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3 and a half hours from Paris’s Gare de Lyon. I had seen so many pictures of Provence on fellow expat’s Instagram’s accounts, visits to see the lavender fields. It seemed like the “to do” thing this spring and summer. We didn’t make it to the Provence lavender fields given the autumnal season that had arrived every so justly, BUT we did get to discover Aix-en-Provence for a weekend away with my lovely aunt who was in town. The tones of the city are different from Paris, a different kind of magic. I could literally feel how much more relaxing the lifestyle there must be as soon as I took in a breath of the mediterranean air.

Provence is known globally also for their food. I remember even the French restaurant I worked at in Denver when I was 16, the sadly no longer Le Central, it was a “Provencal French Restaurant”. Even then I didn’t really realize where Provence was, or what its specialities was, anything French seemed exotic for a Denverite! Ratatouille, stuffed vegetables, aioli, pesto soup, fig tarts, calissons… it’s all just so good an world renowned.

The city itself deserves a good old fashion stroll, mainly because it is just so adorable: pastel colors, little balconies, tiny pedestrian streets and warn down old advertisements on the sides of buildings…

If you’re in Aix for a quick trip like we were, I suggest giving lunch a try up at the Place des Cardeurs, then stroll down through the adorably tiny and pastel streets to pop in for a caffeine recharge at Mana Espresso (ex-baristas from Paris’s Loustic!). After more wandering and buying things like herbs and soap, sit on a terrace and try a glass of Pastis, the local apéritif, paired with some people watching. I obviously wanted to make the mini detour to see that big Petit Prince book statue that has been all over social media, and I found out it’s actually the entrance to a library called La Cité du Livre, how cute is that? You’ll have to try to local sweet confection, le calisson (pssst Pâtisserie Béchard makes a darn good one!) Dinner is a must at Les Deux Garçons, the staple brasserie du coin that sits on the main drag, if the weather permits, reserve a table on the terrace. Paradise.

Quick side note—- if you take the TGV you’ll arrive at a train station about 20 minutes from the center of Aix. We didn’t know that until AFTERWARDS. There are busses that go to the city center, and also taxis which run for about 20-30 euros. Bref, to keep in mind more precisely for your departure!

Cité du Livre // Library,
Chez Féraud // French Restaurant
La Compagnie des Savons // Soap Shop
La Route des Bières // Beer Shop
Les Deux Garçons // French Restaurant
// Coffee Shop
// Candy Shop, Calisson masterminds
Place des Cardeurs // Place with heaps of restaurants
Santons Girault //

To wrap up the summer season, Louis and I were so excited to bring some friends to the house in the countryside. It’s the kind of place that is certainly worth sharing- and besides, who doesn’t want a weekend getaway outside of the stress of the week and Paris? (I mean, we all adore Paris, but let’s be honest, getting to somewhere calmer for the weekend is fabulous and anyone who tells you differently is lying).

So, Haleigh, Marissa, Ylenia and their beaus came down for a weekend amongst the flowers. It was a weekend to enjoy some nature, and to make some time to cook delicious things with garden finds, to pair with our perfect BBQ goodies.

Sharing such a beautiful place and a place we love so much with friends really made my heart all fuzzy. It’s kind of like sharing a little part of yourself in many ways, a place where so many memories are made and where more will continue to be made with dear friends.