The Photo Friday feature returns with some darling little photos taken in a corner of the Provence region of France. Provence in its entirety covers the very southeast point of the hexagon that is France, from the Côte d’Azur to the southern Alps to the Rhône River at its western edge. Some of the most beautiful countryside in France is located here, with stunning and rocky hill-towns, rolling fields and a landscape that many believe is the most beautiful you’ll see anywhere.
The following photos come from my recent trip to the southwest portion of the region, Aix-en-Provence, and a few of the towns surrounding it. It was a honeymoon yes, or else perhaps, the honeyest moon of all!
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A fountain of Aix. One of the alleged 1000 fountains that populate the city of Aix. Some even are warm!
Busy courtyard at dusk. Aix-en-Provence has a large youth population so the evenings, especially the weekends are super lively. The café culture hops as the sun goes down extending late into the night.
Outdoor markets smell superb, and the selection is unbeatable. Cheese and meats are fresher than you’ve ever had and the stall-owners are always happy to help.
Crème Éclipse was a brand of shoe polish in the 40s made of wax.
The fountain on the Rotonde of the Cours Mirabeau in Aix. Built in 1860 this is Aix’s most imposing and recent of all its fountains. The 3 statures at the top symbolize Justice, Agriculture and the Fine Arts, the town’s main focal points.
Lions. Detail of the Fountain of the Rotonde.
Aix’s “Fountain of Hot Water”, so called “Mousse” because of the moss that covers it.
Door Knocker. Very common in France and come in all shapes and sizes.
Statues of the courtyard niches
The alleys and streets of Aix are the quaintest you’ll see anywhere, with some of the existing buildings dating back to the 16th century.
The patron saints of Aix adorn the corn exchange building in the Place de l’Hotel de Ville. She wears a small scale version of the city on her head.
The town of Cassis with the Crête and the monastery. The Crête is one of the tallest bluffs on the Mediterranean coast, a landmark for sailors for millennia.
The Calanques. French for “inlet” these beautiful cliffs are are geologic formations similar to fjords and formed in the same way but native to the Mediterranean coast. Popular with boaters and hikers and positively awe-inspiring, some of them hundreds of feet tall.
Pétanque is the traditional game rolling steel balls toward a tiny rubber target. You’ve seen it played. This ain’t no kids game, the French take it very seriously.
A fabulous Provincial breakfast.
Cassis skyline with clouds (collage).
Les Baux-de-Provence. An ancient defense site with traces of habitation as far back as the 6th century BC. It’s now a tourist destination that gets over 1.5 million visitors a year. In high season the streets are very much unlike the way you see it above. Here’s a crazy areal view.
L’Arena d’Arles is a former Roman arena and has played home to gladiators of the Empire. It’s over 2000 years old and sits as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The arena interior.
The Camargue nature preserve lies on the banks of the Rhône River at its delta into the Mediterranean. The wetlands are currently populated by over 400 species of birds, not the least of which, the greater flamingo.
And if you have photos of your own, feel free to let us in on them via our Flickr group, AirTreks World Journey. Please contribute! We’d love to have you.