Our next stop after Barcelona was Aix-en-Provence, France. Since Nice was our following stop, I wanted to find a place that was a little off the beaten path and not on the water. I also wanted to find somewhere that was easy to get to via train so after a little bit of research I ended up picking Aix. After a frantic first 10 days of exploring and trying to get settled into a new afternoon + evening work schedule, I felt this would be a good place to recharge and take a step back for a week.
We ended up staying in an Airbnb on the north end of the old town right under the clock tower. It was just a short 2-3 minute walk down the hill into the main Old Town center which was a perfect location for us. The old town is situated as a circle with tons of winding alleyways all around. There is almost no car traffic here which makes it feel very quaint and secluded. Because of this, it’s very easy to walk everywhere and there isn’t even a ton of need to leave the old town area if you don’t want. We both instantly knew this would be the perfect place to recharge a bit and catch up on work.
We didn’t arrive until late on Saturday and decided to use our Sunday to just walk around. We soon found out that Aix was the city of markets and there seemed to be a new one every few blocks. Over the next week, we saw farmers markets, meat markets, fish markets, cheese markets, flower markets, flea markets, shopping markets and everything in between. There seemed to be a new one everyday and it made it super easy to buy local ingredients and cook several of our own meals that week. Like any good French town, there were also tons of pastry shops and bakeries and cheese shops that made for a well-rounded day.
We would walk into the bakery in the morning for a pastry and a coffee. Next, we’d stop in for a loaf of bread before getting some Paté and cheese at the fromagerie. After that, we’d head in for some local vegetables and some kind of meat. Before 10am we’d already had all the ingredients we needed for the full 3 meals that day and only had a walk a few blocks to procure the ingredients.
The weather was perfect that week and our AirBnb had these great windows that opened up right onto the main walkway below. It was sunny almost everyday so we spent most of the mornings just walking around. One of our favorite days was when we packed up a bunch of stuff we had bought around town, walked a couple of miles to a big park by the river and had a picnic lunch. This stop was all about enjoying the simple things. There were no famous touristy sites to see, it was more fun to shop at the markets than eat at restaurants every night, and we’d join the crowds for a drink at sunset each night at one of the many bars that had outdoor seating.
One of the mornings we went on a few Wine Tastings at the base of some mountains about an hour outside of town. We went to 2 different wineries and there were only 3 others on the tour so it was quite nice. I’m not a big wine person but I did enjoy the local Rosé go which we bought a few bottles from one of the wineries. I found a few hole in the way craft beer places that went to a few times and other than that it was a pretty quiet week.
Between the weather, the home cooked meals and the nightly wine at sunset, we had a really nice and relaxing week in Aix-en-Provence. But just like every week on this trip, just when we were beginning to feel comfortable, we were off again that Saturday, this time to beaches on Cannes. We packed our bags for the third time in as many weeks and were off to enjoy 10 more days in France.