It has to be said that it is very therapeutic to get rid of a lot of old junk -especially when it's part of the flotsam and jetsam of a former life that itself has been discarded for one reason or another (usually a shipwreck).
|Clearing out at the municipal dump.
Once my mission was accomplished I had the luck to be invited to visit friends in Provence and so I gladly accepted, wanting to clear off after all of this symbolic clearing out. And so it was that I managed to get the tail end of the summer in Aix-en-Provence, Ville d'Eaux, Ville d'Art, with friends and I certainly wasn't disappointed with my trip. While the mornings here in the North-East of France are starting to get a little darker and markedly colder, down in the South, they are still hazy with the heat....
|Hazy morning light in Aix-en-Provence
|Just in front of the old post office
|Fountain Cours Mirabeau
This is one of the fountains on Cours Mirabeau - the most famous street in Aix, where the best cafés can be found. Amongst these is Les Deux Garçons which has had a most prestigious clientèle over the years since 1792 - Emile Zola, Paul Cézanne, Albert Camus, Marcel Pagnol, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.
Former capital of Provence, Aix derives its name from the latin Aquae, alluding to the Roman springs upon which the town was built up. It was founded in 122 BC as a garrison of Gaius Sextius and soon became the town Aquae Sextiae (Waters of Sextius), based on a Gallo-Roman plan, in order to aid commercial traffc between Rome and Massalia (Marseille). In the Medieval period the town flourished and merchants and dignitaries made of Aix the 'Florence of Provence'. At this time the town was protected by fortifications and a wall which bore 39 towers and it is on the remains of this that the Cours Mirabeau was set in the 18th century.
The town is 33km from Marseille, but has a very different feel to this city. There is a dignity and sophistication to Aix although in certain districts it has a small market atmosphere.... The warm colours of the building façades, set off by the bright blue sky beyond is very beautiful and this is only emphasized by the shutters.
|Near Place de la Mairie
A row of elegant buildings - the windows of which sometimes have caged birds which sing away into the hot afternoon. As a backdrop to the town there is the mountain Sainte Victoire, painted by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906).
The tranquility of the area belies the fact that this region is in fact at the mercy of seismic activity, and from time to time slight temors can be felt. No major incident has occurred for a long time - although the two nearby towns of Lambesc and Rognes were flattened by an earthquake in 1909.
Here are one of the old advertising signs that you can still see, and which add great charm to buildings now, although I suppose they were originally considered to be eye-sores! How tastes change!
Well, on that note, safe with the spirit of Provence, I shall go to bed!
A particularly sleepy street view.... Bonne Nuit!