Gracious, golden, shuttered buildings, cobbled streets, cathedrals, museums, fountains, chic boutiques, restaurants and on a busy Saturday, market stalls tumbling out along the winding alleyways and gently shaded squares. Each proud vendor jostling for trade, offering a profusion of locally grown fruit, vegetables and flowers and a variety of temptation expected to be found in a Provencal marché; honey, herbs, soaps, tablecloths and a rainbow of brightly coloured baskets, This is Aix-en-Provence, the city jewel of the Var region of Provence. A charming, university city, vibrant and bustling, home of artists and writers, enthused over by a never ending stream of delighted visitors, whatever the time of year!
Cours de Mirabeau, the most famous street in Aix-en-Provence. On a brisk winter Saturday devoid of its dazzling restaurant awnings which offer much welcome shade in the summer. The plane trees lining its pavements, naked and stark in February, their knotted, stubbly fists stretching fine, wispy fingers up to a velvet blue sky.
Almost a different place in the summer!
Courtyards of grand and opulent, shuttered buildings suddenly surprise you. Almost oblivious to their splendid, historical backdrop, market stall holders spread their offerings in the buildings’ shadows.
Oranges to tempt you,
and in February, Mimosa an iconic symbol of Provence!
Snuggled up in cosy hats and thick jackets to fight off the chill, smiling faces hand over baskets of produce in exchange for a few euros, as it has been done for centuries.
The fragrance of Provencal herbs sprinkled over juicy ‘poulet rotis’ make your mouth water as they turn silently on the spit dripping their deliciousness over golden potatoes, who needs to go home to cook?!
And why would you want to leave this golden city of Provence?!
Download the Lourmarin Travel Guide and the surrounding area of The Luberon, Provence here.