The idea of going somewhere specifically to do work is kind of stressful for me, but really the flight to Aix-en-Provence always changes my mind. On the left, mountains float like clouds above the blue land, and the puffs of smoke from power stations in the valleys look so insignificant seen beside them. I think perhaps there's nothing lovelier than the descent into a Provençal airport, with the blue of the mediterranean and the orange glow of warm land. In the Marseille Airport's low cost carrier terminal, everything smells immediately of soap and sweat and honey. The bus pulls in five minutes from Aix's centre, and it's possible the Cours Mirabeau at dusk on a Sunday is the happiest street in the world.
Aix-en-Provence is a difficult city to photograph, all bright sun and stiff shadow, light filtered through leaves and trees throwing their outlines on buildings. The Cours Mirabeau stretches on like a piece of music, blocks instead of bars, and to compress the rhythm of the fountains into one photograph would be to miss the point.
I never really see photographs that do Aix justice, and mine are definitely no exception. It might be that images show a town without temperature, and the heat of Aix-en-Provence is beautiful. It's the sort of heat that makes you feel happy and safe and at leisure even when you can't be, and this is perhaps why the city has a certain tropical shabbiness, more plastic signs advertising pizza stalls than designer cafes.
But, well, I was productive for a little while and thought I'd reward myself by going for a walk and taking a few photographs. I didn't go to the Pavilion Vendôme, which I think is really Aix's prettiest place, so I may take some more photos at some point soon, but for now here is something of this Provençal city of students and tourists.