Destination: Aix-en-Provence, France

Hello! 🙂

Now, after a long *and rather hectic* four-night stay in Nîmes, as well as day trips to a couple of nearby, picturesque towns, I finally left for the next destination of my week-long trip in the south of France. Next up was Aix-en-Provence, a town famous for its sweeping lavender fields and lavender products (from soaps to sweets).

Unfortunately, I was not able to see the beautiful lavenders in March, as they tend to be in bloom in the summer (sadly, I won’t be around to see them). And truthfully, there isn’t a whole lot to see in town, but nevertheless, I had a decent, albeit short stay in Aix.

Caught my BlaBlaCar ride over from Nîmes in the morning, and arrived an hour and a half later in Aix. First impressions of the town didn’t look very promising, as the skies were overcast and bleak-looking. Thankfully, it didn’t rain during my time there, but still, the grey clouds kind of dampened my impression of Aix.

Any case, I headed over to Cours Mirabeau, which is a long, widely-spaced street that is lined with cafés, souvenir shops, and whatnot. Definitely has a rich, touristy feel to it, reminiscent of les Champs-Élysées in Paris or Las Ramblas in Barcelona.

Cours Mirabeau.
Cours Mirabeau.

Next, I wandered through the narrow, quaint streets off the Cours Mirabeau. Very charming, with the cobblestones and old, yellow buildings- felt very medieval.

One thing that I wanted to try in Aix-en-Provence were les calissons, which are a type of sweet confection made of candied fruit, ground almonds, and icing sugar. They come from the Provence region, and so I wanted to try it, for locality’s sake. Bought some at the Confiserie du Roy René, a candy store that specializes in making calissons, its tradition since 1920 or so.

Another thing that I purchased was a bar of lavender-scented soap, as the Provence region is famous for its lavenders and lavender products, which I had mentioned earlier. Don’t know if I will ever use it, but I consider it a nice souvenir nonetheless!

Lavender soap and calissons!
Lavender soap and calissons!

After getting my souvenirs, I headed over to le Musée Granet, a museum with paintings and sculptures from artists like Picasso, Renoir, Cézanne, and others from the 19th and 20th centuries. Personally, I found the museum a bit…lacking in terms of paintings, especially from those like the ones just listed. Luckily, the entrance ticket that I had received there not only was free (showing my *secretly expired* university-student card helps!), but also doubled as a ticket to the Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs, aka “Granet XXe,” another museum (inside of a chapel, no surprise!) which had a more extensive collection of art works from Picasso and the French Impressionist painters, along with some innovative art pieces on the top floor which I found very neat. 🙂

Painting of Cézanne- not painted by Cézanne, though.
Painting of Cézanne- not painted by Cézanne, though.
Picasso painting.
Picasso painting.
Design made from cut cardboard- how ingenious!
Design made from cut cardboard- how ingenious!

Afterwards, I left the Chapelle and went back to Cours Mirabeau, where I sat on a bench along the wide sidewalk and wrote in my journal, passing some time before I needed to head over to the bus station to take the bus over to my next destination. I was only passing the afternoon in Aix-en-Provence, and I believe that a few hours there were enough to see the essence of the town. While it’s a cute, university town, there wasn’t much for me to do. Perhaps if I were to return in the summer to see the lavender fields, then I might get a more full-on experience of the place, as well as the entire Provence region. Maybe, maybe not. 😛

Any case, I left Aix-en-Provence around 16h30, taking the short bus ride over to Marseille, my final stop in the south of France. And just like with the constantly-shifting around craziness in Nîmes, my stay in Marseille was quite the adventure…

…more to come soon! Stay tuned! 🙂

— The Finicky Cynic

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