After our 2 day trip to Gothenburg in Sweden to see Ed Sheeran we picked up our car once again from the Marseille-Provence Airport. We had a 20 minute drive to our new Airbnb in a rural area of Provence called Châteauneuf-les-Martigues. Here we were taken aback by how different our accommodation was and also by how dry the rural setting was. We had to drive on a dry dusty road past cane hedges, stone rendered earth coloured walls, equestrian stables filled with healthy looking horses standing in dry dusty paddocks. We finally arrived at a large stone building with very few windows.
With the harsh summer sun beating strongly down again the large stone dwelling. The noise of cicadas filled the hot summer afternoons air. The ground looked so dry. No other houses could be seen from this rural property. Olive trees were in one direction, young grape vines behind us with beautiful mountain and wetland water views. We couldn’t find a front door. It was if the house was locked down to keep out the hot sun.
Finally we meet our host who spoke French. It was up to Rob to save the day and do his very best at understanding fluent French. Once inside it was like we had arrived in Africa. An African bungalow in Provence. The roof beams were large cedar tree logs.
A cedar tree stump sat supporting the roof. The table was made of a raw timber top.
Large African shell decorative necklaces were on display in the bathroom.
All two windows and the front door all had shutters to keep out the heat of the day.
The veranda was a great place to stand and look at the beautiful sunsets each night around 9-30pm.
There were a variety of nice flowers or flower weeds growing in the dry clay soil.
If it wasn’t for the cold stone building and a fan we would have sweltered in the heat of the warm night. Rob was dreaming still of air conditioning!!!
Aix en Provence
On our first full day we set off to explore the beautiful town Aix-en-Provence which is known for its many beautiful fountains. We tried to find as many of them as possible. There are also many drinking fountains with cool refreshing water to drink and splash over your body to cool down from the warm summer heat wave.
There was a fountain with lush green vines growing down which I was tempted to plunge into to cool down.
We were a little disappointed to find the largest fountains in the town surrounded by construction work during peak tourist season??? This is what it would have looked like if it was flowing with water, but this is what it really looked like when we visited.
The town itself was filled with beautiful old sandstone coloured buildings with very small windows once again to keep out the heat of the day. The architecture was lovely to admire as we wandered.
We really enjoyed walking through the narrow charming lanes as no two shops were the same here. I brought some swimmers on sale hoping to dive into one of the fountains!!! Swimmers are so cheap here compared to the prices at home in Australia. I think I paid $25 dollars for a two piece bikini which was 30% off. Though there was not much to it so it will only ever be a backyard pool bikini.
Soap and lavender are a big seller here.
The town also had a lot of history to explore. It had a beautiful town clock.
A nice flower market.
We walked past a few different churches. We were lucky enough to stop and listen to a choir practicing in one of them. They were amazing. In another we listened to someone playing the huge church organ.
For our history lesson we visited the Cathedral of Saint Sauveur. After 8 months of visiting so, so many beautiful cathedral we were still taken back by the art work like the famous painting by Nicholas Froment called Triptych of the burning bush and the beauty in the huge colourful stained glass windows when the sun shines through them.
This cathedral is built on the 1st century Roman forum of Aix. It houses Roman Columns from the 6th century and around 13 chapels are inside its walls.
On our trip back to our Airbnb Rob spotted a huge sunflower field, and even the sunflower who worshipped the sun by following the sun’s rays during the day had begun to drop in the after heat wave just like us!!!