Thursday, April 18, 2013

Aix-en-Provence, the Cambridge of the Sun

Aix-en-Provence

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

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. 

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

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.

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

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. 

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

4 comments:

  1. I've been lurking on your blog for a couple of months now and I thought it was time to say hello! So, hello. I'm also from New Zealand and Melbourne (I admit to being a kiwi when it suits me) who now lives elsewhere. Lovely blog, words and photos.

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    1. Hello! Your comment is lovely; I'm so glad you like my blog! It's also always exciting to hear from others from New Zealand and Melbourne - where in NZ are you from?

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    2. I'm from Wanganui and spent a few years in Auckland before we moved over to Australia. How about you? I also spent a couple of summers teaching in Cambridge so your photos from there made me feel quite nostalgic for the good ole days of drunken punting :)

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    3. I'm from Whangarei, but have spent much more of my (teenage and adult) life around Auckland, so don't really know Whangarei as well as I should. I live in Cambridge, so I have many many more photos of the town that I should put up on the blog at some point. I haven't been punting in such a long time, though; I'm excited for warm weather!

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