A Month in Provence 2013

Aix - La Rotonde

Jim's Blog of his time in Aix-en-Provence, France during May, 2013. Time and
weather in Aix:
Click for Aix-en-Provence, France Forecast

Today was a different sort of day, as Vivien had some free time and asked if I'd like to do some sightseeing in her car. If course I did, so off we went straight to Mont Victoire, which can be seen from a few spots around town (a glimpse of it appeared in an earlier photo but I can't find it right now.) The mountain was a favorite subject of Cezanne's he apparently painted 20-odd pictures of it.

Today was my first for-pay "excursion", an organized tour complete with itinerary, the objectives being to see some new stuff without having to organize the logistics myself. It turned out quite well. I wanted to visit Cassis, a pretty little city grown up around a harbor, surrounded by some awesome hills/mountains. A different view of Marseilles was bundled with Cassis so that was the tour.

Tuesday in the van all day was surprisingly tiring, so today was a day of rest. I slept in until after 9:00 a.m., rising just in time to say adieu to Kate, the latest guest here, with whom I'd shared a couple of meals. Afterward, lolled around until lunchtime, departed for a "sandwich" (a baquette filled with chicken curry salad, lettuce and tomato) and a Diet Coke. Afterward, took a walk through a pretty park nearby (Parc Jourdan), then came back to the room for (of course) a nap. Later, out to dinner with Vivien, then home and to bed. Sorry - no photos today.

Our old friend the Mistral has been lurking and poking his head up for a few days, and today arose and growled a bit. Although there wasn't a cloud to be seen, and the sun was shining brilliantly (the "light" of Provence that captivates artists), walking in the face of the Mistral got positively chilly. Fortunately, there was a seat in the somewhat sheltered space outside the gelato place where I was able to savor my little "mezzo pot" of pistachio and watch the girls world go by.

Well, not exactly frosty, but uncomfortably cold between the temps in the mid-50s and the Mistral (a viscious wind akin to an Älberta Clipper) whistling by at 15-25mph.

I've finally relented and turned on the heat in the apartment - gas-fired hot water warming radiators. It's positively comfy here!

Today I was treated to a meandering road trip from Aix to Venasque driven by Vivien's good friend Bethany. Bethany is, among other things, a business owner who conducts tours in Provençe showing the ancient history - Roman and older - that few tourists see. She is curious, able to spot a piece of pottery or a flint shard from 50 ft., always discovering and always smiling. Between Vivien and Bethany the trip to Vivien's other Provençe rental property in Venasque was entertaining, educational, scenic and a total hoot, as their commentary, serious one minute, kidding each other the next was just a lot of fun.

What a fun day we had! Got up relatively early (7:30). Bethany arose a little later, while Vivien slept in. Despite my usual morning attire of sweats, Bethany wanted to do some shopping and have coffee, so she assured me I would not be under-dressed for a Sunday morning. So off we went, first to a little store to buy odds and ends, then to the bakery to buy two kinds of loaves and a foccachia-type bread with olives baked-in. Then went to a restaurant with the familiar name Les Remparts (maybe from Montréal) for café au lait, then back to Vivien's.