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Aix-en-Provence, October 2010

We spent the first half of October in a rented place near Aix-en-Provence, a part of France that I have always wanted to visit (and the favourite hang-out of Paul Cézanne).

The TGV is a great way to travel. We took the Eurostar from London, through the Channel Tunnel, and changed platforms at Lille to get on the TGV. It is very smooth and quiet - at 186+ MPH it doesn't seem to be going all that fast, until a train passes in the opposite direction!

At the Aix TGV station this sign offers free recharging of your electric vehicle... a sign of the times, you might say!

Early morning at our rented place (La Pistache) just to the east of Aix-en-Provence... it's going to be a beautiful day!

Walking downhill from our house, we passed lots of nice places...

... at the bottom of the hill is one of many reminders of local history

Crossing the road, we got to a a park-and-ride place providing access to the Bibémus Plateau, part of the Montagne Sainte Victoire area

Walking up to the Bibémus Plateau, looking back across the valley (our house is there somewhere)

Many interesting rock formations...

... and a very pleasant place for a quiet walk

Vauvenargues, a hill village about 15 minutes drive from our house, heading away from Aix (on the north side of Mont Ste Victoire)

A window right next to our favourite cafe terrace

The last resting place of Pablo Picasso

We had only 3 days of rain in the whole fortnight. Even in the rain Aix is a nice place!

The main market square, unusually quiet!

Aix in the sun...

It's the middle of October. In a few days winter will come to England...

The wonderful market in Aix

Mushrooms... more mushrooms... and the chairs belonging to the cafes that use the same area when the market closes around 12:30

We bought some red tuna from here which made a fabulous component of a Salade Niçoise

The electric taxi/bus, making the rounds

The flower market

It was quite windy at times!

That little contretemps brought a smile to this seller's face...

The Place Hôtel de Ville, just to the north of the market square, containing several cafes that made a good meeting-up place

The famous mountain painted so often by Paul Cézanne, mostly from this direction. It looks conical from here, but this is only the western end of a long mountain (see later pictures looking along the south side in the opposite direction)

A windy day, with rain clearing over...

We returned a few days later to the Bibémus Plateau for another view of the mountain - glorious weather again!

The dam built by Émile Zola's father

We drove around to the southern side of the mountain. This is looking west, along the rolling plateau beneath the mountain that is an amazing feature (volcanic, I think). (This is not the Bibémus Plateau, which is out of sight in the far distance.)

The Château de la Barben, about 1,000 years old, modified several times and slightly damaged by the 1909 Lambesc earthquake. It is still lived in and you can stay (or even get married) here.

For some reason this reminds me of the Narnia stories...

Back at our rented house, at sunset on one of the few rainy days

Early next morning... a bit misty... it's going to be another beautiful day

I am wondering if this tower that we could see from our house is the Tour de César painted by Cézanne?

Sunset on our last evening... A twig acquired by my wife for artistic purposes, resting in a last gleam of sun on our neighbour's garden table

We will have to come back here one day

If you liked this...

[Our family recipes (good for a self-catering holiday in Provence)]