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Back Home in Aix

Back Home in Aix

Wednesday – Thursday, May 18-19, 2016
Aix en Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
Why not join us on our newest tour in September – Bordeaux and Dordogne?

A flight from Prague to Paris, a bus ride to the train station, then a fast train whizzes us south through the lush Burgundy countryside,05181601 Burgundy and we’re back home in Aix! A few purchases to settle us in, a check-up of the apartment, which has suffered water damage from upstairs renovations of a neighbor, a good night’s sleep in our own bed, and it’s Thursday, market day. We have a morning meeting with our manager and the contractor who will manage the repairs needed (painting will have to wait until the end of the summer, to allow our three hundred year walls time to dry well) but before they come we happily head for the flower market. 05191601 flowersFull of gorgeous spring scents and colors, one stall after another tempts, until we settle on a gorgeous armful of peonies – white for fragrance, red for color.05191601 fragrant white irresistable color of redAfter our meeting, where we bravely try to comprehend the insurance requirements and details of repairs in French, we all agree that the damage could have been SO much worse. Isabel, our manager, just HAPPENED to stop by the apartment to drop off clean sheets and towels one morning, and was shocked to see water pouring from a ceiling light fixture and down the kitchen and living room walls. She quickly shut off the electricity, called the Pompiers (fire department) who came and shut off the water, then assessed the damage and dried the affected furniture. It seems that the plumbing problem began earlier the same morning, not before that – or the house would have been flooded! As it is, our home is still comfortable and live-able, with some stains on the walls and ceiling that will be taken care of at the end of the summer. Not as pretty as it was – but it will soon return to its former state – and even better, we hope!
We’ll work on deep cleaning later, but now’s the time to get back out to the markets before they close. Joining the chic shoppers on Cours Mirabeau, 05191601 join chic shoppers on courswe take in the change of seasons – colorful summer merchandise is ripe for the picking! 05191601 summer goodsA new swimsuit? Or a find-me-at-the-beach hat?05191601 summer goods1Peeking down a pretty lane, 05191601 take another route homewe take another way home, stopping for some delectable spring produce for lunch.05191602 bounty of springPeonies for the eyes, a crisp cool rosé to accompany lunch,05191602 by peonies lunch we’re happy to be back!

An Introduction to Aix

An Introduction to Aix

August 10-14, 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?

Here we go, sharing all the things we love about Aix with our grandaughter…
Baguettes, warm from the oven,08101503 baguettesfrom the bakery around the corner,08101503 bakerythe fountains,08101503 fountainthe markets, of course!08101503 marketsAnd then there are the charming boutiques that have kept the ancient architectural beauty of the many convents and monasteries that filled the streets centuries ago,08101503 sephoraCathedral Saint Sauveur, with Roman and medieval remnants in the baptistry,08101504 cathedrala market-fresh lunch,08101504 a market lunchthe centuries-old cave (storage area) underneath our apartment.08101504 caveWe love the golden stone and beautiful architecture of Aix,08111502 golden stoneand so does Cassidy, claiming her perch on the windowsill,08101505 window perch

sketching the neighborhood. 08101506 sketchingWe love the music in the squares,08111502 music squaresshopping for meals at the market,08111501 daily shoppingand making them in our new kitchen!08111501 to make favorite pastaEvery day’s a pleasure!

 

Parading in Aix

Parading in Aix

One last post of a party-day in Aix, then we’re off to Barcelona and Prague!

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to summer – join us on the fabulous Amalfi Coast in July?

It’s our last day in Aix – one more stroll through the market,04111501 am one more marketone more round through favorite squares,04111501 am sights to hold til next timeone more lunch with friends – on Xavier’s terrace,04111501 one last great lunch on the terracehigh above Place Cardeurs.04111502 above cardeursAnd now for the BIG reveal – the bathroom is painted and ready for prime time!04111501 bathroom1Here it is – up the stairs, where there was a bathtub and shower, is now a shower room, with plexiglass from floor to almost-ceiling on the left.
Looking down from the shower, 04111501 bathroom 2and in the door – we love it!04111501 bathroomThe Bande Desinée festival kicks off this evening on Cours Mirabeau, with “Little Nemo” floating on his bed amidst  dragons, carriages, balloons, dancers – what a party!!04111502 blast of a goodbye video tooThis dragon practically kissed me on the head!04111502 dragonsWow, Aix, what a way to say goodbye!
Au revoir – 04111502 goodnight and goodbye

we’ll see you again, as that really means!

Cezanne Was Here

Cezanne Was Here

Music & Markets April Easter Festival, 2015
Aix-en-Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to summer – join us on the fabulous Amalfi Coast in July?

