Aix is a Feast!

Aix is a Feast!

Easter Weekend, April 4-5 , 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’re eager to meet our Music and Markets guest, Elaine, and walk through market squares over flowing with jazz and early spring produce on the way to her hotel.04041501 aix market VIDEO TOO and tour beginsWhat a joy it is to share favorite sights and places once again – all the way from the thermal waters that brought the Romans here centuries ago04041501 termes to Saint Saveur Cathedral, begun not long after the Romans were here.04041501 cathedralWe fill our afternoon with one beautiful square after another, checking out fountains and vistas, take a break, then meet again for a special first-night dinner at Aix’s favorite celebration restaurant, Le Formal.04041502 trio From the foie gras, 04041502 dinner foie gras firstthrough the lamb medley, 04041502 lamb medleyto ” Chocolate Tempation”  we’re delighted, 04041503 chocolate temptationas always, with chef Jean-Luc’s creations.
Easter Sunday rings in with a rousing organ trumpet voluntary at the cathedral.04051501 Easter music video too Elaine’s been studying French and the three of us can follow the Easter sermon pretty well, and then ” share the light”  with the candles handed out as we entered. 04051501 sharing the lightThere’s a lot more going on in Aix today – it’s the first Sunday of the month, so the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville is filled with vintage books rather than flowers.04051502 first sunday book fair where flowersAlthough it’s cool, the beaming sun encourages an al fresco lunch on Place des Tanneurs…04051502 lunch al frescocompleted with my all-time favorite dessert, Café Gourmand!04051502 my faveAnother first Sunday event, the monthly antique and vintage fair, fills the Cours Mirabeau.040515023 cours first sunday antiquesLater, our neighbor, Jean Claude, welcomes the three of us with an aperitif and a tour of his marvelous ceramic collection 040515023 pre concert aperobefore we enjoy the first of our scheduled concerts, an evening of breathtaking violin and piano in the Grand Theatre. We had not heard Maxim Vengerov before, and although we’ve enjoyed other world-renowned violinists through the years, his tender rich sound just enthralls – a new favorite violinist!040515024 marvelous concert From Prokofiev to Dvorak, Kreisler to Paganini (whose Caprice # 24 in F minor had the audience break out in applause after one fabulous pizzicato variation!) we were on the edge of our seats. A couple of French encores, Faure’s Apres Une Reve (which I love playing with my cellist friend Sarah) and Massenet’s delightful Meditation had us humming in memory as we walked past the Rotonde in the moonlight. 040515024 rotonde moonThis first concert of the week will be hard to beat!

Easter Celebrations from Morning til Night!

Easter Celebrations from Morning til Night!

Easter Sunday, April, 2014
Aix en Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Join us on a summer tour on the Amalfi Coast, in Provence, or in Amsterdam/Belgium

We’re welcomed to Saint Sauveur Cathedral by joyous melodies from the organ and trumpets,

and the mass opens with ” He is Risen!”

Protestants all, we feel very welcomed and included in the resurrection celebration,

and as is traditional in Aix, a short combined service of all Christian denominations, with ministers from many congregations participating,  follows the mass. Then of course there’s the “cup of welcome”   – kirs passed out to adults, juices to children.
We explore the Roman traces exposed in a corner of the cathedral as we sip.

Easter lunch is at Bistroquet, where a few of us enjoy our second  foie gras appetizer of the tour… and we’ve just started!

French resident Jill gives Ruth and I scarf tying lessons… perhaps we’ll ” get it”  by the end of the week!

We are so enjoying leading a tour from our home in Aix – what a pleasure to invite our guests over once again,

for an aperitif before our first concert of the Festival de Paques.

It’s a thrilling introduction to the festival, as Gustavo Dudamel leads the Goteborg Symphony in a marvelous program of Strauss, Mozart,

and what turns out to be a favorite of all the group, Sibelius’  symphony number 2. Can tomorrow be even better?!

In the Air and on the Ground

In the Air and on the Ground

Thursday, April 17,n
to Aix en Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Join us on a summer tour on the Amalfi Coast, in Provence, or in Amsterdam/Belgium

What a difference in the views from the air as we take off from Brussels – the browns and grays of winter, seen just a couple of months ago, have sprung into brilliant yellows and lush greens of spring.

From the air, to the bus, and startlingly green trees already in full leaf… again, what a contrast to views not so long ago on our February shuttle bus to Aix. Poppies slash red along roadside fields, and here and there a purple-y redbud tree dots the landscape. Isn’t spring a delight?!

I’m on my own, with just a carry-on bag. Kirk will bring the checked luggage tomorrow, flying the same route, via Brussels, as I have. And, as I hoped, I can quickly exit the airport following my 11:40 landing, make the noon shuttle to Aix, and get here in time for the Thursday flower market. Choosing’s always such fun… even when I’m dragging my suitcase along! Today the tulips win…and they’re a perfect spring touch for the mantel.

I make quick work of the baguette sandwich I picked up after getting the flowers and then head out for shopping and errands. It’s one of those glorious sunny days we love so much in Aix, and so does everyone else – the fountain on Place de l’ Hotel de Ville makes and inviting seat for a picnic or a phone conversation.

Just off the Cour Mirabeau this trio tower draws a crowd each time I pass by.

You can see people looking from every angle, discussing with their friends ” how do they DO that?”. The top figure is a dummy, but the middle one seems to be balanced on a ball, effortlessly held by the man seated on the ground. Hmmm….an Aixoise mystery.