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Day 6 South of France: En Route to Aix en Provence - 19 May


The drive from St Paul de Vence to Aix-en-Provence took a short 2 hours. We came well stocked with 20,00 Euros worth of coins for the journey, and thank God we did. We had a toll of 2,90 as we left the French Riviera, and another for 13,00 Euros as we were about to enter Aix-en-Provence. Hardly any of the tolls that we drove through had human tellers anymore - most were automatic and all do not like foreign credit cards.

On approaching Aix-en-Provence, we noted that the winds had picked up considerably. Known as the mistral, it is a strong, cold and usually dry regional wind in France, coming from the north or northwest, which accelerates when it passes through the valleys of the Rhone and the Durance Rivers to the coast of the Mediterranean around the Camargue region. It affects the northeast of the plain of Languedoc and Provence to the east of Toulon, where it is felt as a strong west wind. 

Peter had decided to splurge a little by booking the 5-star hotel, Le Pigonnet at Aix-en-Provence. Known for its superb restaurant, we put its reputation to the test when we pulled up into reception at noon and were told that our room would not be ready until 3. All the more reason to indulge in a leisurely lunch, we thought! I ordered the Menu de Jour (45,00 Euros per person excluding drinks) of the Terrine de rouget a la creme d’anchoise, avec tartare de radis au fromage blanc for starters (red mullet terrine with cream of anchovy), a Filet de sandre saisi a la planche avec fleurs de courgettes farcies for the main  (grilled filet of pike with zuchinni flowers) , and a Tarte creme d’amande mangue for dessert, the meal was truly sublime.  Le Pigonnet, 5 Avenue du Pigonnet, Aix-en-Provence.

A Perfect Evening Caps A Glorious Day
Lovely as lunch was, the best experience of the day was being invited for dinner to the home of Bong Bernardez De Gall, a former classmate of mine from my school days in the Philippines, who now lives in Bouc-Bel-Air, a neighborhood that was a 10 minute drive from our hotel in Aix-en-Provence. Meeting her husband, Jean Marc, for the first time, along with another couple who were friends of Bong and Jean Marc, the evening was a truly magical one. While meeting new friends, Bong and I were also able to indulge in some hard core reminiscing about our student days in the Philippines. It just goes to show that it’s the simple things that are truly memorable, so long as they touch the heart!

Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 19th May, 2012 | Trackbacks
Categories: France
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