Monday, August 15, 2011

An Escape to Aix...

Well, we finally took a few days off to go see the world and spent the weekend in Aix en Provence.  Such a pretty drive (even taking the A8 highway), and a lovely little town.  


As you can see by the map, it's city center is inside this main road that circles it.  There's still housing and life outside the "barrier", especially some REALLY elegant old homes, but most of Aix is what you see from this map.  And you could walk it all.  (Looking at the above map)...The bottom left corner is where you enter from the direction of Nice, the green is the Old Town, the bottom center is the big Rotunda drive with the huge fountain (pic below) dating back to 1860, and off of it going to the right is the main street Le Cours Mirabeau (also below) with it's fountains, old mansions and cafe society. Cours Mirabeau was created in 1649 and was a street for horse drawn carriages. There is so much history here to see both in Art and Architecture.  

It seems like the town centers around a very elegant Old Town, which is a mecha for good shopping.  (I must come again one weekend by myself just to do a shopping frenzy!)  Unlike the Old Towns of other places I've visited, Antibes, Nice, Menton, this one is totally lacking in the tchotchkes shops.  Thankfully.  There are the usual soap shops, specialty food shops, and candy shops, but all quite nicely done and without the hoopla hanging outside their door.  Which can be fun, but the lack of it here really suits this town.  And not to be forgotten...the open food market!

Tomatoes the size of her head!

And of course lots of cafes and restaurants, a real cafe society.  Both James and I felt like we could live there happily.  One cool thing, besides the rich history of Cezanne and Zoya, are all the wonderful little fountains.  Well, and the one BIG fountain (pic above) right in the heart of it all.  

In addition to seeing the town we took a drive to the nearby Chateau le Barben that's over 1000 years old with medieval underparts still open to see.  Then we played at a fun park with animated puppets called Le Village des Automates.  There are these little themed houses and inside there are robotic creatures telling a story or singing, and here and there through the park are things to climb and swing on as well as a water sprinkler area.  One for the parents, one for the kids. :)

Entry to the gardens outside the Chateau

Careful...the toys in France are vicious!
The destination was only 2 hours away.  Yes, only 2 HOURS!  You can go so far in such a short time frame here.  Well, this was so easy to get to, I need to go plan more outings.  Now I'm on a roll......Italy?  Spain?  Germany?  Corsica?

Thanks for coming along!

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