Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Trip to Aix-en-Provence

At the beginning of the month, Epiphany to be exact, I made it up to Aix-en-Provence to look around and do a little shopping. I ended up buying an incredibly delicious chèvre cendrée (goat's cheese with an ash rind--it sounds gross, but it is not! Just don't eat the ash) and Turkish apricots that were to die for at the farmer's market; drooling over a pair (...make that several pairs...) of Ubu earrings at a boutique; and hightailing it to the Musée Granet to see some of the lovely works of native son Cézanne--as well as other Impressionist, etc., artists.

Paul Cezanne lived here once

Santons: little figures for your Nativity scene made in Aix!
For my first trip to Aix, I'd say this was a success! I wish I had enough money to buy myself a pair of Ubu earrings, but the trip itself will have to suffice for my little birthday present to me. I thought about buying some santons, the little Nativity figurines that are made in Aix and a staple of Provence at Christmastime, but I realized, if you buy one, you have to buy a set--and those don't come cheap, either! They're something you buy as a collection: one each year to add to as the years progress: finding the perfect one is half the fun! But for me, I didn't think it was worth it, knowing I probably won't be able to collect year after year...I'm not going to be in France forever! Then there's the question of which figure to collect first: Baby Jesus, because he's most important? Or one of the Three Magi? Maybe Melchior because he has the coolest name...and there's where I left off, because I cannot make a decision, if ever so inconsequential, to save myself.

Here are some more pictures of santons:

And here are more pictures of Aix:

Hotel de Ville

A protest?!? In FRANCE?!?

One thing I learned at the museum, which was small but good, is that Cézanne and Emile Zola met when they were kids at school, and continued a lifelong friendship, even after they each became famous! Definitely cool. I also learned the French for "still life": nature morte. It just seems so much more philosophical and expressive! 

Here is a famous Cézanne nature morte:

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