Monday, June 8, 2009
When I was 18 I spent a semester studying in Nice, France. I traveled most weekends and visited many cities in Provence—there was a trip to Eze, an afternoon in Saint Paul de Vence, and of course an outing in Antibes. I saw a lot. But when I got back to California, everyone asked me the same question: “What did you think of Aix en Provence?” Aix en Provence? Oops. Missed that one.
It’s been a long time since I lived in Nice, but I still haven’t forgotten about my oversight. An ancient Roman thorn in my side, the beautiful spa town beckoned. And so I went. I saw. I ate.
A friend and I spent the last two days in beautifully sunny Aix with no agenda whatsoever. Accordingly, we followed a strict regimen of food, walk, coffee and pastries, walk, wine, walk. Repeat as necessary for two days.
Our leisurely gluttony took us on a lovely tour of the historic city. It went something like this:
Les Deux Garcons:
Breakfast of Chantilly-laden hot chocolate and croque monsieur while watching the world go by on the Cours Mirabeau.
Le Clos de la Violette:
Michelin starred and perfectly relaxing, four hours passed by in a wonderful haze of pink champagne and gastronomic delights at the best restaurant in Aix en Provence.
Parisian gourmet food shop with a free wine tasting that wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Earl Grey tea with a two-tiered tray of pastries because the four course lunch just wasn’t enough.
Antoine et Lili:
My favorite Parisian boutique conveniently located in Aix. A new pink silk top left the store with us.
Wine and olives at an outdoor table. In a square. With a fountain. And a rude waiter. Vive La France!
La Tomate Verte:
Daube Provençal, a bottle of wine from the vineyard of the Hediard tasting, and good conversation. A perfect end to an amazing day.
Produce Market in Place Richelme:
Breakfast smorgasbord purchased from cheese vendors, ham hawkers, fruitmongers, and olive sellers. A baguette so fresh it was hot to the touch. Picnic by the fountain on Cours Mirabeau.
La Belle Epoque:
Wine plus coffee plus people watching equals afternoon bliss.
If given the choice, who wouldn’t follow wine and coffee with gelato? Chocolate, coffee, amarena, and caramel, s’il vous plaît.
We support businesses that support Sunday opening hours. A bag of calissons were in order to appease the boyfriends left at home.
Moules frites, vin rouge, lemon tart, and ile flotant for sustenance on a long homeward journey.
To all who still wonder what I thought of Aix en Provence, I finally have an answer: delicious!