Easter Weekend, April 4-5 , 2015
We’re eager to meet our Music and Markets guest, Elaine, and walk through market squares over flowing with jazz and early spring produce on the way to her hotel.What a joy it is to share favorite sights and places once again – all the way from the thermal waters that brought the Romans here centuries ago to Saint Saveur Cathedral, begun not long after the Romans were here.We fill our afternoon with one beautiful square after another, checking out fountains and vistas, take a break, then meet again for a special first-night dinner at Aix’s favorite celebration restaurant, Le Formal. From the foie gras, through the lamb medley, to ” Chocolate Tempation” we’re delighted, as always, with chef Jean-Luc’s creations.
Easter Sunday rings in with a rousing organ trumpet voluntary at the cathedral. Elaine’s been studying French and the three of us can follow the Easter sermon pretty well, and then ” share the light” with the candles handed out as we entered. There’s a lot more going on in Aix today – it’s the first Sunday of the month, so the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville is filled with vintage books rather than flowers.Although it’s cool, the beaming sun encourages an al fresco lunch on Place des Tanneurs…completed with my all-time favorite dessert, Café Gourmand!Another first Sunday event, the monthly antique and vintage fair, fills the Cours Mirabeau.Later, our neighbor, Jean Claude, welcomes the three of us with an aperitif and a tour of his marvelous ceramic collection before we enjoy the first of our scheduled concerts, an evening of breathtaking violin and piano in the Grand Theatre. We had not heard Maxim Vengerov before, and although we’ve enjoyed other world-renowned violinists through the years, his tender rich sound just enthralls – a new favorite violinist! From Prokofiev to Dvorak, Kreisler to Paganini (whose Caprice # 24 in F minor had the audience break out in applause after one fabulous pizzicato variation!) we were on the edge of our seats. A couple of French encores, Faure’s Apres Une Reve (which I love playing with my cellist friend Sarah) and Massenet’s delightful Meditation had us humming in memory as we walked past the Rotonde in the moonlight. This first concert of the week will be hard to beat!