Got back into the routine today with breakfast at the Book in Bar around the corner. Afterward, walked about for a couple of hours, including a walk through one of the many marchés (markets) in town - this one near the Hôtel de Ville, or city hall. Took a few photos so you might get the flavor [ahem] of the place.

Back to the room for a while, then out again to find lunch at the bright little café I've been to before. The people there (and in other regular haunts) remember me, which is nice.

I ate a wrap of chicken, cheese, tomato and (!) pistou at a small table next to a wizened little old French woman. After I finished, she struck up a conversation with me, which was (to me) remarkable, as it really went quite well. I had to ask her to repeat a few times but in general I understood her and she seemed to understand me. So progress on that front.

After leaving the café I was walking down the street and an older man, not French, I think, asked in accented French how to get to Cours Mirabeau, and (ta da!) I was actually able to tell him, also on accented French. I should apply for a job at the Office of Tourism, right?

Next, I spotted a somewhat familiar-looking face: a pretty little whippet sitting in the lap of a pretty French girl (who was next to a French guy with improbably red hair. See the photo link below). I approached them and asked if I could pet the whippet and they enthusiastically agreed, so I had a ten-minute dog fix with the sweet little dog, who just soaked up the adoration, as they do.

Later in the day, Vivien came home from work and found the battery charger she'd borrowed had worked its magic, and her older Beemer (518) started. The battery had died because she hadn't used the car in a month. She asked if I wanted to ride to Carry to return the charger, and of course I agreed. The ride down was uneventful on the Autoroute. Chatted a little with the people who'd loaned her the charger, and headed back. Ran into a torrential downpour on the way back, so  exited and took local roads back.

The rain had passed through Aix by the time we got back. Vivien had invited another close friend of hers for dinner, a transplant from Germany (via Turkey because of an Armenian ex-husband). Heike is a sweet younger woman with three almost-grown sons. Vivien cooked a lot of veggies, some small white potatoes, and a white fish with crême fraiche and chives wrapped inside a frozen pie crust, which was delicious. Dessert was ice cream and fresh strawberries. And wine, of course.

Good food, good conversation, and finally off to bed around midnight.

Au revoir!