Aix-en-Provence, the name says it all.


Aix-en-Provence!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doesn’t it sound cool to say, “hey I’m from Aix”. I don’t know why that pleases me so much. But it just sounds so cool.

I loved this city. It was amazing!!!!

Highlights

– Beautiful fountains all over the city. EVERYWHERE. Basically every single intersection. Many many many. And they’re all beautiful. Especially the one in the little courtyard paved with cobblestone.

– The clock tower is awesome. It shows the time, which back in the day was a big deal already because of the new technology. But it also has a weather vane that shows the direction of the wind at the top. And then 4 little statues that rotate to show the seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter). Cool huh?

– The food was amazing!!! You can salivate over those photos yourself

– The calisson!!! Yum yum, need I say more?

– Strangely after going to France 3 times, I still have not tried a marron glacé even though I keep telling myself to do it. I think because it just seems to sweet to me I never have the desire. But maybe next time I will. Anyway they were also everywhere in Aix. Probably because it was almost Christmas…

– Also visited the workshop and quasi-home of Paul Cézanne. Beautiful work shop set up with perfect conditions. Very quaint and well preserved by the family who live in the house now. Took some nice photos with S in front of it. It’s quite the hike up a steep slope so we got some good exercise for once!

– My favourite part about Aix-en-Provence? Getting lost in the small, narrow streets and finding little boutiques with very cute and distinctly Southern French items. It was a very adorable city.

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I’d be a terrible peasant in Medieval Provence


Baux-en-Provence a medieval town that is highly fortified on top of a hill. The view is amazing overlooking a valley. The city itself is relatively empty except for some pottery stores, restaurants and sweet store. Instead it’s filled with these enormous medieval weapons.

Paul R, these photos are for you. Looking at the huge catapults reminded me of you!

Grrrr…don’t I look aggressive next to a catapult? 😉

K looking beautiful in the wind

The sign next to the wall warning people not to throw each other over the wall. Seems self-explanatory. Still, can’t help but see the humor behind illiterate medieval folks warning each other what would happen if you threw your friend over the wall.

S & me

LOL D you’re too funny

Better pic of D

 

I would make such a bad peasant in the Middle Ages. Being trapped in the stocks caused a lot of pain. But not just ordinary pain. More like pain and excruciating discomfort. In my defense, my feet didn’t reach perfectly on the ground so I was on tippy toes for a long time. Anyway, it felt awful. Can’t imagine being trapped there for 3 or more days.

Revisiting France


I have a lot of photos and posts to catch up on from my Europe trip. I promised I’d blog the rest and so here you go!

I’m going to start with my Provence trip. But will have to split it up because it was a pretty packed weekend!

Enjoy

Step aside stairmaster. Real stairs on the way…


One striking theme I found in France was stairs. Yes, you read correctly. Stairs. There are so many more everywhere in France than in the US or in NZ. I suspect that is because most of the buildings in the US are new which means contain elevators. And Americans don’t like to walk up stairs anyway. L can attest to this fact. She and I were shocked tonight when we saw a girl wait more than 3-5 minutes to take the elevator up ONE floor when she could have walked up ONE floor. And NZ doesn’t have many tall buildings. Most houses are 1 or 2 stories. As there are very few apartment buildings, there are very few places that require elaborate stairs. Sure skyscrapers for big companies exist in downtown, but they have elevators anyway. As a young country, we don’t have beautiful stairs that such as those in beautifully designed and famous buildings/monuments in France.

So here is a collection of the most beautiful and unique staircases I saw in France.

This is also my little tribute to Mireille Guiliano and her importance of stairwalking/running for French women. It’s true. There really are stairs everywhere. And considering how beautiful the stairs are, no wonder people enjoy taking them. It works. Really, it does. So thanks for the advice.

…So…the first stairs….

 

My first homestay’s apartment in Neuilly


Monumental staircase in Place Beauvau, headquarters of the Minstre de l’intérieur (the equivalent of the minster of internal affairs)


Stairs at the entrance of Château de Chantilly

Gorgeous staircase from the rez-de-chaussée (ground floor) to the basement of the Château de Chantilly

Treacherous stairs in a ruined fortified castle in Baux-en-Provence

Marbled and hella slippery stairs at Le Louvre

Beautifully steep stairs with a beautiful view over Montmartre

Magnificent staircase at the entrance to Château de Fontainebleau

Closeup of the wiggly Fontainebleau stairs

Masterpiece of Charles Garnier – monumental staircase at le Palais Garner (a.k.a Opéra Garnier)

Close up of stairs at Palais Garnier. The design is exquisite. Garnier created curved stairs that begin concave at the top and end as convex at the bottom (or vice versa convex and concave depending on the angle at which you stand). This means every staircase was specifically calculated and designed as the measurements had to be perfect; these aren’t just any old, straight stairs.

Beautifully cut stairs from the Catacombes. Each step is supposedly a different type of rock?

Gorgeous stairs at Monet’s house in Giverny

And last but certainly not least, my FAVOURITE stairs of all the ones I saw….

The staircase at the house and present-day museum of Gustave Moreau

 

Aren’t these stairs amazing? They’re beautiful. And functional. The museum placed pieces of art high up on the walls so you have to stand on the stairs to get a better view of the paintings. Plus the spirals are super cool and funky.

 

THANK YOU ALL !!!!! 2010 in review


One of the best New Year presents I got was this summary (below) from Word Press about my blogging progress in 2010, first year hosting my first blog.

And the numbers look GREAT. So thank you all for reading, for commenting and for taking the time to find out what is happening in my life. I’m really thankful I have had the chance to travel so much in 2010. I’m equally grateful to have had so many amazing experiences with my dear friends.

Thanks for the support. Keep reading and I’ll make sure I post some more interesting adventures soon!

Happy 2011 to y’all.

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 42 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 539 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 368mb. That’s about a picture per day.

The busiest day of the year was August 15th with 107 views. The most popular post that day was About Me .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, blogger.com, Google Reader, and couchsurfing.org.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for anna in wanderland, roman foods, fresh market, faire la greve, and france snow.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

About Me January 2010

2

2 Surprises in 1 Day January 2010
2 comments

3

Where have I been? June 2010
5 comments

4

J’adore le chocolat November 2010
1 comment

5

Q: How do you reach Enlightenment? July 2010