Wanderlust Wednesday – Aix en Provence

After my work trip to St. Tropez in 2008 (see last week’s post) I also stopped for a couple of days in Aix for another job. Here are a few travel notes. I was in Aix at the time of the last presidential election – jet lag ensured that I saw the acceptance speech from my hotel room.

RL Fifield, 2008.

11/3/2008 – Aix is gorgeous between its bursts of rain and sun. The buildings are incredible and oh how I crave not to be the only one in this town. I ate quenelles ate a café on the Cours Mirabeau, incredible street, but feels touristy. Maybe it isn’t. I worked with more men today, no women in sight. We stumbled along in bad French (me) and heavily accented English (one of the men, we weren’t quite equal in our French and English but not too bad). We did okay, and I walked out again into the stone streets.

Internet in a café thick with French BO and with keyboards I couldn’t swing. I wandered until I summoned the courage to enter a restaurant, and I picked the right one, though I regret being such a piggy now. I was the first customer seated at Le Passage tonight. La Femme Seule. I ordered a fixed menu, it was delicious. Some warmed buttery piece of cheese with crumb and cherry tomatoes, duck with tomatoes and olives, a dessert thick with coconut and pineapple with a pineapple confit. Think it was my first time in a restaurant with a Michelin star.

Hotel Le Mozart is another funny Provence place, but better than last night. I’m by the elevator, but it is already more quiet than St. Tropez. Rain continues to spit out of the sky, and I pray that the skeeters have already succumbed to the cold.

RL Fifield, 2008.

11/4/2008 – Started the morning at Jacob, a hippish pastry shop, where I watched the endless parade of Francais buying baguettes, ficelles, and restaurants (those are loaves of bread). I ate a brioche with raisins, citron, and cream and had a café. All for less than 4 E., ½ the price of the basket of bread at the hotel.

The afternoon was mine to stroll the streets. I entered some churches, Saint Esprit, with Saint Madeleine’s Annunciation hanging out while they renovate that church. Then up to Saint Saveur, what a church, with it’s roman baptismal area, incredible North African ornamentation over the altar. I was quizzically discerning a tapestry hanging in the dark, as usual, with no label. Either the Virgin or this Madeleine character. Then all the lights in the church flared and I wondered if God was scheduled to appear. I saw a parade of flowers entering the church, a Tuesday afternoon. I emerged from the church to see a young woman in tears, held up by her friends. The hearses here are so compact, with the flowers packed on top of the coffin.

RL Fifield 2008.

Poked my head in at the Atelier Cezanne. It was 5.50 E and about 15 minutes worth of perusal. I didn’t feel like staying, though I bet the gardens are lovely in the summer.  Internet, Vietnamese takeout, and hotel in the evening, as rain dumped down.

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.