Monday, February 16, 2015
Seaside South of France
The doorbell rings Monday morning – first the electrician to fix a few things, then a morning meeting with potential renters for next year – a lovely couple who would take excellent care of Ambiance d’Aix and really enjoy their time here, I’m sure. Then we’re off to pick up a rental car for some out-of-town errands and pleasures. We stop at Columbus Café, checking it out for a possible meeting place for future Music and Markets Tours.Excellent coffee and pastries, and what a beautiful use of this historic space, a centuries-old chapel!
and not long after arrive at the charming home of Jean Marc and Kristin Espinasse. Kristin, whose French Word a Day blog has been a favorite of ours since she began it years ago, shows off the improvements they’ve made since our last visit – embellished by a lavish gift of mimosa from a neighbor.
Talking about the frigid snowy weather back in Virginia, we relish the beautiful day with an al fresco aperitif – their son Max, studying in Aix, is here today too. The South of France is sure a great place to be in February!Surrounded by olives and pines, with views to the sea (continually improving as Jean-Marc lops off the tops of surrounding pines), this prime spot looks better than ever.The dining room used to have just a small window, and Kristi’s idea of a full wall of windows, with a spacious window-seat built in, has made all the difference.
and this wine from Sicily, which Jean-Marc helped harvest and name (Rosso Azzurro=Rouge Bleu, the name of his vineyard in the Côtes du Rhone which we visited years ago) goes great with Kristi’s delicious lunch,completed with a raspberry tart we brought from an Aix patisserie.Driving back towards Aix, Mt. Saint Victoire fills our vision – it looks so different – long rather than a triangular peak – from this direction!
We’re on the hunt for a slender rail for the renovated bathroom stairway, and stop at a favorite destination, Materiaux Ancien, north of Aix. What a treasure trove of beautiful ancient objects!How about a Washington monument for your front yard?
Or a cooling basin for those hot summer days?We stop to talk with an ironworker too…but we still haven’t found just the right solution for our narrow bathroom stairs. Several times when we’ve talked with hardware salespeople or those involved in construction they listen to our description, ask us where our apartment is, and then knowingly nod, “oh yes, an Aixoise apartment…” . Guess Aix is notorious for these ancient historic places, where builders through the years have done their best to fit in the necessary modern trappings into any available space.