- Elizabeth Cameron-Smith
Day 54 -Arles to Aix-en-Provence, France
A stunning day riding on fabulous bicycle tracks, gravel and tarred pathways.
The wind had died down a bit and the sun even put in an appearance which made travelling through vineyards, farms, olive fields and lots of old character filled towns with pastry shops, a delight.
89 km and a 500 m elevation - not a huge distance or a big climb but a really tough day on the bike because of the treacherous windy ride that Grant endured the day before.
The Parque Natural Regional des Alpilles was a soothing natural environment and restored Grant's energy and helped him get through the day as being in nature in such beautiful surrounds can be balm for the soul.He loved the green space and natural vegetation and beautiful well maintained cycling pathways.
He rode on through some beautiful rural gravel paths and through farm lands and olive tree plantations.This was a bustling busy environment as there were lots of people tending to the olive trees, pruning dead branches, cutting them back and cleaning the fields.
At Ceylon de Provence Grant decided a pastry and coffee stop was in order and he stopped for a little while for a rest and some sweet comfort.
This part of France is so scenic and the charming little towns are filled with all kinds of interesting places. With hidden shady courtyards, cobbled streets, flower laden balconies lining the paths into and out of these small havens of French culture and tradition, one can only be entranced by the French country life as it does seem so fairy tale like.Grant has learned to find the artisanal boulangeries and patisseries and to read vital signage pointing in those directions! He has taken some of his best photos in France so far as the scenery does lend itself to perfectly composed photographs, especially in summer light.
Getting into Aix-en-Provence from Arles means climbing the white limestone mountain and then descending into the valley where the city lies. It's a city known for it's University and as the birth place of the artist Paul Cézanne, who featured the city and the famed peak in his paintings. It was once the capital of Provence and with its historical buildings and cathedrals and fountains it is an interesting place to visit. Walking on it's tree lined cobbled streets is wonderful and one does get the feeling of being in a place that is one of the cultural and historic centers of this region.
We had visited Aix as a family some time ago, which made it easier for Grant to find his way around as he chose to stay on the outskirts of the city and walk into the center to have dinner and take photos.
A good day with sunshine and beautiful scenery.
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