late November, 2012
Aix en Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Next on the itinerary: Our spring tours in Barcelona, Venice or Prague


Aix welcomes us back with bling of its own – it’s not just Paris who knows how to dress up for the holidays! The elegant Rotonde fountain at the end of Cours Mirabeau drips with glittering lights rather than water.
We schlepped a 6 foot drapery rod and lining material back from the Grands Magasins (department stores) of Paris – another plus of traveling by train rather than air – and now the work begins, actually on Thanksgiving Day!

I’m sewing the lining onto the backs of our striped drapes, for a prettier view than the additional set of curtains left by the previous owner that met the eye in the foyer.

Kirk finds his drill and installs the brass rod, replacing a sagging wooden pole that’s been doing the job since we bought the apartment. Now doesn’t it look nice?!

And here’s the new lining – it looks better in person than the photo.

Our reward for the work of the day? Aperitifs and enjoyable conversation with our wonderful neighbor across the street, then a leisurely stroll down sparkly Cours Mirabeau, where the Christmas Market chalets, filled with toys, gifts, warm hats and gloves, line one side of the street.

The Vin Chaud (hot wine) both is the busiest of all,

and gleaming Good King Rene watches over the children’s rides set up at the far end of the Cours.

We’re invited for dinner at another friend’s home on Friday, and I must share this intriguing first course – a platter of five different kinds of smoked fish. I am usually not a fan of smoked items, but each one of these, from mackerel to tuna to three kinds of salmon, were absolutely fabulous, mild and full of flavor, served with blinis and tzatziki.
We asked Xavier where he found so many different kinds of smoked fish, and he described a sailor’s boutique with all kinds of boating equipment and clothes, but also food that would travel well on the sea, such as this amazing selection of smoked fish. The cool and creamy tzatziki (a tangy Greek yogurt/cucumber dip) was perfect with it – I’d love to find some really good smoked salmon and serve this myself!

We’ve been cooking at home (when not invited out!) while in Aix, and treat ourselves to lunch out on Saturday, our last day here, at a place we read about on Aixcentric and have wanted to try – Le Comte d’Aix. I’m sure no one’s surprised that we both choose to complete our dining in Aix with  perfectly cooked duck breast, served with a sweet tart apple reduction – delicieux!
We began our latest visit here with a surprise concert in the cathedral last Sunday, and finish it tonight with an evening of Bach , presented by the J.S. Bach Academie -Aix,  in one of the protestant “temples” as they’re called. A fitting musical finale as we look forward to the holidays.

Au revoir Aix – we’ve enjoyed your Christmas sparkle!
And we wish all of you a wonderful Christmas – may it be filled with love, beauty, and joy!