Sunday, February 20, 2011

L'Estaque - Sea, Art and Sun...

The plan was to hold up our yearly tradition and visit the "Oursinade", the Sea Urchin Festival in Carry le Rouet. Except now that sea urchins have become an almost endangered species Carry has renamed its popular feast "Festival des Fruits de Mer" (Seafood Festival) and, when we were just starting to drive there it started pouring. So no open air seafood extravaganza! But then we remembered having ripped out an article about a museum close by, so off we went to L'Estaque.
L'Estaque is a small and not exactly beautiful fishing-port north east of Marseille's City center and its claim to fame is that Cézanne discovered l'Estaque in 1864 and came back again and again to paint the view across the Gulf of Marseille. Later Renoir, Derain, Braque and Dufy came to L'Estaque and a now almost forgotten Marseille artist: Adolphe Monticelli, whose work was greatly admired by van Gogh and Cézanne.

The Monticelli Foundation is not all that easy to find, it is almost hidden outside of L'Estaque, but once there it is easy to see what attracted the artists all that time ago - even now that  L'Estaque has become Marseille's 16th arrondissement the views are still spectacular and some of the best views across the sea -"La grande Bleue" - are from inside the museum.
Inside the Museum
Adolphe Monticelli
View from the museum across the "la grande Bleue"

And guess what? Just as we were leaving the museum the sun came out! So we hotfooted it to Carry le Rouet and got to eat some real good seafood after all! We shared an excellent "Daube aux Poulpes" (octopuss) and some stuffed mussels and left the sea urchins to those who absolutely had to eat them...

Delicious Octopuss Stew

And just to show you how nice the day turned out here are some more photos

Picknick by the Sea
Oysters on the Beach
Urchins, Frites and Wine of course


  1. Your photos of oysters on the beach is just screaming for me to get to France....soon!!!

  2. Well Barbara, I guess we will have to go to L'Estaque to see the museum and views from there and hope we are in Provence in February some year so we can go to the seafood festival at Carry Le Rouet. The food looks delicious!

  3. @Susan: When you'll be here it will be even sunnier and you can eat your oysters wearing a swimsuit!

  4. Michel, this is one of the nicest foodfestivals in Provence - not to be missed!

  5. Lovely! So happy you shared this with us.