Aix en Provence

Mind bend sans drugs…

Looking to take a trip without the necessary evils? A visit to the Foundation Vasarely will do it. A long term fan of the work of Victor Vasarely, the master of optical illusion, I just had to check in. Over 70 photos later and you can correctly conclude that my mind was both blown and bent; thus necessitating a few deep breathing exercises, a splash in a fountain and a soothing Vin rosé…or two. Are you a fan?

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The Foundation is just outside Aix en Provence. If your a fan, add a visit to your list when next in the region. Check opening times as the venue closes for lunch, bless!

Bike short bulges!

Got your attention? There’s an Iron Man comp in progress in Aix en Provence today. I discovered this by following the beat…the welcome to the finish line doof doof beat…heck it even made me want to join in! Shame I don’t rock Lycra, not in public anyway. Used to seeing the rangy, lean forms of serious competitors in Australia, I can’t help but stare at the beautifully sculpted equivalent here. Stringy calves and skinny arms replaced with quality definition, shoulder to ankle…and the bits in the middle too! (No photos out of respect)

Dragging my salivating self away, I wander up the Cours Mirabeau, lose myself and discover why Aix is oft referred to as the ‘city of fountains’. 20130923-091358.jpg20130923-091512.jpg
The fountains? They’re everywhere; one of natural hot water and covered in a dense growth of cool green moss and ferns, others upholding statues of important folk or various obelisk and still more mere fonts pressed into action for hand washing, doggie drinks, cooling feet and for splashing in on a hot summer’s day.

20130923-091001.jpg20130923-091253.jpgIn every square under leafy canopies and along the curved narrow alleyways there are bars and bistros spilling with beautiful people for the city is home to a huge batch of top notch Universities. I select a bar and observe the city morph into dusk over a chilled cider. Couples everywhere. Loneliness replaced with speculation as I observe a pair nearby enjoying a carafe of chilled rosé. In their 60’s, German, silent. Not a word. I suspect a companionship so comfy they simply don’t need conversation.

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Markets abound. They’re fabulously enticing. Different ones almost daily. Clothing and home wares that meander for miles around half the old town. A daily lush, fresh produce market piled high with fat green and black glossy grapes, cheeses, cured meats, seafood, mushroom species I’ve rarely seen, deep velvety aubergines, baby carrots, zucchini flowers. Yes! Flower markets too, blossoms, plants and small trees abound…a fabulous feast for the senses.

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Trying hard to spot a grimace but it seems the men enjoy as well. Small dogs munching on salami tit-bits, kids in strollers chewing on baby sized baguettes, me on a Palmier and all of us supping caffe, glaces, vin or a bière over a lazy lunch. Je pourrais vraiment m’habituer à ça. I really could get used to this…

Today’s mission? A snap of every fountain! Below the Cours at dusk.

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Aix en Provence…La Maison de Carlotta

Aix en Provence, slap dab in the Provence-Méditerranée region, plays host to an excessive proportion of incredibly attractive, insouciant young people thanks to it’s Universities and thus requires a discreet vantage point for people gazing. Our aim is to do exactly that, preferably with a nice robust red (damn the wine is cheap in this country!) in hand, but not before hitting the markets and giving in to salad stuffed Baguettes, little baskets of the juiciest lush strawberries and a very big squishy Mille Fuille treat for Roscoe.

20120131-191243.jpgBut I digress! Continuing on my ‘fabulous finds – Apartements, Maisons, Villas etc’ theme, let me tell you about the delightful Maison de Carlotta situated just a skip and jump from the thriving heart of Aix en Provence.

On the narrow rue Frédéric Mistral requiring single file walking and necessity to store the car several blocks away, we find a door in a wall, buzz and are warmly welcomed by our host, the lovely Arlene then led up a serious amount of stairs to her Salon where she provides a delightfully French laced English orientation.

A coffee table piled high with art books, magnificent white baby grand piano, plump furnishings, gauzy curtains wafting in the gentle breeze, soothing concerto playing, a jug of fresh squeezed juice, crystal glasses…this is French Provincial decorating at its best! Massive sigh!20120131-191218.jpg

Tearing ourselves away and up yet another two levels to our Maison we see Arlene’s delicate touches everywhere…a simple lace throw posing as a curtain shroud, fat tassels adorning cupboards, linen swags shielding the enormous skylight…I can hardly wait to pull them back to view the stars at nightfall. This time collective sighs! Now…where’s that robust red and a lovely little street bar with excellent vantage? The beautiful people are waiting to bask in our admiration.

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La Maison de Carlotta 9, rue Frédéric Mistral 13100 AIX-EN-PROVENCE France http://www.lamaisondecarlotta.com

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