Picasso home open

In 1958, Spanish artist Pablo Picasso and his wife, Jacqueline, bought the 17th-century Chateau de Vauvenargues in Aix-en-Provence, France, where they lived between 1959 and 1965. After his death in 1973, the home was closed to the public — until this summer when Jacqueline’s daughter from another marriage opened several of its rooms to the public. Among them are the dining room, bedroom, the bathroom where Picasso painted the figure of a faun on the wall, and his studio.

Admission to the building is in small reserved groups of 19 people, with two visits each hour. Tickets cost 7.70 euros per person and include a shuttle bus connection between the chateau and a parking area in Vauvenargues.

The castle opening accompanies the exhibition “Picasso Cezanne” at the Musee Granet of Aix-en-Provence. The show looks at Cezanne’s influence on the Spanish artist and is divided into four sections: “Picasso observes Cezanne,” “Picasso collects Cezanne,” “Shared themes, objects, forms and feature” and “Picasso gets close to Cezanne.”

Tickets to the museum are 10 euros for adults, 8 euros for ages 13 to 25 years and free for those younger than 13.

Both the exhibition and chateau are open until Sept. 27.

For more details and tickets, go to

London exhibits

If you’ll be in London in October, you might want to check out two of the city’s new exhibitions.

The exotic court life of the maharajas of India during the early 18th century to the end of British rule in 1947 is a unique period in India’s history.

The Victoria and Albert Museum will exhibit reminders of the royal life in the “Maharaja: the Splendour of India’s Royal Courts,” from Oct. 10 to Jan. 17. The 250 objects include paintings, photography, textiles and dress, jewelry, metalwork and furniture that illustrate the life, patronage and culture of the time.

Tickets cost 11 pounds for adults, 6 pounds for ages 12 to 17 and are free for children younger than 12. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Saturday through Thursday, with late closings on Friday at 10 p.m. Its Web site is

The other exhibit, at The National Portrait Gallery, demonstrates that almost 40 years after hitting it big, the pop personalities of the 1960s can still draw a crowd. The gallery looks at some of the stars who were part of the London scene with its photo exhibit “Beatles to Bowie: The ’60s exposed.”

Up to 150 photographs (100 shown for the first time) and other memorabilia make up the show as it follows the ’60s through such figures as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Who, Marianne Faithful, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie. The show runs from Oct. 15 to Jan. 24. Tickets cost 11 pounds (about $18.75). Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The Web site is

Best betsBELGIUM: A successful crafts market held 32 years ago in Temploux has grown to become the country’s largest and most popular annual flea market. Not only does the current version stretch more than 3½ miles with some 1,500 international stalls, but it is open for 35 hours straight, from 7 a.m. Saturday until 6 p.m. Sunday. Add entertainment, food, drink and Saturday-night fireworks to the shopping and you have a flea market festival. Tickets cost 3.50 euros. See more at

This weekend, giants take over the city of Ath. The city’s annual Ducasse is a popular festival that originated in the 15th century as a religious procession to consecrate St. Julien church. On Saturday, the biblical giant Goliath takes his vows and marries his fiancée at 3 p.m. in St. Julien (tickets required), followed not by his honeymoon but rather by his battle with David at 5 p.m. at the l’Hôtel de Ville.

On Sunday, the grand parade starts at 3 p.m. with marching bands, soldiers on foot and horseback, historical characters and the giants, among them Goliath, Samson, the magical horse Bayard and hero Ambiorix, who fought against Julius Caesar. Festival details are at Ath’s Web site.; there is an English option.

IRELAND: Dublin’s Heritage Week, with its more than 1,000 registered events organized by local communities, is sure to have something you’ll enjoy, From a trip to the Irish-speaking island of Gola in County Donegal to whale-watching off the coast of County Kerry. Running Aug. 22 to 28, the popular cultural festival is part of the annual European Heritage Days and features nature walks, music recitals, poetry readings, historical walks, lectures, medieval festivals, children’s activities and wildlife and bio-diversity events. For a listing of Irish events, go to

Forcy more on September’s European Heritage Days in other countries, go to

WALES: Soak up the atmosphere of the Victorian era at Llandrindod Wells’ annual Victorian Festival Saturday through Aug. 28. The town, a popular spa resort in the 1800s, will re-create those bygone days with entertainment including street artists, mini music halls, Victorian tea dances, balls, bandstand concerts, a Gilbert and Sullivan evening, male choir concerts, exhibitions, crafts stalls, a march of the Suffragettes and a Victorian costume parade. Join the fun and go dressed in Victorian-era clothes.

The festival Web site is

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