Les Journaux Française: Part II

I realized it is a Monday so this post might be slightly torturous as we all settle into a new work week. If it’s any consolation, it was painful for me to put it together, because dear LORD I want to be in Aix right now. Pronounced ‘Ex’, Aix-en-Provence is a small town in southern Provence, not too far from Marseille and the coast. We arrived there on a Monday, after taking a quick train ride from Paris (note: the high speed train is AMAZING).

For this leg of the trip, we did something we’d never done before — we rented an apartment for six nights! It was a little nerve wracking, because we had given our payment info and our complete trust to someone over the Internet, but we had absolutely no reason to worry. The apartment was better than promised, and everything I dreamed about for our stay in Aix.

The apartment was located on the Rue d’Entrecasteaux, not far from the center of town and walkable to everything. All the buildings in Aix have that old village look that somehow don’t read as dilapidated, just charming. Our flat was located on the top level, with perfect views down the medieval streets and into a small square below. After getting settled in, we set out to explore all that Aix had to offer…

The afternoon was spent wandering the streets and getting to know the town. Joe and I were both very amused when we saw a garbage truck up a narrow street, and beceause it needed to back out, all the cars behind it had to back up too. Local authorities were called to help facilitate everyone putting it in reverse and getting out of the way. There was something about this that was just very French. Our first night, to recover from all the rich food we’d had in Paris, we stopped by a sidewalk market and picked up lots of fresh vegetables. I made a marinated tomato salad that we ate over the most tender lettuce I’ve ever tasted. And PS — no filter on that food shot. The colors of the veggies were really that vibrant!

Strawberries that are small, tart, but also intensely sweet. Pretty little biscuits all for the tasting. Sachets of vibrant herbes de Provence (I took one home with me — a million times better than any of the store bought versions I’ve purchased in the states!). Woven market baskets for TWELVE EURO. Isn’t Home Mint selling these for like $40 or $50?

Joe and I aren’t huge on doing super touristy things and don’t really make it a priority to see the sights, as it were. We did swing by the Pavillon de Vendome, which is basically just an old (but very pretty) home with lovely gardens around it. Surprisingly, Aix had pretty good shopping! An Hermès, a Zara Home, all the usual suspects. Longchamp bags are HUGE in this part of France, so we saw a couple of those stores too. I was super tempted — the Plage totes that go for $125-$175 here could easily be found there for around â‚¬60!

But to be honest, this is a lot of what we did in Aix. We walked around, and ate gelato almost everyday. Joe stuck to his favorites — chocolate and coffee — while I branched out and tried flavors like citron (though a classic pairing of chocolate and vanilla was probably my favorite!). We had the same girl help us at the gelato place everyday; I think she thought we were nuts. As you walk through Aix, you’ll be strolling up a narrow street and then all of a sudden arrive at a beautiful open square, complete with fountain, a guy playing an accordion, or someone putting on a marionette show. My advice? Stop and grab a cafe noisette (or a beer), relax, and watch the world go by!

Next time: We take a driving tour through the Luberon, and visit the famous hilltop towns of Provence. So pretty, I was even able to ignore car sickness.

{Image Credits: Victoria McGinley for vmac+cheese}

 

 

20 comments

  1. Eileen said: replied:

    I just devoured all these pictures and I want to be there right now! Gorgeous! We rented a apartment in Lucca, tuscany for a week and it was the best decision ever!

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  2. Jess // Curating Style said: replied:

    Gorgeous photos, and I totally agree—I’m all about the nontraditional trip. Touristy things are my least favorite, and I think settling in and getting a lay of the land is king.

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  3. mes bijoux said: replied:

    Aix en Provence is one of my favourites places to live, because it is small town but they have evrything on it! and you still can found lovely, quite spaces. I willing to see your post about Luberon because
    i adore this region!

    http://www.emesbijoux.blogspot.com

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  4. I’ve never heard of Aix en Provence but it looks incredible! I love seeing these little tidbits of your trip–I’m getting serious wanderlust!

    glossymusings.com

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  5. samantha said: replied:

    gorgeous pictures. i LOVE the south of france; it is just so pretty :) xx

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  6. mia said: replied:

    SO pretty!!!!!

    bisous,
    mia

    HEYLILAHEY

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  7. Lisa // Elembee, Etc said: replied:

    Need to go. Now.

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  8. What a dream, and such a genius idea to rent an apartment!

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  9. Marionberry Style said: replied:

    Love these photos and your story telling Victoria. It seems as though you had a relaxed but cultural experience…perfect! And I am one of those “gelato ever day” girls when I’m in Europe too! Why the heck not!?
    XO – Marion

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  10. Nnenna said: replied:

    Thanks for transporting me to beautiful France on this dreary Monday morning! I love that you skipped the typical touristy things and just spent your time exploring the town on your own terms :)

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  11. Katie said: replied:

    I am headed to Aix (and other towns in the South of France) in August and, if it was possible to be even more excited, your photos have achieved that! Gorgeous post, looks like you two had such a fantastic time! xx

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  12. Jess said: replied:

    Your everyday lunch looks AMAZE. Wishing I had that for lunch every day…haha

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  13. Lonely Wife Project said: replied:

    I have friends who rented a place in France and said it was the best way to do it! Also, when we were in Italy we had gelato twice a day I kid you not, so I’m amazed by your constraint.

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  14. Lonely Wife Project said: replied:

    I mean “restraint.” ;)

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  15. Meredith @ Map & Menu said: replied:

    Oh, my! We leave in less than a month for our trip to France and your posts are making me so excited! I cannot wait to see your photos from the Luberon. Also – so good to know about Longchamp deals!

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  16. Bettina said: replied:

    Whoa the longchamp store, mad props for being able to hold off a purchase :) And, that spread looks divine I wonder what the magic ingredient was!

    25 Jun 2012 | Reply
  17. Kerry said: replied:

    Just to the left of that first fountain is the best little pizza place. We go every year. I got a lump in my throat just seeing it!

    27 Jun 2012 | Reply
  18. Michelle said: replied:

    These pictures just took me right back to my trip there over 10 years ago! I loved Aix, it was such a beautiful city. I can’t wait to get back one day!

    27 Jun 2012 | Reply
  19. […] you want to go to France? Live it vicariously though Victoria. Warning, you may get a little […]

    29 Jun 2012 |
  20. Ashley said: replied:

    Quelle belles photos!! I studied in Aix, it’s my favorite place in the world :) Glad you enjoyed and took such lovely pictures!!

    1 Jul 2012 | Reply

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