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Aix-en-Provence

But wait, there's more!

Eight(!) nights

Townie scenes. First, here is cafe-life on the Cours Mirabeau, well loved by students and locals and outlanders alike. Then an odd square, one of many sprinkled throughout the warren of streets and alleyways here, its buildings probably dating to the late 17th century. Finally note the ordinary street we'll live on. Our place is one floor up, to the left.

I love petanque (boules), always played as an important part of life's daily rhythms, with a curious, nit-picking camaraderie—often in vacant lots or in parks whose designers are wise enough to leave great stretches of hard earth over which these metal balls may be skillfully lobbed. Scoring is precise, of course, but chatter with friends remains mellow. These are proud descendants of forebears who surely arced those very inherited orbs in the same place: generations at play.

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Shown are ribbed vaulting details of the Cathedral of San Sauveur. The lofty nave is noticeably peaceful within, the only sound coming from the massive 18th c. pipe organ in concert (or if you're lucky enough to be present during practice for the next day's concert). A beautiful cloister is adjacent, and a baptistry whose sunken font dates from the early sixth century. The structure was built atop a Roman forum, whose artifacts are displayed through floor windows.

Aix-en-Provence surely has the most lively as well as lovely farmers market in the whole of Provence. Vendors cope with daily assorted visitors (as well as regular customers) in the same spot of this town square day after day and week after week. I do not clearly recall this exact gal here giving samples of honey to eager kids... but the grand plane trees? Oh, yes, they were here before.

Our apartment is shown here. What a pleasure to discover an available habitation such as this: entirely furnished according to Provençal taste, with nary a stick of IKEA items to be found. It's a splendidly nostalgic site for our last week in Europe, 2024.

You may get the impression we love this very special city...

At the end of this heavenly week, two thoroughly tired Americanos will settle into a cab for the hour's drive to Marseille Airport. Thence an Air France flight back to CDG (Paris), where we'll board a Delta nonstop to Seattle, then home.

Whew.

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Above and to the left are photos of Cassis, a beach  city several miles towards the southeast beyond Marseille. We have tender memories of the place, but a return is unlikely since the place focused on moneyed visitors bound for fun by the beautiful sea....

A fairly typical village in the Luberon region, not far from Aix-en-Provence. This and the view of rampant poppies were taken during a spur-of-the-moment tour that we noticed while perusing ads in the Tourist Information office. This planned visit will find me in similar places, but with several  (better) cameras at the ready.

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Captured during that same earlier trip to the Luberon, this stone face recalls the medieval era when nobility repaired to fine (protected) estates on the hilltops, leaving the more exposed but fertile valley floors for their peasants to till.

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