Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In my neighbourhood: Aix-en-Provence

You guys all know I live outside the big smoke that is Aix-en-Provence.

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Place d'Albertas

We really don't get out here as much as we should - it's a beautiful town with many nooks and crannies that we have yet to discover.

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Design Mom is having a Love the Place You Live link up monthly to encourage folks to go out and explore where they live (rather than having to travel to some far or exotic destination). We have the added bonus of our local area being very exotic to us!

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The reason we don't get to Aix as often as we should is two-fold; for one, that pesky Luberon Valley keeps luring us away. The second reason is less exciting: laziness. Sometimes just the idea of loading everyone into the car with all their accoutrements leaves me exhausted.

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But more often than not we fight through and we get out of the house. We're never sorry we have.

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There are a few things we've found, travelling with young (and many) children, that set us up for success. Firstly, you have to get out of the house early.

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The roads are clear around 9am on the weekends and when you arrive you usually find plenty of good parking and uncrowded streets. The kids are full of beans and in a good mood and it just makes for a great start to a day's adventure.

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Institute d'Etudes Politiques

Second, come prepared. Make sure the nappy (diaper) change bag is restocked. I always bring small zip-lock bags of cheerio cereal, chopped apple or raisins for snacking/distractions.

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Cathédrale de Sainte Sauveur

For meal times I have a small notebook with removable pages and 4 markers from IKEA (the have felt tips on one end and stamps on the other) - they keep everyone occupied until the meals arrive.

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Doors of la mairie (town hall)

Sometimes I will have one small toy in my bag (I have a HUGE handbag) for each of them, a matchbox car, one of those puzzles where you slide the tiles to make a picture, those sort of things. Whatever it is, I make sure it is only ever used when we are out. Not using it at home keeps the toy new and exciting for them and more likely to keep their attention.

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La Fontaine de l'Hôtel de Ville has been Groucho-ed. 

These pictures were taken around 8-9am Sunday morning. Everything was nice and quiet, especially as I didn't have the kids with me.

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The markets were still setting up...

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...and not much other than the bakeries were open.

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I don't feel so silly taking photos of window displays when the stores are closed. Love the colours and pattern on this L'Occitane packaging.

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And these tins - I want to collect them for storing all my craft supplies.

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I came across some chandeliers too. I do so love them. Here's one in L'Eglise du Saint-Esprit:


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It was lovely to go walkabout close to home and appreciate what's right on our doorstep. 

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Place des Trois Ormeaux 

Definitely worth the effort!

Are you getting out and about in your local area? Why not include your own link over at Design Mom?

P.S. Another way to push yourself to get out is to buy the Lonely Planet (or equivalent) guide to your state or region. All those insider tips can be just as useful to locals as to tourists, and it's a constant reminder on your bookshelf to get out and about. 

15 comments:

  1. This is breathtaking! I cannot believe you actually live here... can I come visit you?! Haha. Beautiful pics, beautiful city. Thanks for letting me experience a part of Aix-en-Provence through your eyes.

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  2. Just gorgeous. I have four kiddos as well and your tips are spot on.

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  3. Partly becausevof you, partly because of Alisa Burke, I decided to walk through Marseille on Saturday (also because I did not feel like driving nor parking!)
    Thanks for enticing me to expkore my neighborhood.

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  4. I love each and everyone of the pictures you shared- you live in a stunning place...love all the architectural elements.
    Happy Day

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    1. Thanks Teresa, inspiration abounds here!

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  5. Oh I just love wandering round Provencal towns and villages, the doors, windows and carvings alone could keep you occupied for days! Now, could you possibly pass one of those banons? I think one would be lovely with salad for dinner :oD

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  6. What a lovely city - it has been almost 30 years since I was there last, but I do remember how pretty it is. Lucky you for living so close to it.

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  7. I know exactly what you mean Kirsty...it is SO easy to stay home and NOT to explore our own towns,cities and regions. I have always made sure that I explore and learn about where I am living...I often get to see and to know more than the locals!

    Great set of pics and love your 'story' as you explored. I have only been to Aix once and loved it.

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  8. Your "Be-Prepared" comments and tips had me reminiscing...A mum's bag has all but the kitchen sink some days!
    We have just come back from a weekend on The Central Coast....been here over 10 years and still hadnt explored only 70 km away! Those Aussie School Saturday-Sport Weekends however, really mess up your life for ever.... and suddenly you realise you are OLD. Lucky you to have such experiences on your backdoor.

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  9. Kirsty,
    Well done. It looks so pretty when it's deserted like that. Or should I say, you can actually see it when no ones around.
    A x

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  10. "We have the added bonus of our local area being very exotic to us!"

    That's how we feel too! I LOVE your images. Makes me want to visit your neck of the woods!

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  11. Love your photos, fortunately our boys are grown so I can go back to small, neat handbags! Our next trip to France in April can't come quick enough after seeing your photos!

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  12. Kirsty, you captured my hood so beautifully. Absolutely lovely. I NEVER get out that early...thanks for doing my early morning exploring for me. Bisous

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  13. We are leaving within the week for Paris and then Aix. I just happened to find your blog via craft Gossip and so glad I did. Will look for these wonderful sites and markets. Thanks. Candy

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Hi there, I love getting comments, so let her rip! I do my very best to reply (by email) so please make sure your account is set up to show email, so that I can get back to you. Cheers, Kirsty

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