The Heart of Provence
After just a day spent in Marseille I knew that there is no place like this anywhere in the world! I was eager to see more of it and continue with my exploring of this magnificent land. After all, it is famous for its vineyards and lavender fields and I had only ever seen its bear products displayed in markets.
The decision to take the train from Marseille to Aix-En- Provence was based on a welcome opportunity to just sit back and enjoy the Provencal scenery from a comfortable train. Regional trains that conduct inter-city traffic in France are highly efficient and more than comfortable. The trip from Marseille to Aix-En-Provence was about forty minutes long and I savored every minute of it! I even regretted for not choosing a more distant destination…
When I stepped out of the train, still impressed from the wonderful scenery I just had a chance to enjoy, I was a little bit surprised with the town of Aix. I cannot say precisely what I had expected, and what exactly surprised me. Perhaps, it was that serious and sophisticated feel the town had… I still have no idea.
The first impression of the Cours Mirabeau Boulevard was amazing! The Cours Mirabeau occupies the central position of the city and it can very well be compared with Champs Elysees in Paris (only smaller in size). It’s a broad-enough street to welcome all visitors and organized gatherings, numerous restaurants and cafes and arrays of shops on both sides of the street…
The first bistro I ran into was my starting point — I really needed to refresh a little, gather my impressions, organize the time I had available. What a better way to do this, than while enjoying a cup of coffee, a French pastry and an orange juice, watching passers-by?
The shops across the street kept inviting me to go inside and browse through their colorful assortment. I’ve never been much of a shopaholic, but I couldn’t resist the temptation. I had been in France for four days and still haven’t indulged in any shopping, so it sounded as a good idea.
It was fun and less expensive than I expected; but since I don’t have the patience of an experienced shopper to examine in detail each and every piece I see — I soon ended up on the side of the street with restaurants and cafes again.
The lunch I had was just perfect — a traditional French course that was the specialty meal that day. It restored some of the energy I lost on my shopping spree and I was able to spend a couple more hours just walking along the avenue and enjoying the tranquility of this place. I could fee the thousand-year old atmosphere with each step I took and it was awe-inspiring!
Although I had a great time travelling to Aix by train, for my return trip to Marseille I opted for a rent-a-car solution. I chose a vehicle that had a built-in navigation app which suited me perfectly — I wanted to take a closer look on that beautiful scenery I enjoyed so much on my arrival, and had already planned some stopping points along the way.