Sometimes you’ve got to be creative and inventive on the spur of the moment, and this was one of those days. We walked to Avis to pick up our rental car, ready for a drive north to the Luberon, and what met us there? A big sign on the door with our name (along with a few others) saying that the office was closed today, giving us an option of picking up a car in another location. No phone call, no notice….don’t think we’ll use this company again! So since art is a major interest of Elaine’s we decided to walk (uphill ALL the way!)04061501 aix hike to Cezanne’s atelier this morning. 04061501 atelier cezanneWe’ve often stopped at this beautiful spot, appreciating the spacious grounds with many inviting sitting areas (where we’ve seen poets and artists at work)04061501 inviting gardens welcome to sit paint write think but have never gone inside. What a pleasure it was to see his high-ceilinged and well-lit workroom, with many of the props he used for still lifes right there, just as they were during his day (no photos allowed of the interior).
I’m sure this rear window was not covered with branches in his day. 04061501 rear window now treed over long slat to slide paintingsYou can barely see, from the outside, the top of the 6 foot tall narrow iron “door”  on the left through which he slid his landscapes when he wanted to be outside to work on them. After wandering the grounds,04061501 wandered aroundwe walked still higher up the hill to the Terrain des Peintres, a favored perch from where Cezanne painted many of his views of Mt. Saint Victoire.04061502 climb higher to favored perchWith views like this no wonder he chose this spot!04061502 no wonder with view like thisAn easy downhill walk all the way to Cours Mirabeau, and we’re seated in the sun for a delicious lunch at L’Estello,04061502 wonderful lunch on Coursso bright that a “hat” is required!04061503 a hat requiredWelcome to our place for an evening aperitif! 04061503 aperoAnd then a robust Mahler symphony, the stage packed with an orchestra 200 strong, PLUS a chorus of hundreds! Quite a contrast to last night’s two-person concert, and that’s how we like it – we include a variety of venues as well as ensembles, from full orchestras in a symphony hall to a duo in an historic intimate theater on a Music and Markets Tour – we love it all! 04061503 two on stage last night two hundred plus tonightMahler’s Second Symphony is known as the “Resurrection” and as the choir quietly joins the orchestra in the final movement, we’re waiting for what must be coming…the powerful full-voice jubilation of “Rise again, yes, you shall rise again, my dust”. I get goose-bumps just remembering it!

 

Back Home in Aix

Back Home in Aix

Thursday-Friday, April 2-3 , 2015
Aix-en-Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to summer – join us on the fabulous Amalfi Coast in July?

We say goodbye to a gray drizzly Paris, (and after an hour and a half whizzing south, finally see the sun somewhere over Burgundy)04021501 burgundy sun finally

then hello Aix, where the sun almost always shines!04021501 hello again rue adansonSettling in, we take it easy since we’re still struggling from the colds we got from standing out in the rain before going to Paris, stroll around at sunset, 04021501 sunsetand by Friday we’re ready to go.
We walked through the flower market on our way home yesterday just a little too late – the vendors were loading blooms into their trucks. But friendly Martine is on Place des Precheurs today, 04031501 am flowers too late yesterdayand I walk home past a favorite square with an armful of spring pastels for our mantel.04031501 by favorite place on way backLong-stemmed tulips in a pale apricot – delicious!04031501 long stemmed tulips this timeMusic and Markets Aix Easter Festival Tour starts tomorrow, and today we’re running errands: picking up concert tickets, finishing up bathroom painting, and trying out new-to-us restaurants. Aix’s one historic center Michelin-starred restaurant, Pierre Reboul, has a playful, less expensive, sidekick next-door, Petite Pierre. Is this the coolest take on caesar salad?! 04031501 michelin in town caesarAfter an interesting and delicious main – a Pastilla of lamb, shredded and wrapped in phyllo, chocolate, always a good choice, is the finale.04031501 reasonable treatsMore errands,always a pleasure when there are so many interesting things to notice as I walk – such as this Spanish-themed Repetto window. 04031501 repetto spainWe take the “long” route to dinner, just to enjoy a few more views on the way to try out another new to us restaurant. 04031503 eveningHidden in plain sight, right on a main shopping drag, is a creperie in an old olive oil mill. We’ve passed it for years, never noticing, until Lynne wrote about it on her Aixcentric blog. Well obviously everyone else knows about it – as we sit and enjoy our dinner every table is eventually filled – good thing we called to reserve!04031503 resto researchAnd the crepes are delicious, along with some unusual pear cider. Yes, we’ll be bringing our Music and Markets guests here, and telling our Ambiance d’Aix renters about it too! 04021502 goodnight moonGood night, Aix – it’s wonderful to be back!

Mimosa and Valentines in Aix

Mimosa and Valentines in Aix

Valentines Weekend, 2015
Aix en Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to Spring – how about the Prague Spring Festival in May?

What better place for Valentine’s Day than romantic Aix en Provence?! Mimosa is in season, golden masses tumbling from the florists buckets. I’m imagining this guy asking a friend “what do you think she’d like?”02141501 FlowersWe choose Valentine’s flowers together – stems of red Amaryllis, which will slowly open, extending the pleasure through the week ahead.
Another vendor has added a few rows of single rosebuds to his stand  – a Valentine’s special.02141501 Mimosa or a rose And I’ve never seen so many men walking through the streets with a lovely bouquet in hand!
Patisseries are also doing a brisk business – the line’s out the door at Aix’s best, Bechard.02141502 bakery lineWe’re planning to cook dinner together in our new kitchen, and peruse the market stalls for just the right ingredients. Shall we start with snails?02141502 escargotsNo – we’ll keep it simple at home, but start out with an apero at Cave d’Yves, a cozy wine bar.02141502 out for aperoThen a romantic stroll through favorite lanes02141502 romantic stroll after dinner

and squares. Recognize this one? There’s usually a bottle or two of rosé cooling in the fountain….in the warmer months.02141502 rose not nowWe continue celebrating on Sunday, sharing our new kitchen with friends. First an apero in the living room – see those amaryllis shyly opening?02151501 chez nousXavier called to let us know he would bring a starter….and what a starter it is!02151501 starterTruffled eggs!02151501 truffled eggsHappy Valentine’s Weekend!