I had left my window in the hotel room open overnight, and woke up during the night pretty cold, and listening to the rain. Fortunately, the rain stopped around 8:00, and I was able to continue my exploration of the city. My plan was to catch the 5 pm fast train from the Aix TGV station, to Paris. It is a three hour trip on the fast train, and would give me time to spend in Aix.
As it turns out, there wa sa pretty big race in Aix on Sunday morning - 5K, 10K Half Marathon. I wish I had know, or I would have signed up. I was still only a month removed from New York, and I'm sure I could have done the race. If I had, I would not have been able to do all the walking I did the day before, so maybe it was for the best. The race ended on the Cours Mirabeau, right outside my hotel, so I was able to watch a bit of it as I was heading out.
I wandered over to the main stretch of the Cours Mirabeau, and had a proper breakfast at one of the cafes. There was another, different market all along the main street, and so I walked up and back, checking out the wares. It was mostly arts and crafts - lots of cool things, but nothing that I really needed or wanted. I did buy Justine some French lavender.
The race was still going on, with runners coming through over the course of the next couple of hours. I wandered over to the Musée Granet, to check out the collection. It was mostly disappointing. The main part of the collection that I wanted to see - artifacts from Entremont - were not on display. And the Cezanne pieces they had were not that interesting. So I didn't stay too long.
As it was a beautiful day, I decided to head out to the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle. They were supposed to have dinosaur eggs! But sadly, no one mentioned that the whole museum was closed for renovations. That was not helpful.
So instead, I wandered out to the Pavillon de Vendôme, and old house that had been converted into a museum, to show how the very wealthy lived at the time. It too was not that interesting, even if the building was spectacular.
Definitely better on the outside, than on the inside. At this point it was lunch time, and so I headed into the old part of town. I wandered the narrow streets, trying to find this area I had discovered earlier that had a bunch of sports bars. There were some big English Premiere League games on, and I was hoping to catch one.
Sadly, none of the places open until mid-afternoon, so I settled for a Chinese place. The food was really good, and I ran into two women from Vancouver. I overheard them talking about the city, which was pretty hilarious. After lunch, I wandered back out to the Cours Mirabeau, and checked one of the more touristy places. They had a game on, so I sat and watched for a while.
All to soon, it was time to hop in a cab and head to the train station. The TGV station was a good 45 minute drive outside the city, so I had to head out a bit earlier than I had expected. I arrived in lots of time (as I do...), and had an early dinner before my train arrived.
The trip to Paris was fast (given the distance) and we were in Paris around 8:30 or so. It was pretty far from the train station to the hotel near the office (technically not in Paris, but outside it) so it was late by the time I got checked in and settled. It was too bad that the office was outside the city. I would have loved to have had time to see Paris again. It's been too long...
It was a busy weekend, but a lot of fun. I got to see a place I had wanted to visit for a long time, and see some things you don't get to see every day. The south of France is beautiful, and I hope I can get back to explore the countryside around Aix one of these days.