Aix-en-Provence; Sundays, Sundays; Outdoor market, classic cars and a flea market; A rather sad art museum

Aix-en-Provence is not a wild and exciting town at the best of times, and on a Sunday the best word to describe it would probably be sleepy. Or possibly comatose. If it hadn’t been for the tourists, not a creature would have been stirring. Well, not really, I’m being a bit unjust. All the restaurants were certainly open. Even if we had the money for restaurants, though, there’s a limit to how much time you can spend in them without going mad from boredom.

As an aside, I now understand that there’s an encoded language used in guidebooks in the same way (and for the same purpose) as in real-estate and rental ads. For example, when an apartment is referred to as cosy it really means dark and cramped - and when a guidebook stays about a town that you can just have a leisurely cappuccino at one of the many cafes and watch the world go by it can safely be read as there is nothing to do in this town. Travel writers, I’m discovering, are a lazy and dishonest group of people.

Aix is that sort of town, but it suited us today - neither of us were interested in partying or running around trying to see the sights. There was a nice big outdoor food market and a nice garden with flowers. There was one long street that was all a flea market, and it reminded me of the flea market in Ljubljana in Slovenia. There was some sort of classic car enthusiast’s convention, and they were driving all through the old city showing them off and occasionally honking their horns and making that strangled-goose sound that all old car horns make.

Toward the end of the day we visited the Musée Granet, the town’s art museum. It was a bit sad. It always is when galleries have more money than they have interesting artworks. Considering that Paul Cézanne lived and worked in Aix for most of his life, you’d think they’d have a lot of his pieces, but they only had a couple. Not enough quite money, apparently. Besides these there were a couple of Rubens and Rembrandt, several Giacometti sculptures and paintings, a Léger, a Picasso, a Klee and a Mondrian. By far the majority of the museum was given over to its namesake François Granet, a religious painter from Aix in the Rembrandt school. I imagine if you find dimly-lit depictions of monkish life interesting, then Granet might be worth a look. By The most interesting artwork in the museum, I thought, was Cézanne’s palette. I say that without sarcasm, because it seemed to me that the palette of a great painter is just as much a work of art - albeit an implicit and accidental one - as any of his canvases.

Flourish

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Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
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