Sunday, 1 December 2013

Sister Act in Aix en Provence

It's hard to believe I only took these photos a month ago- it looks like the middle of summer! In late October, I popped over to visit my little sister who's studying in Aix en Provence for a year. It's such a gorgeous town and really easy to get to- I flew into Marseilles for only £70 with Easyjet, and from there it's just a short bus ride to Aix.
Because my sister is in university halls, I decided to rent a little room from AirBnB for us to stay in. I'm such a fan of AirBnB- the cheapest hotel room I could find in town was £70 a night and frankly, not very appealing, whereas this room was only £40 a night! It was situated above a couple's top floor flat in one of the old buildings just off the main street in town- so an absolutely ideal location- with lovely views over neighbouring roofs. The room had its own separate entrance so I didn't have to bother the couple who owned it in order to come and go- they just left me the key and voila! I had my own little pad in the south of France for a few days!

This is me in the room, enjoying the last of the balmy October weather!
My sister had organised some lovely things for us to do- we went to see an old black and white French film in the local library on the evening I arrived which made me feel very cultural ( I DEFINITELY didn't fall asleep). 
We also visited the local Natural History Museum. It's a bit more modest than the London version, but it's very sweet- the building it's housed in is stunning- here is my sister Phi and me (below) in front of some of the beautiful old doors inside the museum.

In one of the rooms downstairs there was also an 'art' exhibition of goldfish swimming in glass drops suspended from the ceiling. It was very pretty but I can't help feeling sorry for fish in such tiny spaces- though I know they're only meant to have a three second memory!

We also went out of town to climb a mountain! The Sainte-Victoire mountain is just a short bus ride from Aix-en-Provence which was once home to Cézanne - the mountain was one of his favourite subjects- he is known to have painted it over 60 times. You can understand why- the autumn colours in the trees were just begging to be painted!
It's actually quite tricky to find your way to the start of the mountain trail- you have to cross the reservoir, then take a tiny left almost immediately. Then you have to follow a series of tiny, blue horizontal lines that are painted on trees and rocks to mark the way up the mountain. Occasionally you'll come across a blue cross which means 'not this way or you'll fall of the mountain!' The refreshing lack of health and safety concerns is highly amusing. 

It's about a two hour climb to the top- where we tried to take a selfie, but it's hard to fit two people and a mountain in one selfie.

I'm jolly glad Phi did make me do the mountain climb, as I really needed to burn off the calories we'd scoffed via a number of nutella crepes, salted caramel macaroons, chocolate-orange ice-cream, stone-baked pizza, croissants and pastries like those above (we were particularly fond of what Phi called the 'boob' cake- which was actually meant to resemble a fig!).
We went to a really charming little underground cafe called Coco Boheme where I drank the best chai I've ever had. They have a gorgeous tiny library room that's only big enough for one armchair!

It was so lovely to spend a few days with my sister- I can't wait for her to be home for Christmas, and I'm sure I'll be back over there again in the new year.


Meriel Fox said...

I think I might just go too!

Meriel Fox said...

I think I might just go too!

Anushka said...

Looks like a wonderful trip, beautiful scenery (and the food sounds amazing!!)

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