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?

















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.



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.

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.



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.




La Maison de Carlotta 9, rue Frédéric Mistral 13100 AIX-EN-PROVENCE France

Shopping for the girls…a beer for the boy…

Sunny skies, balmy weather and a leisurely day trawling Aix au Provence Saturday markets…lush bunches of full bloom Peonies for just €5, two dozen long stemmed roses €24, the sweetest strawberries €1! And the boutiques! Soft grey suede platforms, crisp white linen harem pantaloons and €5 floral spring scarves for Pixie, sexy black suede, ever so French sandals and scarves for Fifi… retail therapy and market sated while Dicky trawled his own essentials…beer and chips…and eyed up the stylish young things. This city is home to a renowned international University full of ’em.

20110510-105707.jpgWhen in France, one must reduce one’s bouffant to a chic pixie cut, just €35, cleverly orchestrated through elaborate sign language, gestures and a deftly murdered French pronounciation. A pixie for Pixie! Apt, the name coined by Fifi and Dicky after twice having to wee in forests.

No chubby folk in this neck of the woods….and were just short of blatantly staring at a particularly slender, attractive woman sporting black skinny jeans, a crisp white double cuffed shirt under an exquisitely tailored black cropped jacket all atop sky high kick ass black patent leather Louboutin heels…tres magnifique!

A fond farewell to the adorable Arlene at our Maison and the delightful Aix au Provence. Nice, here we come!





A day in Provence…

What a gorgeous place is this? Jenny’s bespoke travel agenda continues to enthrall. We’ve squeezed Poppy car through impossibly tight cobbled streets and into the tiniest car park where, rather than drag suitcases to our abode for the next two days, a quick transfer of essentials to overnight bags…same clothes tomorrow – the Parisian uniform of jeans and a T, leather jacket and red lippy fits suits the austerity.20110507-054214.jpg

The Pont du Gard Aqueduct, outside Nimes thrills. Incredible engineering considering the Aqueduct was built in 50AD within 5 short years! Amazing chaps those Romans! A quick ‘drive by’ to admire the walled city in Avignon and on to the quaint Aix en Provence. Our B&B digs are at the top of 59 steps in the delightfully appointed Maison de Carlotta, a mere stones throw from the heart of the atmospheric village. Our hostess the lovely Arlene has made us most welcome, furnished us with a robust agenda and we are determined to satisfy.

20110507-054224.jpgOnce settled, Fifi and I canvassed the local culture then settled into a corner bar to sip €2.50 vin rouge and indulge in a spot of people perving while Dicky napped. The exhaustion of navigating our way through the complexity of foreign signed highways, roads and skinny streets taking their toll.

We concur…the women are incredibly stylish – jeans, platforms, fitted leather jackets, slender and exuding a sense of ‘joie de vivre’…often on the arm of equally elegant males…we favor the more rugged but damn these guys make great eye candy!

Finish the day dining Italian, the best steak, saltimbocca and a rustic salmon pasta…




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