Aix en Provence , city commune in Southern France, 30kms North of Marseilles. Famous visitors and residents include Paul Cezanne and Ernest Hemingway. Originally the capital of Provence it is often referred to as the city of 1,000 fountains and it has a beautiful medieval quarter partially surrounded by an old city wall. It is home to 143,000 people and now ME…….. Walking along the Cours Mirabeau (elegant main boulevard in Aix) I am seriously on my mettle as I quickly conclude that many ladies here are beautiful and stylish. How hard do they have to work at this? How do they pull it off with such effortless chic? As I’m pondering this I trip on a small exposed pipe on the pavement and break a flip flop. Effortless un-chic! So I limp to a cafe chair in Les Deux Garcons on the main boulevard to gather myself. Two cafe crèmes and one pain au chocolate later and I’m back to pondering the question. How do they look so chic? It’s partly a question of physique isn’t it? Surrounded by baguette, fromage and patisserie it must be tricky…..I’ve only been here a month and its difficult to avoid – I see it and want to eat it!
I asked a French mum at the school. Oh Yes, she said, We pay great attention to our carbs, fat and sugar. We indulge a little and then for the next two days we simply prepare a homemade vegetable soup – a mini-detox I think you call it in England! After two days it’s back to the indulging. I believed her……. These French ladies are disciplined as well as chic. Oh well, maybe a little of this will rub off on me. Back to the people, young and old and let’s not forget the men folk! They really are good at dressing. Scarves feature heavily for both genders. It just works. Let’s not forget the bag – a cross between a shopping basket to take to the market and a fashion bag. They come in many colours as does the scarf. But most important to the look are the shoes. Aix is full of many shoe shops with the most popular footwear appearing to be a very chic converse shoe. Flat or wedged these trainers come in anything from gold to orange to black. They look fabulous and I plan to get a pair soon. Apart from all the accessories , the average Aix woman has an added advantage of their frame…… petite in most cases! Well, enough people spotting for today, I’m going to order my very last pain au chocolate EVER then I’m off to explore Aix and buy a blender for my vegetable soup days and maybe a scarf – its getting a little cooler!