So I went to Belgium and the Netherlands without telling you. I’m sorry. I have lots and lots of things to share with you. However, I’ve been wanting to write about my favorite city in France for quite some time now. I promise it relates to recent travel!
In spring of 2009, I studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence. I adore this city and miss it so; because the north and the south just don’t compare. Because I miss having a market outside of my house every day. Because even though the Mistral is wicked the sun in Marseille makes is all worth it. These are a few of my favorite things…
Cezanne’s studio is located in Aix-en-Provence, and was my favorite spot to take visitors. But you can find traces of Cezanne all over the city. I always used to go running along the Chemin de Bibemus, where Cezanne sat to paint the mountain Sainte-Victoire. I will never forget the ochre paths that I see in his paintings – my mom even bought a few prints to keep in our house when a Cezanne exhibit came to Philadelphia.
When Aix was the capital of Provence, the Cours Mirabeau marked the divide between the “royalty” and the “commonfolk”. There are tons of hotel particuliers on the right side of the Cours, called the Quartier Mazarin, where the architecture dates back to the 16th century. To the left side, the cafés sit under huge plane-trees. Famous Francais such as Emile Zola and Albert Camus used to sit in this exact spot! When you sit in a café on the Cours, the goal isn’t to relax and take in the ambiance, but to be seen by the Aixois. Don’t sit without your sunglasses.
Aix is the city of fountains, and just walking around the little streets you will find many hidden treasures. This one is my favorite, and a favorite of many Aixois, called the Quatre Dauphins located in the Mazarin quarter.
Have you ever been to Aix? It is a must-visit if you want to go to the south!