Friday night in Provence, uncensored
08.06.2007 - 09.06.2007 30 °C
So far on this trip , there are many things I would recommend. One I would not, is arriving in a bustling centre at 5.30 on a sunny, Friday evening. After covering over 500km on the brilliant motorway between Besancon and Provence, we decided to call it a day and find somewhere to sleep. I saw 'Aix-en-Provence' marked on the map, and, on consultation with our travel bible, France Rough Guide, we pulled off the A7 and into, well, lots and lots of traffic. Chanting our mantra, 'Make for the Tourist Bureau', 'Make for the Tourist Bureau', we snaked our way around the obligatory roundabouts and headed for city centre. Unfortunately, we sailed past our beacon of hope, the Tourist Bureau, at one rather large roundabout, so took the next exit instead, right into a pedestrian mall, full of tables, postcard stands, and of course, pedestrians. Oops. But there was no way out and as we inched forward the street narrowed alarmingly . None of the pedestrians seemed alarmed, however, wandering in our path in their hundreds. They may have been pointing and laughing but I wouldn't know as I had hidden my head under the dashboard, helpfully yelling expletives (the aix-rated part, sorry to disappoint you). I am seriously the best and most valuable navigator - a rally team should totally think about hiring me. So useful, if just for entertainment value alone. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and we finally made it out the other end on to an actual road, and found an actual multi-story car park. Hooray! And after the first few tries, we found an actual hotel that wasn't completely full or foul. Patting ourselves on the back, we enjoyed a gorgeous night in Aix. A university town, it was teeming with chic and well-dressed students, streaming from bars, restaurants and shops, ready to enjoy the balmy summer evening, the bubbling of the many spectacular fountains as the soundtrack. Without much time for sightseeing, we contented ourselves with a leisurely stroll around the beautiful old town, then ate with the locals at an outdoor restaurant.
Next morning, we took the correct exit at the roundabout. No dramas. Told you I was an expert navigator.