Leonardi Travel Diary

Marseille Day 4: Aix marks the spot

Europe, France, Marseille | 27 July 2013

On our last full day in Marseille we decided to, well -- leave Marseille. We took a bus a bit north to Aix-en-provence. Aix is pronounced "ex" if you're wondering about the title. If you weren't, now it's just weird because I'm explaining my joke. Anyway, the bus ride was quick, uneventful, and had AC (yea -- it was still extremely hot).

Once we got there I was a little disappointed at first. We had read that Aix is a magical little town with tree lined streets, and fountains, and fairy tails etc etc. The bus dropped us off at a local bus stop, and I saw nothing of the sort. It looked like any minor city, but with more students sitting on the side walk hugging their luggage. But we walked up the street a bit, rounded a corner, and there we had a beautiful fountain with tree lined streets jutting out like the spokes of a wheel.

We stopped quickly in the tourism office to get a map and some tickets to the Cezanne and Matisse exhibit, and set off en route to the museum. It was nice, but not one of my favorites. They really only had a handful of paintings by Matisse, and the temporary exhibit for Cezanne also only had four or five (though they had a bunch more hiding in the basement floor...weird).

From there we set off to find Cezanne's studio which is in Aix, and is marked with a number "1" on the map! It was a short walk, so we were off! On the way, we stopped for a nice sushi lunch, and took some photos of the moss covered fountains we had heard so much about. When we arrived at Cezanne's studio, we found a small supermarket instead. Strange...

This is when we found out there were more than one "1"s on the map...So off we were to the other "1." The walk was about 15 minutes in pea-soup like humidity.

We finally arrived and...Nope -- that's not it either. That was the yellow apple "1" -- we want the yellow circle "1."

We never did end up getting to Cezanne's studio, but we had a blast trying. We ultimately did find it on the map, but it was far too long of a walk. Instead we headed back to the bus a bit early because we had a big night ahead of us.

Back in Marseille, we showered, changed, and headed out to Ari's boyfriend's, Jon's, house. (for those of you who don't know, Ari is Lucia's younger sister). We were greeted by Jon's dad's (Lucien's), girlfriend (Helene). That's a lot of names and relationships...sorry. But as confusing as it may be to you, take solace in the fact that it's only because I'm a terrible writer. Anyway, Helene was a fantastic host while we waited for Jon and Lucien to arrive. Once everyone was there we enjoyed a great evening talking about Jon, Ari, and our trip! We got to taste some Pastis, and ate some really delicious guacamole that Jon had made (not to mention some killer greek snacks too -- thanks Helene!).

After our tragically short visit, we were off to the grande finale of the trip to Marseille: Wayne Shorter in concert at the Marseille Jazz Festival! The concert was held at the parc du longchamps which was absolutely spectacular. The concert was exactly as we had hoped, except for a few people who decided to stand up front blocking everyone's view, but what can you do?

We left the concert a bit early to beat the rush and grab a taxi. When we left the park we were kind of sad/nervous to find that the entire area was basically a ghost town. No taxis, no cars, not even any people really; perhaps we should have planned our exit strategy a bit better. So at around midnight in a city we don't know, we decided to trek down what looked to us like a major road in search of a taxi. After passing several sketchy alleys containing several sketchy people, we got to a major square and, yes, a taxi stand!

The taxi took us back to our hotel safe and sound. And so ended a great adventure in Marseille.

Check out our other entries from: Europe, France, Marseille