An Extravagant Saturday in Aix

An Extravagant Saturday in Aix

Saturday, May 21, 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?

Extravagant? Why? Because there is so much to enjoy in Aix today that we can’t even fit it all in! We begin by meeting friends for coffee at Pain Quotidien, 05211601 coffee with friendscatch up on each other’s news, and make plans to get together in August when we return (can’t wait to see Bénédicte,s latest garden folly – a treehouse!).
Then off we go to troll the markets – we need hats for tomorrow’s garden day. What do you think?05211601 hats for the garden 5 eEspadrilles, anyone?05211601 espadrillesWe pass by Cezannés last dwelling on our way home, noting the tall and wide window of the studio he had built on the top floor – 05211601 stroll by cezannes house upper studiowe’d never noticed that before, but recently read about it and looked high to see it for ourselves today.
Later we begin our gallery/museum wander…first the latest expo next door, beside the lovely cloister by the Palais de l’Archevêché.05211601 square archv galleries cloister The artist’s scenes of Venice remind us of our stay there earlier this year – could we fit a canvas in our suitcase??
This evening, from 7 until midnight, is Open Museum Night, and from one end of town to another there are special events in the glorious old buildings, all free entry. We begin at the Museum of Old Aix, where a guitarist strums on the grand staircase as we enter. 05211602 aix old museum guitaristThe rooms are filled with treasures of ages past – gorgeous mirrors, exquisite doll houses, 05211602 aix open museum from 7 12tall room dividers with scenes from centuries ago. And the building itself, a former home of an eighteenth century nobleman, remarkable both inside and out.05211602 museum of old aix ceilingNext stop, the Museum of Tapestries, in the Archbishop’s Palace just beside our apartment. Ascending the grand staircase, 05211604 stairwaywe pause in a room lined with fabulous tapestries05211602 palace tapestry museum as an ensemble warbles ancient Jewish tunes.05211602 palace art below music above video tooWe’ve visited Aix’s main art museum, the Granet, several times, but step inside the crowded courtyard to watch some energetic and emotional modern dance, then stroll through a room or two of art, 05211603 granetbefore walking by the Four Dolphins fountain on the way to Cours Mirabeau.05211603 quatre dauphinsThis evening is also the finale of Journées d’Eloquence, Days of Eloquence, literary performances commemorating the Resistance in France. We’ve seen readings in front of the Town Hall near our home, music and dance in an open-air shopping mall, and tonight, on the Cours Mirabeau,as a chorus sings and a narrator speaks, a line-up of actors dressed in World War II period uniforms and clothes help the audience picture what the words express. 05211603 rjournees eloquenceAn officer and staff roll off in the vintage car, flags fluttering, as the program ends.
At the other end of the Cours the full moon peeps above the horizon,05211603 rotonde moon and we walk by yet another of Aix’s beautiful fountains on our way to the last event of this extravagant Saturday.05211603 to pav vendome The Pavilion Vendome has been taken over by young artists, and one after the other flash their techno creations on the elegant façade 05211603 vendome atlantesas the crowd sits on the grass, oohing and aahing at the sight. A day FILLED with the delights of Aix!

Aix en Provence – Ville d'Art, Ville d'Eau

Aix en Provence – Ville d'Art, Ville d'Eau

Thursday-Friday, March 15-16, 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

Isn’t it great when a plan works? When we were in Aix last month we saw posters advertising a concert – Mozart’s Requiem at the cathedral – and started brainstorming. What if we return a couple of days earlier than planned, on a flight that gets us here in time to take a nap before enjoying that wonderful music?
Our flights were on time, the shuttle to Aix was ready to depart when we exited Marseilles airport, and our bed was ready for us to fall into. But first, a hearty lunch. The plat du jour ( daily special) at the Archveché Café next door is gigot d’agneau, tender pink slices of lamb.
Delicious- stomachs full, now we can nap.
We can usually purchase performance tickets at the door, but thought we’d better make sure, so called before sleeping, only to hear that the concert was complet – full. Sure didn’t expect that in the huge cathedral. “Oh couldn’t you fit in two more people – we flew in from the States early especially for this concert!” I begged. “Meet me early at the door and I’ll have tickets for you” Laurent kindly replied.
In the dimly lit cathedral, the glorious music of Mozart surrounds us, packed in with hundreds of others. Although the video is dark, you can get a hint of the beauty of the place and the artistry of the performers from Prague – the Czech Philharmonic and soloists.
Lots of errands to run, as usual when in Aix… and after a Friday morning spent criss-crossing the town, we pause for lunch at Le Piston, on pretty Place Gilly. This area always reminds us of dreams-come-true…. as we sat by the fountain one sunny summer day, enjoying yet another delicious provençal lunch, we commented “why do we keep waiting to spend more time here, as we’ve talked about for years? Let’s take a month and LIVE here, studying French, working remotely.” So the next January, in 2009, found us doing just that. One thing led to another, and in January of 2010, while in Aix again, we began apartment hunting in earnest…. not part of the original plan, but certainly a dream come true!
Once a year the talented amateurs of Musique et Médecine (Music & Doctors) give a benefit concert, and, happily, it happens to be this weekend – the same program both tonight and tomorrow. We invite our lovely neighbor, Madame Tomme, with whom we enjoyed several concerts in August, to go with us. She’s already booked tonight- the vernissage (pre-opening night) of a special exhibition at the Musée des Tapisseries next door in the former Archibishop’s Palace. She describes the show to us – saying it’s about the history of water in Provence – and asks if we’d like to go with her. So we decide to postpone our concert outing to Saturday, throw on more appropriate clothes, and we’re ready to go.
And what a fascinating evening it is – the exhibition is titled Le Temps de l’Eau, and with the help of interested Aix residents and the director of the tapestry museum, this melange of art, in multiple formats, by artists from many countries, has come to Aix, Ville d’Eau, Ville d’Art – the city of water and art – how appropriate!
At the base of the majestic staircase is a video of a man floating in water,

a powerful wave graces a wall, a video panel shows scenes of water falls,

paper boats “float” on “ponds” in a salon.

This is the first time we’ve been in the museum/palace, so we’re also wowed by the elegant rooms

with a few gorgeous antiques,

and massive tapestries telling the tale of Don Quijote.

After a leisurely viewing, we’re all invited downstairs for introductory remarks, nibbles and drinks. We learn that TMTTR, as they call the exhibition, started ten years ago back home in DC!

What fun to chat with the artists, who are thrilled to be living in Aix for a couple of weeks as they set up the exhibition. A couple of them are from Arlington, and want to get together when we return.
We never know what delights we’ll encounter when we come to Aix – no wonder we can’t stay away for long!