Sunday, July 29, 2007

Aix-En-Provence

The fountain in the Place Général de Gaulle at the western end of the Cours Mirabeau.

The first place we decided to visit while in Provence was the city of Aix. It's a university town and Ken was there when he was a student at Duke (back in the olden days). It's a fairly good sized city, with over 140,000 Aixois in residence.


The Cours Mirabeau, before it was re-designed to restrict traffic. Those things in the middle of the road are actual springs, bubbling up on huge mossy rocks.

We spent the morning walking around near the Cours Mirabeau, then had lunch. After that we headed up to where Ken used to live, walking a large loop around the northern part of town, ending up back down toward city hall and back to the Cours.

One of the numerous fountains in central Aix, the 17th century Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins.

Aix proper was founded in the second century before the common era when the Roman consul Sextius destroyed the nearby Celtic capital. He built a settlement around some natural hot springs that were subsequently called Aquae Sextiae, or the Waters of Sextius, which became Aix.

I think I took this photo because of the small sign above the door in the center of the image. It says "Parti Radical, Second Floor."

One thing we had to do while in Aix was to buy some calissons, the little diamond-shaped confiseries or candies that are made there of candied melon and ground almonds. Of course, nearly every patisserie sells them, and there are several outlets on the Cours Mirabeau just waiting for tourists like us. Still, we found some in nice boxes to take back to the states as gifts. Mission accomplished.

One of the many stores that sell calissons d'Aix.

There is so much to see and do in Aix, but we're not real museum/gallery kinds of guys, and while we will go inside churches and cathedrals, there's only so much of that you can do. So we just mainly walked around town, stopping now and then for a glass of wine or a coffee in a café, taking pictures, looking at the buildings and people, and just generally soaking up the atmosphere.

I'll post a few more pictures from Aix in the next post.

4 comments:

  1. Ah! la ville des fontaines ! One of the towns I wouldn't mind living in. I'm sure the weather there is nicer than in your area or in mine at the moment. ;)

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  2. Looking forward to more Aix- a city that I like. I didn't know about those springs, but did notice the mossy rocks.

    The part of Anniston where we live is called "Golden Springs" and there are springs everywhere. Maybe I can cover one in our back yard with a big rock and grow some moss;-)

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  3. claude, don't despair ! The forecasters are predicting warm weather for next week. I'll not hold my breath...

    evelyn, good luck with the moss !

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  4. aix looks ravishingly beautiful, and the notion of springs in the middle of the highway -- as well as that beautiful arch of trees (which disappeared over the past 40 years here in d.c. due to human ignorance) -- just kills me. wandering around a place the way you describe and just soaking things up sounds like the very best way to have a vacation, that is, really get away by being really there, in a place away from home.

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