Friday, October 18, 2013

Aix-en-Provence, our home base for two full weeks, WHAT a treat!

Our last trip to Provence was in 2000, and we'd been eager to return for 13 years.
It finally happened in late September, early October, 2013. The best part was we were able to share the joy with long-time traveling companion, Rene, with son Will, and with English friends, Wendy and Graham.

Rene enjoys breakfast at Les Deux Garcons on the Cours Mirabeau (where Cezanne & Zola used to meet for coffee!)

view from the living room of our house on Avenue De La Butte Des Tres Moulins,
up the hill from the center of Aix 

Rene sweeps up while Louie enjoys the pool.

the two chefs

Wendy takes her ease

Will, Graham, and Louie

Graham and Tigrou,
the next door cat who visited us regularly 
Strolling along the famous Cours Mirabeau with its plane tree canopy and many fountains

Scottie & Rene at Deux Garcons dinner

Louie & Wendy

Wendy & Will
Jas de Bouffan, Cezanne's birthplace/family home in Aix. Wendy, Rene, Scottie, Graham 

Rene & Wendy - the house was closed for the season, but the grounds were delightful.
FYI. Cezanne could see Mont Ste. Victoire in the distance to the east and it became one of his most frequent subjects. See below. 

Wendy & Graham at Jas de Bouffan estate
Louie LOVES those roasted chickens with bacon at the market!

seafood at the Aix street market (Tues., Thurs., & Sat.)

Aix flower market 

Louie also loves the sausages, garlic, and mushrooms
Rene, Graham, Scottie, Wendy at dusk near Mont Ste. Victoire east of Aix

Scottie at Santon factory in Aix
Santon are painted, clay figurines often used in nativity scenes. We brought home small santons of chefs!

Louie and Scottie pay homage at the Rue Cardinale house where famed author M.F.K. Fisher lived. 

Cezanne's grave in Le Cimetière Saint-Pierre

Louie and Rene try to get a picture that shows Mont Ste. Victoire in the distance

If you look VERY closely beyond the wrought iron curls, you can see the mountain.

Along Cours Mirabeau at night

La Rotonde at one end of the Cours Mirabeau

Salon-de-Provence, about 25 miles NW of Aix, a perfect day trip

Graham's preference for castles prompted us to drive over to Salon for the day. Thanks to Rene's fine planning, the van was big enough to accommodate all six of us - Rene, Will, Wendy, Graham, Scottie, Louis. The weather was gorgeous and the scenery along the back roads we traveled stunning.

Salon was the long-time home of Nostradamus and where he died in 1566.

Here's the castle - Château de l'Emperi

Will at the castle entrance with examples of the city wide art in Salon
to honor their 2013 designation as a European Capital of Culture

Will & his Mom

street scene in Salon

Wendy & Graham in the military museum at the castle

The city of Salon funded this amazing art project called Doubledisque by FeliceVarini. Can you see the two disks?Over 100 properties gave permission to participate and the color was applied
by artisans and rock climbers using a type of heavy duty painted foil!

time to sit down and take a break

cool merchant's sign

a wedding party added to the magic of the day

Marseille - Musée des Beaux-arts, Palais de Longchamp

All six of us enjoyed a major exhibit titled Le Grand Atelier du Midi 
(From Van Gogh to Bonnardpresented in two museums, the Musee Granet in Aix and the Palais de Longchamp Musée des Beaux-arts in Marseille. Here are a few photos of the latter museum.

As usual, no one is allowed to take photos of the art on display. All of us enjoyed the day, but DON'T ask me about parking in Marseille! THAT was a nightmare.

Here's a link to more information on the exhibit.

The Grand Atelier du Midi/an-exhibition-in-two-parts - Provence, 2013

St. Remy-de-Provence and Glanum - Van Gogh had his most productive period here

Wendy, Graham went home to Hemel Hempstead after a fine week with us, and Will went on to Germany to perform a house concert. Louie, Rene, and I enjoyed a few more days of exploring new places in Provence. The weather was perfect and the drives from Aix on back roads were just gorgeous.

St. Remy had been on my wish list for years, primarily because of its deep association with Van Gogh. He spent a very productive period here near the end of his life, most of that time while he was a patient at the Saint Paul Asylum just south of the town center. After enjoying a large street market and lunch in a lovely, traditional restaurant, we followed the well-marked walking path from the town center to the hospital, surrounded by scenery from Van Gogh's paintings that's still recognizable today.

Saint Paul's is also across the road from Glanum, an ancient Celto-Ligurian site later adopted by the Romans. An inspiring, beautiful historic site.
link to information on Glanum

City Hall square with fountain

l'Aisle ou la Cuisse (obviously named after a film)

Happy fellows

Dessert choices - YUM!

typical street scene, note gate in ancient city wall at the top of the street

One of the signs along the path from St. Remy to Saint Paul's Asylum

Scottie with olive tree full of fruit (see below)

Entrance to Saint Paul's Asylum

Old quarry just outside the asylum walls

typical mountain near Saint Paul's

Rene upon arrival at Saint Paul's

Louie with explanatory sign at the quarry
The amazing arch and mausoleum at Glanum from Roman times,
right there across the road from Saint Paul's Asylum!
Van Gogh's image of Saint Paul's