A Gem in the South of France

Nicolette Brycki - A Gem in the South of France

Part of the fun in traveling is sharing your stories with friends, family, and new people you'll meet in your life. I love that I can use my blog as an outlet for that.

For the past two days, I've been in Aix-en-Provence, my home away from home as an exchange student in college. I actually didn't think I missed this place as much as I did, until I got here and realized how much more beautiful it is in the summer. Much of the Provencal town has changed; new stores, new young faces, or maybe I've just grown up a lot since. In all my time thus far in France, I'm actually quite surprised with my desire to stay in Aix even longer.

You may wonder what makes this town so special. For me, it's bittersweet in many ways, but for the curious traveler, Aix is a wonderful and manageable town to come see.

If walking up and down the little streets, enjoying the open-air markets and dozens of fountains that pepper the town isn't enough, there are loads of surrounding areas to explore, especially with a car. Today, I decided to see the lavender fields for the first time with Joe, and it was a one-of-a-kind experience. Imagine endless fields of purple lavender, and a constant bright blue sky as the perfect backdrop. You will only find this image a couple weeks out of the year, as the lavender must be harvested. I got so lucky to come at the right time.

If you do just want to see the town of Aix, from a one-time resident, remember to do the following:

1.  Go to an open-air market and shop your heart out.  Make dinner later with all the local goodies you found.

2.  Sit at one of the cafes with a glass of wine, and enjoy the fountains and old architecture surrounding you.

3.  Get lost in the beauty of the city.  Browse the winding streets, and buy a couple traditional Provencal souvenirs like lavender soaps and sachets.

4.  Go to Thermus Sextius, the spa in Aix-en-Provence, where you can get treatments like salt scrubs and mud wraps from local ingredients.

5.  Don't count your calories.  Eat as many baguettes and amazing French pastries as you possibly can on tour!  You'll go on your diet later.