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Aix is less than two hour ride from Nice – headed west. We enjoyed the gorgeous sights along the way, Provence style homes, and vineyards.  You can easily take a train via Rail Europe from Nice to Aix (unfortunately during the particular day we needed it the trains were on strike and we needed to get to Aix ASAP).

About Aix-en-Provence

Located in Provence, this is the home of famous artist Cézanne. There is a walkway with his name embedded in the streets, and you can tour his studio and go to the quarry which inspired several of his paintings.  You’ll see lots of 18th century fountains, mansions that used to house several generations at time turned into several flats, and enjoy four major markets (flower, fish and vegetable, and clothing, and other textiles).  The buildings and streets itself are less busy and incredibly charming.  For more information visit Aix-en-Provence‘s site.

Day One – A little rain

The night we got in it was raining, but I was prepared!

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We were starving and walked to Chez Grand Mère where I tasted rabbit and squid – off my fellow blogger’s plates as I ordered my usual lamb.  I had already tried octopus in Nice so I figured this would be the time to just try things.

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Day 2 – Markets and Painting

I woke up to room service breakfast at a four-star hotel, Grand Hotel Roi René.  As you can see I got really used to chocolate croissants and yogurt, and my espressos!  The staff was incredibly courteous, and the mattress was by far a favorite by all of us bloggers, just divine.  We absolutely enjoyed staying at this hotel.

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A new day, the sun is shining, and we aren’t in Nice any longer, Aix looks so very uniquely different.  You feel like you are in a small town, but there’s so much to see and do.

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The streets had these plaques giving tribute to local famous artist Cézanne.

Just beauty, all around.

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Be still my heart, Repetto is one of the most darling stores for ballerinas (and wannabes).  Too bad when I was little my mom wanted me to get into ballet but I didn’t like the shoes.  Oh Diana…

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The flower and vegetable markets in France never get old, ever.

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Lavender of course is a very big deal in Provence.  If you go, ask to check out the lavender fields, we didn’t get to see them this time, but they are in bloom June and July I hear.

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A sweet lunch spot at Chez Thome, located 6 km away from the city, but worth the drive and views.  The chef prepares this menu from fresh products.  We enjoyed an incredible Provencal cuisine in this lovely location!  I want my backyard to look like this…

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The pork with mushroom sauce was amazing, I ate every bite.

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My blogging friends: Crystal (mommy), Vivienne (travel photog), Amanda (fitness + health), Kristen (travel vlogger).  We truly do enjoy one another’s company and I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to share experience, advice, wisdom, and spur one another on in this blogging industry.

Then with full bellies, we headed to Château La Coste which is a vineyard and outdoor art museum in one.

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I was a bit more interested in the landscape than anything else, clearly.  Story of my life as a photographer.

Then it was time to wine taste in this case I just took pretty pictures since I don’t drink (Asian glow).

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We checked out Cézanne’s studio where he worked from 1902 to 1906 before he died.  See the narrow side window to the right?  It’s completely open and used for sliding large paintings outside to transport them since the stairs were so narrow.

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We channeled our inner Cézanne’s and created our own memories and drew with Catherine Moullé.  She’s an amazing artist and instructor and she likes to draw things so she can remember them, we were in complete awe.

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And there’s mine!

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Just a few sights around the workshop…

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We then took a walk to our dinner.

I ordered a salad at Café Jeanne so I didn’t take a pic, but I also ordered dessert which was THREE creme brûlées so I did take a pic.  Pistachio, chocolate and vanilla.  Yeah, the whole losing weight thing in France, that didn’t happen.  I’ll call my extra weight a souvenir.

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What a sweet ending to a great day.  I think the streets of Aix love me too.

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Day 3 – Quarry + Candy Factory

We checked out Bibémus Quarry, a pine forest, where artist Cezanne was inspired by, and created some of his pieces.

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This is what happens when no one knows what a quarry is – you come dressed completely unprepared.

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We then headed to a confectionary, Roy Rene Calissons where we had a nice tour of how they make the famous candy.  So let me tell you about this candy!  It’s very unique, and dates back to the 14th century and was made just for royalty, it’s made from melon, sugar, and almond.

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Just filling up my French tin with some goodies.

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Then lunch time at La Fromagerie, known for their cheeses.  We ate upstairs and had a lunch that was just too pretty to eat, but I was hungry and I ate it anyway.

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Then we hopped on our Rail Europe train for a quick ride to Marseille.  See you there tomorrow!

Have you seen my 3 minute video tour of France?  Click here.

Equipment used: Sony NEX-5R (c/o), 50mm f1/.816mm f/2.8 + 18-55mm (c/o), 18-105mm f/4 (c/o)

Diana Elizabeth brought back the calisson candy and Mr. Wonderful really liked them! 

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