It’s cold. It’s damp. It’s gray. I’m miserable and chilled to the bone here in southern France. But besides the unfortunate weather and my frozen toes I am still able to see that Aix-en-Provence is a beautiful and charming city. If being cranky and wet still doesn’t manage to darken my view of this provincial town, then it must be something. I can only imagine how lovely it is here in the summertime; sitting outside in any of its numerous cafes, sipping a café au lait, watching all the chic locals sashay by.
The town’s main corridor, the 17th century Cours Mirabeau, is the closest thing to Barcelona’s La Rambla or Paris’ the Champs-Elysees. The broad boulevard is shaded by towering, sturdy plane trees and flanked by grand stone mansions, banks, and awning covered sidewalk cafes like Cezanne’s former haunt, Les Deux Garcons.
And just north of this wide artery is the old town – all squirrely with narrow cobblestone pedestrian lanes bursting with flower markets, boulangeries, and trickling fountains at every turn.
The sounds of the crowds echo and bounce off the centuries’ old stone apartment buildings adorned with fading multi-colored wood shutters and thick wooden doors. It’s hard not to fall in love with this town’s medieval charm as have so many others.
Maybe I can live here?’ I think as I wander the corridors dazzled by the old-world feel around me. I guess I just have to add it to my list of ‘favorite small towns’ I’ve discovered while traversing the globe… it’s getting longer and longer and making it nearly impossible to figure out where to return.