Performances and Picnics in Aix

Performances and Picnics in Aix

Easter Week 2017
Aix-en-Provence, France

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Yesterday we came back from L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in time for an evening of organ and string quartet in the peaceful elegance of St. Jean de Malte, in the Mazarine District. On the way back to our apartment we detoured, drawn to Place Richelme by the strains of Mozart….and found a “You’re the Maestro” event – as the Knights, a talented group from New York City, played the overture of The Marriage of Figaro. As we watched, a gentleman of a certain age masterfully took charge, then a lady waved her dog’s paw to conduct, a lively young man jumped around on the podium as he took his turn, and from a window high above a mademoiselle aerobatically conducted as the orchestra turned to face her. What fun – you never can tell what will happen on the streets and squares of Aix!
Today we’re shopping for a picnic in the garden…some hearty prosciutto here, fruit there, popped into our market basket to enjoy by the blooms in Pavilion de Vendome. More music awaits us tonight – but first, an Aperitif Dinatoire (that means enough finger food to make a dinner!) at our home.We’re delighted with this evening’s performance – entitled Brothers and Sisters. Four groups of siblings, in a variety of combinations, entertain us with Schumann, Brahms, Franck, and a world premier of Thierry Escaich’s String Sextet – the composer taking a bow after the musicians at the end. And the finale to this evening? A streetside crepe filled with nutella – yum!


Kaisers, Composers, and Cakes

Kaisers, Composers, and Cakes

Salzkammergut – The Austrian Lakes District
Tuesday, July 24, 2012, continued

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We have three days in this beautiful lake and mountain – scape to see, taste, hear, sniff and touch… so our explorations begin this afternoon with a drive along Lake Mondsee, then Lake Wolfgang to the spa town of Bad Ischl.

Rulers of old – the Archduke Franz Karl, then his son Emperor Franz Joseph, took the waters here, and it was here that Franz Joseph met his beloved wife Sissi, and established his summer court.

Renowned composers, too, were inspired by the scenic and peaceful Salzkammergut. Brahms composed his famous Lullaby in Bad Ischl, and Anton Bruckner, who composed several masses and nine monumental symphonies in the late 1800s, often played the organ at St. Nikolaus church at the entry of town.

Hungarian- born Franz Lehár, composer of The Merry Widow,  left the most lasting musical impression on the town. The summer operetta festival always includes one of his works, and his lovely riverside villa is now a museum.

A required stop for us is Zauner’s pastry shop – we’ve got to try their pastries which we’ve heard have been cause alone for a trip to the town for generations! Empress Sissi smiles over us as we sample the sweets she too enjoyed.

A deliciously satisfying pause – walnut orange cake for me, with a favorite from previous visits to Austria – Eis Kaffee, espresso over vanilla ice cream, topped with decadently rich whipped cream.

We circle around for another route home, by the blue- green inlets of Lake Attersee.

Mondsee’s premier restaurant is the Lackner, and they are proud of their dry-aged beef!  As we’ve found here in Austria (we remember this from previous visits too), menus are usually only in German – so we require frequent assistance to choose our meals.

Dinner is delicious, incorporating local produce, fish, and even flowers, and the garden lakeside setting beautiful and relaxing.

We linger til sunset, then stroll back to the hotel for a good night’s rest, the rushing river lulling us to sleep through the window.