Wednesday, August 3, 2011

STAMP #4: Aix en Provence, France

I decided not to do the big expedition today. I slept in, for one thing, and I wanted to start writing about Aix and Vauvenargues. My original ideas for themes have morphed some and I needed to reflect on them. Also visited a tiny village about 4 kms from Aix that has an interesting connection with Cezanne and the Roman occupation.

I thought I should tell about the house I'm staying in and where it is. Just 4 kms due east of Aix off a minor road is Chemin St-Jacques. It is hard to see as it's a tiny, unpaved lane - narrow, rough and bumpy - that winds about a third of a mile down a hillside. On the left I pass an olive grove and a stand of cypress trees. These are like those in Tuscany, tall and pointy like green church spires. I drive in first gear dreading meeting another car coming in the other direction. No room for two and it means one of us has to back up - a very perilous procedure. It's happened twice to me. The last part is very steep, a bit like tipping down a precipice. It's also very rough and the car will bottom if I go too fast. Then 150 metres down at the bottom, I'm home.

The house is a 300 year-old farmhouse that has been modernized and enlarged. The newest addition is the kitchen and dining room, which looks out directly at Mont Ste-Victoire. South of the main house is a new annex - a one bedroomed cottage, kitchen and all. I'm in the main house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, which is cool inside. The patio is shaded by a huge mulberry tree. The pic shows the dining room shutters partly open and a bit of the tree to the left.

The nearest village is Le Tholonet, two kms east. Here Cezanne lived and painted his obsession - Mont Ste-Victoire. I love the rich, red earth of Provence and the stands of plane trees along the roads. I stood in the middle of the road to get this image below, risking life and limb!

IMAGES: (c) Julie H. Ferguson 2011

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  1. How lovely. I've never explored France and would love to some time!

  2. Thank you for the comment, Ruth. France, especially Provence, is rich in history and beautiful. The wines and food make it even better. Try to come every year, but sometimes it doesn't work out.