Studying in Aix en Provence and exploring Côte d’Azur
When I started my master degree I was craving to study a semester abroad. How I ended up in Aix en Provence still appears like a sort of mysterious fate, but I am so glad I was there. I tried to get the most of my time travelling around the region as much as possible, and here’s the best I experienced. I am not writing about Marseille because it needs an article on its own.
First of all, of course Aix en Provence. Also called “Ville d’Art, Ville d’Eau” and “la ville aux mille fontaines” because of the fountains you can find in every corner, is Cézanne hometown. If you know him, you should know his series of paintings with the Saint-Victoire Mountain as subject. Guess what, I could see it from my window, I was so lucky!
Anyway, Aix en Provence is a really nice city, there’s a gothic cathedral, some really charming squares and a lot of cute cafés where you can relax and have a coffee with a croissant or a pain au chocolat. There are also parks where you can enjoy the sun, shining very often, and when you get bored you can stroll about the Cours Mirabeau and have the best crêpe in the world in an underground shop: they sell a lot of different types of crêpes, both sweet and salty, and they are all so tasty!
Another town that deserve a visit is Arles. It is famous because of Van Gogh’s Yellow House, that was destroyed during World War II and because of the Café La Nuit, where the legend says Van Gogh and Gauguin had the terrible argument that made the first cut his ear later on. Me and my friends were very lucky because we got there the day were all the museums and historical sites were for free, so we visited the Amphiteatre, that dates back to the roman age. In addition to that, it was saturday, market day! Believe me, markets in Provence are something amazing, you can taste a lot of local food like saucissons
and fromage, there is plenty of stands with sweets, olives, colorful fruit, baguettes, and also living animals, and Arles’ market was really huge!
Something else that really deserves a trip there are the Gorges du Verdon. We got to the Sainte-Croix Lake and rent a pedalo, so we entered the Gorges (deep narrow valley with steep sides) and it was amazing to be there, in the silence of that very blue lake, surrounded by magnificent mountains.
After that, we went to Moustiers Sainte Marie, where a star is hanging between the rocks, as a sign of gratitude to from a knight who was coming back alive from the Crusade. Can you see the star in the picture? How could they do it??
Then, it comes the time to visit Avignon, where the Popes used to live from 1309 to 1377. But the city is known also for the bridge, Le Pont d’Avignon on the Rhone river, there is also a song about that! Is quite funny because they left it unfinished and now is so famous and Unesco heritage.
Last but not least, the Luberon Natural park. Here, there is Roussillon, a reddish city because of the particular soil there, that is possible to admire in the Ochre’s path.
In the nearby, Gordes is a little town made of stones, so it has a completely different color. There, I could finally taste the Tarte Tropezienne I was craving at for weeks. Actually, is typical from Saint Tropez but it was very tasty anyway!
And then, let’s go at the Sunday market in Isle sur la Sorgue, the so called “Venice of Provence”…
…and taste some colorful kind of cheese!
Author: Lisa Egman
About: Currently student in Tourism Economics, i spend my free time exploring my neighbourhood or travelling around Europe. And i hope to do that as a job one day!