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Aix-en-Provence, France 

Aix-en-Provence is a lovely city situated in the Provence region of southern France.  The home of Paul Cezanne, it is a place of extreme beauty, inspiration and tranquility.  The Romans founded it in the 2nd Century B.C. as Aqua Sextiae, which made reference to its thermal springs.  Its University was founded in the 15th Century and is home to many old architectural treasures, including fountains, squares, and churches.  It is a small city, but is highlighted by its Provencale cuisine and natural beauty.

Robert and Arlene Washington were warmly hosted by the Sister Cities Association's Jérôme and Kathleen Imbert after winning the 2012 BBQ Grand Prize!  They toured, ate, drank great wines and enjoyed their very special visit arranged by Jérôme and Kathleen Imbert.

Most of the following photos are courtesy of our talented Sister City liaison, Jérôme Imbert. 

Jérôme IMBERT  Photographe

Visiting Philadelphia in March and April 2009 were five people from our French Sister City, Aix-en-Provence. They came to Philadelphia to see the Cezanne and Beyond exhibition in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They spent a few days in Philadelphia and the region going on tours and visiting museums. One of the guests was our friend Marie-Odile Chotard who brought the group of folk dancers, the chef and Cezanne expert to Philadelphia last May. If you plan to visit Provence this year, you should know that they prepared exceptional events for 2009! There will be a host of major events on the PICASSO theme, from May through September, offering visitors a chance to discover the region’s most beautiful sights and follow the footsteps of this inimitable artist. To view a complete cultural itinerary of Picasso in Provence Cote D’Azur please visit this site. However, if you plan to be in Aix in different months, you can explore the city of Cezanne going on tours and visiting many sights the city has to offer. For information please visit Aix-en-Provence tourism office site

In May 2008, a group of 23 people – including 20 dancers, a Provencal chef and Cezanne lecturer visited Philadelphia for five days.  Marie Odile Chotard, our Aix-en-Provence liaison, accompanied the delegation and our office arranged for homestays for the entire group, except Ms. Chotard, who stayed at the Courtyard Marriott. Jennifer McGinn met the delegation upon their arrival in Philadelphia.  The dancers then attended the IVC First Wednesday Reception and delighted the attendees by arriving in costume, playing music and handing out chocolate that was shipped directly from Aix!  The next morning they enjoyed an overview sightseeing tour of the city with Aneta Komandarczyk, also from a Sister City called Torun.  Performances were arranged and the dancers performed for young students at Russell Byers Charter School.  Later that afternoon, they danced in the City Hall Courtyard.  The following day, the dancers performed at the Independence Charter School and to a large lunch-time crowd at the Reading Terminal Market.  At every venue, the audience was pleased with their unique performance and excited to learn that they were visiting from Philadelphia’s Sister City.  Our office also arranged for a visit to The Barnes Foundation which they all enjoyed. 

Chef Mathieu Durand had an interesting experience in Philadelphia.  Some of his activities included a visit to Swenson Arts and Technology School where he cooked for the teachers and students in culinary class, a day and evening spent cooking at Patou Restaurant for a Sister Cities reception/dinner, holding a cooking demonstration at La Cucina in the Reading Terminal Market and shadowing Chef David Jansen at the Four Seasons Hotel. 

Mr. Michel Fraisset, Cezanne lecturer, was also very busy in Philadelphia.  He attended the IVC First Wednesday Reception, provided a lecture at The Barnes Foundation for the President and docents, attended the dinner the Chef Durand prepared at Patou and gave a lecture to many IVC members and friends of the Sister Cities Program at Bistro St. Tropez.

All local homestay hosts enjoyed the mostly non-English speaking delegation, which included many children.  Some hosts have already had reciprocal hospitality in Aix when they visited the dancers they hosted here.

View the gallery from May 2008 visit!



You can admire the beauty of the Provence region by viewing photos below. 

at CDI! Click here to read
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important positions.

Follow us on Twitter @cdiPhila for updates on delegations & who they met here.  Check out #IVLP and @StateIVLP for more on the State Department's top exchange program.

Click image above for the 2013 Annual Report released April 2014


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Congratulations to two young talented women who are the Grand Prize International winners of the 2014 Sister Cities International Young Artists Showcase, for their artwork titled “Exciting Plenair.” Holding the winning entry is our own Katy Drinkwater.  The winners, students Julia Sokolova & Irina Generalsakya, are from our Russian Sister City, Nizhny Novgorod, and will share the cash prize of $1,000. Their work will be on display at the Sister Cities International 2014 Annual Conference in San Jose, CA from July 31 to August 2 and then will go on a tour to several cities across the U.S. - and hopefully to Philadelphia!