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Farewell to Aix

Farewell to Aix

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Aix en Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

One last day…and it’s a market day. No, we won’t buy anything else, but we’ve got to walk through and just take it all in one more time. Passing another sweet door-topper, 08251501 am walkand a mysterious sunny corner,08251501 sunlit corner

we stroll through the bustling squares, passing a beautiful fountain or two, 08251501 fountainthe warm scents of fresh-baked bread, 08251501 market breadthe best paella man – yes, it’s going fast!08251501 paella going fastIt still feels like summer here  – need a flirty fedora? 08251501 summer fedorasBut fall’s encroaching, we’ve walked over crunchy leaves in our square, and here the fall colors creep in to the market. 08251501 market fall colorsWe’ve got another taste or two that we don’t want Cassidy to miss, so amble over to a favorite restaurant, Le Bouddoir, on lovely Place des Tanneurs, 08251502 for lunch for lunch. 08251502 lunch bouddoirLeave room for dessert – you’ve GOT to try Café Gourmand! 08251503 cassidy has to try thisCassidy agrees, it’s a fabulous French invention…who wouldn’t like FOUR desserts rather than just one?!
One more stop – a new pirate-themed candy shop, where she stocks up for the long flight tomorrow. 08251503 gotta show you thisWe take the long way home, peeking in on another favorite square, Place Albertas, 08251503 long way homeand walking through our adjacent square, where lunch is still in session.08251503 still lunchingThen I get to work packing and cleaning, and Cassidy studies on the windowsill, still her favorite perch. 08251503 studying while i packOk, chores done, we can fit in a final concert or two – and we begin with the group we heard rehearsing earlier right next door, the Percussion and Brass sections of the OJF,08251504 concert from the windowsill video too French Youth Orchestra – here’s a Spanish themed piece. They’re terrific musicians all!
And last of all, a choral group in the cloister, also just next door.08251504 last one in rarely open cloister Aaah Aix, we’re going to miss you!

Sunday in the Park

Sunday in the Park

Sunday & Monday, August 23-24, 2015
Aix en Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

Even in places where we spend a lot of time, we keep looking up and around – and are often surprised by something delightful that we hadn’t previously noticed, like this little door-topping cherub. 08231501 am sundayOne of Aix’s loveliest corners, the Pavilion Vendome, is hosting a “Pique-Nique Musical” as part of Musique dans la Rue. Described as “under a Berber tent, in a nomad ambiance, you can bring your picnic…”. 08231501 berber tentWe take the (what we thought) easy way – buying middle Eastern specialties from les délices d’Aminata, who have set up a stall in the park. But with only two people serving everyone who wants to enjoy their offerings, one selling and one preparing, we didn’t know we’d have to wait more than half an hour in line, getting hungrier by the minute! But we did have musical entertainment as we waited, and the kebabs were indeed delicious! 08231501 line up for lunch and listen video tooThe much-anticipated jazz concerts scheduled for the evening were, unfortunately, rained out – a torrential storm blew through Aix Sunday evening!
Just a couple more days til we fly back to the US, and Cassidy’s now a regular at the bakery,08241502 baguette runas well as the café where she sits, sips, and studies her college textbooks on her phone. 08231502 cass cafeI’ve long appreciated the interesting classes Kathy offers at Food Lovers Odessey, both in France and Italy. Finally we’re both in Aix at the same time, so we visit her cooking school studio and enjoy a tasty aperitif. 08241501 food lovers kitchenWe’ll continue to let our Ambiance d’Aix renters know about her classes in Aix – such a delicious way to experience life here!
Monday evening’s filled with concerts again, and we enjoy a couple of them with our friends,08241502 musique then have a fun gathering in their apartment with lots of goodies from both of our refrigerators – 08241502 ordob join us then aperoit’s getting to be clean-out-the-cupboard time, always much more fun in Aix than when we’re leaving Virginia!

 

Markets and Music in Aix Again!

Markets and Music in Aix Again!

