Aix en Provence

Ariel of Hamble
Jim and Valerie SHURVELL
Sat 19 Jun 2010 07:48

Aix en Provence


Monday 31st May, 2010.


After a busy morning we decided to take the coach to Aix en Provence to get away from the howling in the harbour.

It took 1 ½ hours in the coach through some pretty villages.  Although we were high up in altitude and many miles from the coast we could not escape the force of the wind.

Aix en Provence is the historic capital of Provence.  It is a position it held from the 12th century to the French Revolution.  Many of the buildings have been lovingly restored or cared for.

As we left the coach depot we were immediately surprised at the large monumental roundabout with a fabulous fountain centre piece.

It is a large town, but in the centre is a wide street called Mirabeau with lined pavement cafes, plane trees, mossy fountains and 17th and 18th century buildings and it appears quite a bit of promenading goes on here.  There is a large population of students living and studying in the city.

Paul Cezanne, the impressionist painter was born in Aix en Provence and he was inspired by light, colour and surroundings of his birth place. His studio has been left as it was at his death in 1906 and can be visited at 9 Avenue Paul-Cezanne.

We went into the Cathedrale St. Sauveur which is renowned for spanning the 5th to 16th centuries with a mixture of ornate and restrained architecture.  It has many medieval art treasures and beautiful Roman cloisters displaying spiralling stone carvings.

The town has some wonderful shops like Hermes and lots of small dress shops with no prices to be seen.  As we walked through the streets we saw lots of sweet and cake shops but for the first time we found a cake shop with no prices!!!

There is a feeling of wealth as you walk around the town.  It is quite an exciting place to walk as around each corner you come to another square with cafes with beautiful table and chairs or monuments to be photographed.

We were very pleased we took the time to visit this interesting town.

On returning to Ariel we were not as pleased as they had recorded 55 knots of wind and unfortunately, the chain to the block of concrete under the water had broken away and three boats including Ariel had all moved back and hit the stem on the harbour wall causing luckily only a small two inch mark.  The marina divers confirmed the next day the securing tackle was broken.  Another night of howling wind with the fenders riding up and most of the visitors up in the night checking their boats.  Our French neighbour slept in his clothes ready to do anything to secure his boat if necessary. Jim and I were up constantly as we didn’t want any more damage.

The French say that this weather is unknown for this time of year.  A large motor cruiser with two decks anchored in the bay.  Jim and I watched it at night swinging on its anchors.  It appeared as it was motoring along as it was moving so fast, quite worrying.

We were just hoping the wind the following day would decrease.

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