Christmas Eve in Aix-en-Provence

We spent a lazy day in Aix-en-Provence on Christmas Eve; prepping ourselves for the holiday when everything would be closed.  We sat in the lobby of Hotel Cezanne and munched on the nuts and clementines in bowls around the room.
We ordered coffee and topped it with colorful packets of sugar.
We set out into the Mazarin district of Aix, a neighborhood of grid like but charming residential streets.
We emerged from the sleepy backstreets onto Rue d'Italie.
Shops were bustling with last-minute holiday traffic.
We stopped into a Boulangerie on Rue d'Italie and were amazed by the sights and smells inside.
We selected a loaf of walnut bread (still warm!) and continued on our way.
We discovered a produce market on Rue d'Italie and picked up a few healthier items for our Treize Desserts spread.
We were surprised when we stumbled upon a huge Saturday market on Place de Verdun.
We saw everything from old toys and antiques...
...to baskets of spices...
...to endless varieties of mushrooms.
As usual, a large fountain provided a helpful landmark as we explored the market.
Fresh fruits and vegetables spilled from countless stalls.
We even discovered a cheesemonger decked out for Christmas with Santa's laundry hanging about his stall.
We were surprised to see a man, two dogs, and a donkey roaming the market.
Sundried tomatoes and various pestos called out to us.
Lots of different nuts in shell were on offer.
We walked back through Mazarin toward Place du General de Gaulle.
We stopped for lunch at Le Passage.  We tried lamb with polenta...
...and mushroom risotto.
The open, airy restaurant was really decked out for the holidays.
We concluded our afternoon of exploration across town at Le Pavillon de Vendôme and the surrounding park.
Despite the season, a few flowers were still in bloom.
We admired Le Pavillon de Vendôme from a distance and then went in for a closer look.
I liked these sculptures outside the entrance.  They seem to be saying 'Sacrebleu!  My head!"
And with that, we headed back to our hotel for our own interpretation of a traditional Provence Christmas Eve...

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Sidewalk Safari: Christmas Eve in Aix-en-Provence
Christmas Eve in Aix-en-Provence
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Sidewalk Safari
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