May 13, 2013


The journey starts at CDG. After arriving in Paris, I took the TGV from Gare du Lyon to Gare Aix-en-Provence. Since it takes only three hours, why would anyone prefer to take a plane to Aix? The cattles, the sky, the grass.. This is the whole point of taking a train!

 Je suis tellement contente avec cette jolie chambre dans une maison à la compaigne! This is a typical countryside house with a large garden and a swimming pool. Sitting in a lawn chair and reading, I feel like I'm in the movie Lolita where the little girl often reads by the swimming pool or on the grass.

 The room is quite different to what I expected, in a good way though. It is well decorated, modern and chic, contrasting with the exterior of the house. It looks extremely lovely in the morning light, so does the breakfast :)

The city of Aix is 10mins away by bus. As you may have heard, Aix-en-Provence is the city of fountains. You can find fountains everywhere in the city - in the street corner, in the carrefour, enven in between two buildings. The most famous one is Fountaine de la Rontonde that situates at Place de Gaulle. The three statues on top of the fountain facing towards different directions represent respectively the Justice, the Agriculture and the Fine Arts. The one representing the Justice leads you to the famous Cours Mirabeau.

 Le Cours Mirabeau is the main street in Aix. It brings fountains, cafés and restaurants together.

 The fame of the city owns credit partly to Monsieur Paul Cézanne. You can find him everywhere in the city just like the fountains. I know it sounds a bit scary but this is the truth. The metal sign on the ground leads you to Cézanne related places such as atelier de Cézanne and sculpture of Cézanne.

A tip: when you are traveling in Aix-en-Provence, be aware that Monsieur Cézanne is keeping an eye on you!

This is the market at the Place de Verdun. You can find different kinds of jewelries, soaps, olive oil and even sweets. Walking here makes you happy because not only the goods are beautiful, the market itself smells good thanks to the lavender vendors and soap vendors.

Although Aix is a small city, it has some museums with great collections. I first went to the Musée Granet. It has a great collection of artworks from 14th to 20th century, including those of Rembrandt, Ingres and Cézanne. Walking in the museum, I thought that if these paintings were in the Louvre, they would have been surrounded by hundreds of visitors at a time. There's no description on most of the paintings so it's a challenge to visit without the help of video guide. But the good thing is you can have your own interpretation of the painting. On the second floor, there was one red wall full of paintings. It was so full that there was no space left for wall labels, which reminds me of Le Salon at the Louvre in 17th century. 
Then I went to the Muséum d'histoire naturelle. It has been ten years since last time I saw the skeleton of dinasours! 

Late in the afternoon, I came to the Pavillon de Vendôme. It was built in 1655 and then turned to a park. The pavillon itself is a storybook.

 The last day I went to the Fondation Vasarely, an art center in suburban Aix. Constructed in 1973, the building consists of 16 hexagonal volumes that inspired by honeycomb cells. Inside the building are 42 large works by Victor Vasarely, who uses geometry, shapes and colors to give the impression of space, volume and movement.

 Montagne Saint Victoire

So this is my three-day trip to Aix-en-Provence. You might ask how about lavender? Well first of all, it's not the lavender season yet; secondly, Provence offers you way more than LAVENDER! What matters to me is the experience of la vie à la compagne.

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