Saturday, August 22, 2015
Aix en Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

If it’s Saturday you know what that means…those marvelous markets fill the streets and squares of Aix, and we can’t resist!08221501 am marketFrom mouthwatering produce to fragrant lavender, no matter how many times we see and smell these beauties it never gets old! 08221501 marketEven if we don’t plan to buy a thing, we’ve GOT to walk through and enjoy!
I’ve been eagerly anticipating figs, so difficult to find in the DC area, but plentiful here, and have been eating them every day. I’ve finally had enough to consider doing something other than just popping them in my mouth, and a fig tart is the result. 08221501 tartSo delicious with a dollop of crême fraiche!
Musique dans la Rue continues this evening, and our first choice is a wind quintet with piano in the courtyard of the Hôtel de Ville –08221502 mozart video too the playfully joyous strains of Mozart fill this beautiful space, and then we’re back next door to Ambiance d’Aix at the Place de l’Archeveché where the Funky Frogs Street Choir struts, poses and sings in harmony everything from Michael Jackson to John Williams.08221502 place archveche funky frogs Cassidy’s content to watch and listen right from her window! 08221503 from windowTogether we all go to Cours Mirabeau, where the Winner Duo with Flacko the Juggler 08221503 juggler and combo video tooentertain as they walk the elegant street. 08221503 paradingAnd we finish off the evening with another parade down the Cours, with Gershwin and Fire, the Piano on Stilts, and the Grande Diva08221504 diva time – a fabulous spectacle with music from Piaf to Bizet as the moon rises over the Rotonde. 08221504 slowly til moonriseWhat a blast, this life in Aix!!

Mountains and Music

Mountains and Music

Friday, August 21, 2015
Aix en Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

Ali and Roxana have introduced us to some beautiful areas around Aix, as they are avid hikers. They always climb Mount Saint Victoire at least once on their trips, and last night they invited Cassidy to join them on today’s morning jaunt. Actually, she (and we) just thought it was a hike – we didn’t realize that she’d be topping the mountain! So early this morning our normally late riser is up and out the door, ready to experience the south of France countryside up close and personal.08211501 am hike group I’m not sure when she realized that she was going to climb this iconic crag, Cezanne’s favorite subject.08211501 am hike The climb involved scrabbling up on hands and knees at some points, but she made it to the top!08211501 mt topWe find out about this adventure when they all return to Aix, around 4 hours after they left – and are WOWED!
Can you guess what filled the afternoon? LOOOONG naps for all the climbers!
Tonight’s the first night of Musique Dans la Rue, our favorite Aix festival – 120 ” Moments Musicaux” from 6 to 9 each evening, for 9 days. Of outstanding quality, and all free, the concerts are in some of Aix’s most beautiful courtyards and squares, in parks and even parading through the town. The first concert is in the courtyard of the Hôtel de Ville,08211502 nap then music a superb Schumann Quintet (string quartet with piano), followed by a jazzy combo from Marseilles in the square outside.08211502 string quartet inside jazz outsideThen we choose an interesting program of early music described as “A Promenade through Musical Baroque Europe”. Before and in between the pieces the musicians read from a letter from a Russian princess traveling through Europe listening to different composers – Handel in England, Vivaldi in Italy, etc. 08211503 entry of caumontBut the French is SO fast that we catch very little – but we do enjoy the music and the locale, the courtyard in front of the Hôtel Caumont, Aix’s newest museum.
A stroll around town, a bite to eat, then home through dusky lanes –08211503 home LOVING life in Aix!

Feasting with Friends in Aix

Feasting with Friends in Aix

Thursday, August 20, 2015
Aix en Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
How about celebrating Mozart in the matchless city of Bath, England in November?

After a few days of exploring, we’re content to stay in Aix for a while, taking time for friends and looking forward to lots of music beginning tomorrow. “The Jeans” across the street have invited us for lunch, Cassidy’s first experience with a table full of French speakers…and a continuation of her tasting exploits.
Jean-Gabriel is a master at table-scapes – always creating a beautiful ambiance for the meal. 08201501 j gs tablescapeAnd here’s the latest French taste – stuffed squid! We’re impressed and delighted that Cassidy’s not shying away from any new tastes – an adventurous gal! 08201501 stuffed squidAfter a Tarte Tropezienne (tender discs of cake layered with rich creamy custard, a specialty of St. Tropez) Jean-Claude gives us a quick tour of their exquisite ceramics. 08201502 ceramicsWe stay and chat a while longer, and Cassidy returns across the street to work on her college courses. She throws open those shutters (the façade is certainly showing its 300 plus years, isn’t it?!) like a natural. 08201502 facade looks every one of its 300 plus yearsWe three then get to work preparing some nibbles for this evening…08201503 apero prepthese skewers of goat cheese, smoked duck breast, and grapes tempt us to taste TOO much!08201503 grapes goat cheese smoked duckbreastAli and Roxana and their college-age twins have become dear friends since we met them the week we moved in 5 years ago. They live in Japan, and the kids are both studying in the US, so they’re only here once or twice a year, fortunately usually when we are. 08201504 friendsWe finish up the evening with a stroll to Place Albertas to see what Thursday Night Music is on, listen a bit, 08201504 jammingand leisurely walk home.