Given our love of all things Impressionist, could we really have overlooked Aix en Provence? Given Cezanne was born and died here? Kind of unlikely…
So it was on SatNav and onwards to Aix en Provence. After scaring Galina witless with my somewhat loose interpretation of driving on the right side of the road it was right on the roundabout (a near miss with a bus) and a drive up the Cours Mirabeau to find a parking station under one of the municipal buildings.
Visiting Aix en Provence is worth it, just for a relaxed walk up this tree lined boulevard in the warmth of a summer afternoon. A truism I know but most often it’s the unexpected things that are the best. Walking along the Cours Mirabeau, you see lot’s of fountains but the standout is the La Fontaine d’Eau Chaude, fed by a hot water spring from the Bagniers.
Of course the Cours Mirabeau was actually the North Shore of it’s day, when the old city walls came down the great and the good built their mansions and townhouses along either side of the Cours. Case in point the Baroque Atlantes holding up either side of the portico of what was originally the Hôtel d’Espagnet.
But what we’ come to see was the Musee Granet, just three corners away from the Cours Mirabeua, tucked away on the Rue Cardinale (of course we got lost). Finally we got onto le Rue d’Italie, which lies on a small triangle of old town between two 17th century re-developments (the Quartier Mazarin and Quartier Villeneuve), and found our way to the square behind the cathedral. Ah Giacometti, Cezanne and Picasso not bad for a regional museum… 🙂