The approach to the town never fails to stir. As you descend into the gentle valley in which this ancient regional capital lies, you sense that something special awaits, the sentinel presence of Mont St Victoire, which looms up over one edge of the town, providing a clue.
I lived in Aix-en-Provence for a year; a dream come true for my family and I. It never disappointed! I’m passionate about France but Provence is where I know best and Aix encapsulates so much that I crave from the region in one truly magical town. Complete with a rich history and … Read More
A recent trip to this dreamy part of France was wonderful. This irrepressibly charming land lies south of the Dordogne and, for me at least, it is more beautiful and gentler dotted by sunflowers, medieval castles, vineyards and orchards. I have spent many a summer here kitted out as a wench or a queen whilst attending a local medieval festival (Monflaquin) in baking 90 degree heat. This land has a beauty that calms the spirit and is stuffed full of markets, foie gras, rivers, pigeonniers, charming villages and great wine. A very good friend lives here and I’m so glass … Read More
It’s little streets sparkle and inspire. ‘One of the most beautiful villages in Provence’ is a mere 40 minutes drive from Aix en Provence. It lives up to it’s reputation. The minute I found out that Peter Mayle had chosen it as his place to re-settle after a number of years in America, I had to visit. I’m a fan to put it mildly! A year in Provence, Toujours Provence and Hotel Pastis are my favourite books in travel writing. He sums it up so simply and beautifully.
At the foot of the Luberon Massif surrounded by olive groves … Read More
A favourite run by car in Provence is the twisty road sweeping through pine, oak and chestnut trees from the A8 (Aix to Cote D’azur highway) down the D558 to the sea. It’s a little heartstopping in places (if you don’t like heights) but the aroma of pine and the sound of Les Cigalles very soon takes your mind away from that worry. Passing by La Garde Freinet (definitely worth stopping at) I’m heading to my favourite village, Grimaud. Why do we give a place this accolade; beauty, family, where one falls in love? For me, it was a realisation … Read More
My experiences with a scarf usually involve freezing temperatures – necessity rather than style! Mum always says if you don’t wear a scarf on cold, damp days then you will surely catch a cold. After numerous chills and bugs I eventually added this item of clothing to my daily dress – winter only. The scarf was usually a reliable M & S number – colourful and woolly – practical but not particularly stylish. A Danish friend started to return back to London from holiday’s in Copenhagen with gorgeous large wrap-around scarves and I guess I took a little notice as … Read More
After my regular attempts at the French detox (vegetable soup for a day or two a week; see my previous post) and I’m so ready for a sugar fix. Look no further than the beautiful Aix. We all know and love the French patisserie back home…..but what’s missing? the size of the tart, a particular ingredient or an outstandingly un-French server! Maybe patisseries just taste better in their rightful homes…..or maybe I haven’t yet discovered my perfect patisserie in London. Ideas please as I’m coming back for a visit soon.
There are tarts a plenty here, big and delicious … Read More
Ok, I’m dreaming about Starbucks. I know I know…… I should never say such a thing like that when I’m in France surrounded by the highly sophisticated coffee drinking society of Aix.
It starts early with a small black (ordered as un cafe, mainly served in a cup but sometimes in a glass) and croissant (no butter or jam) or if you are English then it’s probably ‘a grand creme’ which is as close as you get to an americano although it’s not the same. The coffee drinking goes on all day and is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. … Read More
A quick hop, skip and a jump down the A8 and the A52 and we are in Cassis. Forty minutes to be exact. An exquisite town too small to cope with the thousands that visit. Mid October and its quieter……. Lovely. Am I really here? This is one of the local beach hangouts close to Aix en Provence and it’s picture postcard perfect.
Living in London for so many years’ I regularly yearned to pop down to the coast, but it never happened as it felt too far away or I was never organised enough.
It’s the second time in … Read More
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 … Read More