Remember when I went to Aix-en-Provence with Mrs. London (no, not that time, or that one either, but this one
) and I was trying to look at it with new eyes and soak it all in, you know, like really look at it. Well I’m trying to do that with a lot of places. Four years I’ve been living in Provence now and I feel like I’ve let a lot of it pass me by without truly absorbing it. Well no more. No more will I let Provençal quaintness whoosh me by without taking any notice.
So as part of this seeing life through ‘holiday eyes’ experiment, I decided that a trip to a market was in order. I like markets, it’s hard not to, but I don’t really like them during the summer. During the summer they swell and heave with tourists and it’s almost impossible to enjoy. It’s too hot and too crowded. But a sunny Saturday in September, now that’s the ticket. It’s still warm, but not too warm, it still has enough of a crowd to lend a buzzy vibe, but not so much that you can’t breath. It’s pretty much perfect. (Late spring is also a good time if you happen to be around).
We set off to Apt market which happens to be my favorite in the area. There has been a weekly market there for 900 years. That’s a whole lot of Saturdays. I like how the market stalls weave up and down the ancient streets. (And I like how one of the streets leads me to a Benetton. That’s convenient.)
The secret to visiting a market in Provence is to get there early, they usually shutdown by midday anyway so getting early is a must, but I’m talking like early bird, early. It’s much easier to find parking and bonus, getting there a little after 8AM is the perfect excuse to pull up to a cafe for cappucinnos. (Now normally it would be a plain old café for Gregory and a café crème pour moi but since there is a poshy little coffee shop down one of the tiny streets, we went with cappucinnos.)
After our coffee fix we set off to explore the market stalls and the old city, while I did my best to try and look at everything as if I was seeing it all for the first time.
This photo is the opposite of good but I still wanted to show you the chandeliers inside the church because they were all sparkly and beautiful. It’s not the chandeliers’ fault I’m a crappy photographer. And speaking of being a crappy photographer, I read my camera manual. That’s something I have never, ever done in my life. But seriously, I’m pretty sure that the manual was written for people who already know a little bit about photography because I had no idea what it was going on about.
This is Gregory’s favorite market stall, he bought five saucissons secs (after going back and forth between different sausage stalls trying to figure out which one was the best); olive, noisette, Blue d’Auvergne (I picked that one out), one made from bull, and one made from donkey. I understand the sausage made from bull but donkey? DONKEY?! Nope, no thank you.
I got super excited when I came across a burger place that also served Mexican food until I took a closer look at the photo… sure it says burrito but those are tacos, not burritos. It’s not rocket science people, it’s Tex-Mex. Maybe I should offer my services as an authenticity consultant because clearly they are in need of one. They could pay me in tacos or burittos. Whatever.
After a morning viewing the typical Provençal market wares; pottery, linens, straw baskets, cheese, and sausage, I came across a not so typical sighting… a camel, hanging out on the side of the road because yeah, that’s normal. It’s amazing what you see when you open your eyes. Next time I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for an elephant.