Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Unremarkable Aix

Aix-en-Provence first caught my attention from a Joseph Covington lecture series at the NCMA twenty some years ago.  However, during our trip research, both of us pegged Aix as a tourist trap, not worthy of an overnight.  From our plebeian base of Marseilles, we made the obligatory day trip to the patrician Aix, anticipating the sweet taste of self righteousness.

1. Aix is small.  The only thing that is worthy of the town's grand reputation is La Rotonde, the round fountain, though the square around it is being remodeled.  In fact, half of the town seemed to be remodeled, as if they are readying themselves to be an European cultural capital.

2. The town is so lacking in tourist attractions that it has to tout the walking tour of Cezanne.  After coming across his sister's residence and his mother's funeral site, I stopped paying attention all together.  It's not like he is Marx or Einstein.  I like Cezanne well enough, but not that much.

3. Another thing Aix promotes is its markets, so we timed our visit for Tuesday, a market day.  The main drag was completely lined with big booths, almost 100% tourist shoppers, 99% goods almost definitely not from Provence.  I wonder what their vetting process is like to allow such common peddlers for such a classy town 🙄

I'd probably be happy enough to live in Aix, but as a tourist destination, Aix does not have much to recommend for itself.

La Rotonde.
Aix-en-Provence

The Tuesday Market.
Aix-en-Provence

The footsteps of Cezanne.
Aix-en-Provence

The vegetable market in the old town town center did have that locals-shop-here feel.
Aix-en-Provence

Fixing up the square in front of the Palace of Justice; with an in-progress archaeological dig.
Aix-en-Provence

The new theatre.
Aix-en-Provence

The best part IMO of the trip to Aix was twice walking through the Marseille St Charles Train Station (to and from the bus station). Wow! It's perched above the old port with great views, and with a magnificent staircase taking you up, or down, to or from, street level. Not to mention the old school roof; and the trains.

Marseille, France

Marseille, France

Marseille, France

Marseille, France

Marseille, France

2 comments:

Kathy said...

Agree about Aix. Most interesting thing when I was there was watching the stalls for the Christmas market go up.

john said...

@Kathy, Looking forward to comparing notes with you on Southern France. -john