Saturday, April 19, 2008

Aix en Provence

I have wanted to visit Aix en Provence for some time now. Finally, using up a rest day in the region, we stop in this capital of Provence, where everything reminds you of the south, the street names in Provençal, street markets with fruits, and tanned olderly Frenchies sitting at the brasseries.

I enjoyed the city, just small enough to have a good couple of hours walk around the Vielle Ville. Of several buildings and churches the most interesting one to me was this one, Eglise de St Jean de Malte, a fortress and a command center that was founded by the what is now known as the Order of Malta, keeping up with the Gothic style of Avignon's Pope Palace. This was a couple of centuries before St John's Order occupied first Rhodes, then Malta, and became the maritime power of the Mediterranean that we think of today.

The only disappointing site was the new theater building, just off the press, and already half crumbling with various problems and bad architectural choices.

Another fun rambling in the region is Montagne Sainte Victoire. When coming to Aix from the South, it is the first striking feature you see from any road, the Autoroute included. A cross was built on top of it by a distressed sailor saved from the waves, who pledged to erect a cross on top of the first mountain that he would encounter after getting back to shore, the 500-year-old legend says. You have to drive to it from the West side, coming from Aix to Tholonet, to see Cezanne's view that inspired this:

1 comment:

Rupert said...

Prints and Drawings
from 02-07-2008 to 05-05-2008

Van Dyck the Engraver
The Cabinet des Dessins, the Chalcography and the Edmond de Rothschild Collection at the Musée du Louvre bring together an exceptional grouping of works forming one of the finest series of engraved portraits by a painter: the Iconography of Antoine van Dyck.