Here we were in Aix-de-Provence. Now this was the place. The energy was palpable. The streets glowed, the sun was bright, there was a youthful vigour, people were shopping and smiling and strolling the promenade. Aix-en-Provence, with a population of 142,000 — 40,000 of which are students from four universities — is pulsating with vibrant energy. With a captivating mix of history — 2,000 years of it — the city, in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region, is divided by the Cours Mirarbeau, a 440-metre-long and 42-metre-wide pedestrian thoroughfare, with fetching plane trees, public squares, fountains and elegant outdoor cafés full of people sitting and sipping and chatting the days away.
Hands down my favourite thing about France (besides the food and wine, obv.) were the windows, doors and shutters. In China it was the roofs, here I couldn't get enough of the fantastic French facades.
The trees — I had never seen trees like this and I was quite taken by them. There weren't many leaves but no matter, it was the forked branches that jutted like the Bob Fosse jazz hands that I found so enchanting. Plane trees — quintessentially Provence.
Published journalist, world traveller, big thinker, fun haver