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Mountains, Markets and Music

Mountains, Markets and Music

Summer in Aix 2014

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  How about an unforgettable holiday with us at  New Years’ Jazz in Italy

The buzz continues from morning til night in Aix… when we walked through Forum des Cardeurs, which is packed with restaurants, after 10 Tuesday night nearly every table was still filled, families, friends, couples and groups laughing and chatting as they sipped and supped.

Wednesday began with crashing thunderstorms and heavy rain, but by 11 the sun was out and the market was bustling. We always look forward to Zucchini Beignets from our favorite produce vendor – something I don’t make, but am happy to buy!

As quiet as our lane, rue Adanson, is, it’s always surprising to see the crowds just a block beyond us – and today the main street through old town is packed!

We have an early morning date on Thursday, and meet our neighbors at 6:15 to drive to the countryside for a hike, which they’ve planned so that we can arrive to the view of Mt. Saint Victoire as the sun rises – and it was worth getting up early!

The hike continues to a large dam, built in 1952, and now a part of EDF, France’s electric company.

With such an early start, we’re back to Aix in plenty of time for the big Thursday market. Even if we’re not buying, we enjoy joining the crowds strolling down Cours Mirabeau, where, under the gaze of Good King René,  the clothing vendors spread out their wares just on Thursdays.

You can stylishly outfit yourself from head

to toe.

You can usually find great deals at lunchtime in France on weekdays, and Le Bouddoir on charming Place des Tanneurs is one of the best options in town, with not just one Plat du Jour (dish of the day), but THREE. It’s a lovely place for an alfresco meal, and my pork tenderloin in a grainy mustard sauce is super, as is Kirk’s roulade of sole.

While we were waiting for our table (reservations recommended, especially if you want an outdoor table) Kirk read through a promotional book about Aix hotels, restaurants, and boutiques, and noted one just down the street that had been recently renovated and upgraded, so we decided to check it out.
The Hotel de France receptionist showed us a couple of rooms – really nice, spacious, lovely decor.
The breakfast room was highly touted in the book – a valued historic spot that we were not aware of  – so we made sure to see it too.

The balconies from the front rooms look out on Place des Augustins, with double-glazed windows which keep the rooms peaceful and quiet.

This Place is always packed with diners, walkers, and even cars driving around the star-topped fountain – one of the places where it’s an obstacle course to walk!

The OFJ (youth orchestra) is playing again tonight, this time atop the terrace of the Grand Theatre (where we attended several marvelous concerts on our Aix Easter Festival Tour). The percussion gang lets everyone in hearing distance know that the show’s about to start. Great views, aren’t there? See the cathedral belltower, of which we often post photos when we walk out our front door?

And there’s that mountain where we hiked this morning…

One ensemble after another treats us to chamber music, prefacing their piece with an informative and playful introduction – this quartet is playing a snippet of Mendelsohnn’s wedding march before reminding us that he composed much more than that, drawing on his many life experiences,

and playing one of his beautiful string quartets.