|Narrow streets in Aix-un-Provence|
I will also add our gratitude to Candice Liddle of Escape Travel for listening to our vague generalities and turning them into entrancing specifics.
We farewelled Nimes, heading east to Aix-un-Provence (pronounce X and known as that by the locals). Its a very pretty city, with the city centre the usual collection of a wide boulevard joined by a rabbit warren of narrow streets and two and three storey buildings which rise straight from the kerb. You navigate these mostly from the cobblestone roadway, jumping to the one person wide footpath - and that person with narrow shoulders - only when a scooter comes roaring past, sounding like a model aeroplane on steroids. Buildings end in sharp cornered angles where streets (an exaggeration for what we would call lanes in Australia) end in confusing confrontations loosely termed intersections. Here in Aix, life is less threatening, with few gypsys and concern for personal possessions.
Sue and I wandered, stopping to talk with other members of our tour group when happenstance bought us together but also offering "bonjour" to any local who might allow us to road test our infantile French. I am able to speak enough to be polite ad order food. Sue, on the other hand, just speaks English in a near perfect French accent, mostly giving the impression she is taking the piss. Its an English heritage she was gifted by her mother.
Down one such narrow street, Sue had a lovely twenty minutes buying a handbag, the verbal exchange conducted entirely in two different languages with no point of confluence except goodwill. It was the warmest conversation she had experienced in weeks. Meanwhile, a few doors away, I was able to resolve the issue of data for the iPad in the local Orange shop - France's equivalent of Telstra and just as despised - with a lovely lady who was honest and direct and spoke as much English as I do French but we both ended in laughter and a warm handshake.
Our time in Aix closed with cafe beside a magnificent fountain in the main square, served by a singing waiter. If there is a happier man in France, it will be an even bigger treat.
|View of the French Alps|
from St Paul
|Sue having a |
At one point I found a large grate which was expelling air from the road tunnels below and convinced Sue she should stand there for a photo. Her dress went over her head in the manner of Marilyn Monroe in the Seven Year Itch. The crowd of pedestrians passing by showed their appreciation.