Joy Journal

Joy Journal #27: June 30, 2022

One of my favourite things about living in Aix was the daily outdoor market. I love that markets remains a central part of the French culture. It is a beautiful thing to be connected to where your food comes from and the people who bring it to you.

After dropping my daughter at school, I would shop with the vendors every morning. The larger market took place three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It sprawled across most of the old town, and it included clothing, antiques, housewares and fresh food. The smaller food and flower market took place on all other days.

I would wander from the larger gathering at Place des Prêcheurs to the smaller square at Place Richleme, visiting my favourite vendors. It was such a gift to choose from an ever changing, seasonal selection of fresh, locally-sourced produce, cheese, fish and meat.

Throughout our eight weeks spent in the city, I became friendly with many of the people who worked the market stalls and in the local shops (e.g. fish monger and bakery). In a place where I knew very few people, I looked forward to seeing their smiling faces brighten when I approached their stand, or wave their hand in recognition, as I passed by.

Although we did not know each by names, a familiarity grew, and we would warmly ask after each other’s health and well being. They were very kind to me and I deeply appreciated the human connection and a sense of community that came from getting to know all of them. #JoyBlogging

Joy Journal

Joy Journal #26: May 25-29, 2022

My two sisters and my niece came to visit us while we were living in Aix this spring. Our plan was to spend a few days together in the city and then head down to the coast to stay in a popular seaside village, Cassis. Our family had vacationed there fifteen years previously, so it holds a special place in our hearts. We booked our accommodation months in advance, as it was a school holiday, and a very busy time of year in France.

The night before we were to set out, the VRBO owner called to cancel our booking. No real explanation was provided. He just cancelled. Needless to say, it was very upsetting, and everyone was incredibly disappointed as my family had travelled all the way from Canada to return to this special place.

We started researching our options. We looked at hotels. AirBnb. VRBO alternatives. At first, it appeared that there was nothing, as most places were booked up. It looked like we were not going to be able to go. At the last moment, I reached out to one owner on AirBnB, and I explained our situation. It turned out that she had just joined the site, and her rental was not quite ready, but she was willing to make it available to us, due to the circumstances.

The house was located in Saint Cyr-sur-Mer, a charming little town on the Mediterranean. It had a pool and it was within walking distance of the ocean. The place was lovely and it actually surpassed our original booking with its amenities. We all felt very fortunate to have found it and we enjoyed our time there together immensely. During our stay, we took a day trip to Cassis to ocean kayak in the calanques, and we visited our special town.

Although it was a bumpy start to our vacation, the experience turned out to be very memorable and wonderful in the end; and this was entirely thanks to the kindness and generosity of strangers. #JoyBlogging

Joy Journal

Joy Journal #2: June 10, 2022

The weather in Provence is beautiful. Most mornings, when I step outside of my door to walk my daughter to school, I am welcomed by a clear blue sky and a warm breeze that envelops me. As the day moves into the afternoon, it can become quite hot, which is less pleasant. Living in the city, it is a wonderful to discover quiet places to cool off. Aix is a city known as the city of a thousand fountains. Although this is not quite accurate, there are many beautiful fountains to be found here. Today I sat by this contemporary one located next to the Palais de Justice. Children, dogs and pigeons waded in its cool waters. I pulled off my shoes and dipped my feet in. The sound is very relaxing and it is a great place to read a book and watch the world go by. I truly enjoyed this little slice of heaven. #JoyBlogging