Meanwhile, two weeks have passed and I lost track of all the things I have seen. This weekend I took a longer trip to Aix on Provence and then I stopped for a few hours in Marseille.
Aix is the historic capital of the Region of Provence and mostly well-known because of Paul Cézanne, who lived here, and other artists, who met here. I attended a guided tour in French, almost broke my neck when overlooking a curb and I experienced the “Mistral”, a cold wind that “befalls” the area unexpectedly now and then. It brought my first rain-experience and chilly hours in Southern France. Having come from mild and friendly Nice, my warm clothes were safely stored in the cupboard (stupid me) and I had to borrow a warm jacket from friends.
Aix boosts a number of exceptional fountains, I think it was over hundred. Some of them used to be fountains with sculptures in the past and herds of sheep and goat were brought here to drink, but over the centuries the calcification process has overgrown the sculptures and created unique small biotopes instead. Migrating birds, who use the fountains for drinking, have brought seeds with them, so today one finds plants on these fountains from tropical areas that are normally not found in France.
Otherwise Aix has the typical charming medieval houses in different grades of decay, condition and trim…
…wonderful, wonderful markets with local and fresh produce,
…cute little electric buses that one can hop on for easy transport or one can get run over by them, because you can’t hear them when they sneak up on you from behind…
…and an amazing cathedral that combines pretty much all architectural styles between the 12th and 17th century. It really has a unique atmosphere. Unfortunately it seems that the French don’t care about their monuments, at least the façade was in poor shape at many places, as damage after war was not restored.
Unfortunately I was too late for the most important museum with paintings of Paul Cézanne. Well, a reason to come back.