names read in haste, a family story told in a book, a walk in a foreign city....... Let me start...

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There was a time when the tallest building in London was One Canada Square on the Isle of Dogs. On the day that the Twin Towers in Manhattan were blown up, I was working in the City of London, and the first building that was evacuated in London was this...

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Whilst the French flock to the coastal beaches and queue on the motorways for hours, nobody can ignore the persecution of people around the world. The Yazidis have sought refuge on a mountain in Iraq, Palestinian children have lost their lives in UN schools...

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Paul Gauguin, loved for his warm and colourful Taiti paintings, actually had a lot less exotic connection - his Danish wife Mette Sophie Gad. They met in 1871 in Paris and married in a Lutheran church in Paris two years later when she was 23 and he was...

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