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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