France on Fridays #1: Aix-en-Provence


For a long time I have wanted to write a blog about my travels in France. Despite having bought a domain and built a site, I never seem to get the project fully off the ground.

When you already have a site with an established audience, it’s tough to start again from scratch feeling like no one is listening.

Whilst I make my mind up about what I might write on my French site I have decided to introduce a new regular feature here on Maison Cupcake. I figured if I always posted a brief France related post on Fridays, I would effectively be giving myself a day off before the weekend.

So it might be like tumbleweed, you might love it, I don’t know. You might convince me to get writing that material for the French travel site after all. I will post a picture from one of my trips to France alongside a short story about it.

Today’s picture is from one of the squares in Aix-en-Provence.

Aix-en-Provence will always be special to me since it was the first place I went on holiday with my husband (before we were married) and also where we began our honeymoon. At October half term last year, we spent a week in St Remy de Provence which we ended with a day trip to Aix.

I realised we had not been to Aix since 2002 and that had only been for one night. We arrived late at night from the plane, had dinner in our favourite restaurant before travelling on to the Languedoc region the next morning. On our honeymoon in 2004, we didn’t leave the hotel – which isn’t quite as raunchy as it sounds – the hotel, Villa Gallici of the Relais Chateaux group, was in its own grounds outside of Aix and SO over our usual budget we stayed within its confines for the full 48 hours before transferring somewhere cheaper for the rest of the fortnight.

So this meant that Aix, a place that felt so familiar, was actually somewhere I’d not been in daylight since 1999. Thirteen years earlier.

Now that makes me feel old. Oh and our favourite restaurant was now a mobile phone shop. Plus ca change!

Have you ever been to Aix?



    • I have been to Aix-en -Provence for a day. I don’t rememver much but I remember that I liked it. We stayed in Aigues-Mortes two years running and I loved that area. I particularly liked the Amphitheater at Orange. I think that’s my favourite part of France, though I do change my mind a lot about that….I love France

    • I’ve been to all of those places you mention! Aix is like a French version of Bath or Cambridge – lots of water and students!

    • I’ve never been to Aix-en-Provence, the architecture looks beautiful as I would expect from france. I’ve spent a great deal of time in france between work and holidays with relatives but mainly further north. Such a lovely country – I’ll look forward to your Friday posts. GG

    • I think this is a lovely idea. I have only been to France a couple of times, and usually passing through on my way elsewhere. We’ve always intended to take the boys but have never got around to it. I’m looking forward to experiencing it vicariously! :)

    • We go to France a fair bit since we’re in the south and it’s easy to drive there. I reckon I’ve been to France at least 25 times and spent over a year of my life there if you add all the time up!

    • Love the picture Sarah, very much what you will find on my camera when I am abroad. Lots of doors windows and architecture. Lots of Coop as well of course :)

    • Yes, we went to Aix in June 2011. We looked for “A Year in Provence” locations. I’ve lost your previous blog and the Bergerac episode on Youtube. In Aix, on a Saturday, there was a different type of market in each square, and when they finished around midday, we sat at a cafe and had our feet washed by a man hosing down the square! And we found the bassin in Cucuron used in “A Good Year”. There is a cinema, but it’s indoors…

    • Just found original exchange called Postcard from Provence. Mme Cupcake will know but others might like a look. Were there any other “Postcards” from Provence/

    • Thanks for the links! We went to St Remy – sat outside a cafe while a girl sang like Edith Piaf. We stayed perhaps 10 miles North of St Remy. It started with an E – cannot remember the name.

    • Oh I miss Aix. I went to uni there so many years go now. Chocolate profiteroles on my birthday in December sitting under heaters at the Deux Garçons. Lugging shopping home up the hill to uni halls from Monoprix. Drooling over Agnes B shop. Market Saturdays filling up on freebies gained by flirting with the traders. Spending hours in the papeterie. Happy memories :-)

    • Oooh you went to college there? So lucky! I bought a black long sleeved t-shirt in that Agnes B shop, wore it until it wore out!

    • I’ve never been to Aix, but I’ve heard so much about it that I’d LOVE to explore it one day. :-) I hope you will do a travel blog. I’d love to read it and see your pics. :-)

    • Aix is a beautiful city and I have been there several times. I would be very pleased if qou wrote about your trips to France from time to time. I found your blog some weeks ago while searching a recipe for speculoos frosting and I love your recipes.
      Have a nice weekend, greetings from Germany, Monika

    • Not been there before, but it sounds like an interesting place to visit. I’d love to see a travel blog from you Sarah, next best thing to a food blog!
      Happy New Year! xx

    • Great idea, as I live in France for half of the year or more, I had also intended to write more about my local area in the Charente Maritime, but like you, I never seem to get the time! However, for now I am happy to virtual visit Aix-en -Provence with you, where I have been many times and LOVE it! So different from my part of France! I have so many photos of France too, so many photos and little time, we may need to sit down with a bottle of fine wine and bash a few out together one day! :-) Lovely post……Karen

    • C’mon Sarah we’re all waiting for the France blog now…. Seriously, you KNOW I would read that and I am very much looking forward to these Friday instalments! I still have blog posts on my travels there (and other places) unwritten from a couple of years ago too but travel posts are timeless. So… get writing (in all your spare time ahem!)

    • I lived in Aix for a year when I was young. I sadly remember the outside bathrooms at the school….. But I have wonderful memories as well!

    • It’s definitely worth a visit. Like a cross between Bath, Paris and Cambridge. Wonderful.

  1. I just realized that the comments I make on my ipad don’t show up!!! I had mentioned that I lived in Aix as a child – for a whole year. Went to school there, and I have very bad memories of the outside, 3-sided toilets at the school. Of course, this was way back in the early 60’s…

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