Provence, France // Travel & Personal

Aix En Provence, France

Nothing so far has hit me like the beauty of Provence.  The pastels, the breeze, the enormous yet elegant trees, the people, the language, the slowness...it speaks to a part of me that hasn't been reached otherwise.  It can be so easy to be caught up in your own life: am I doing the right job, is this the way things are supposed to go, am I doing enough to be healthy, am I maintaining the relationships I have well--the list continues.  

I've been to Provence twice, and both times prior to leaving I was a bit of a mess, albeit in different ways.  The first time I was recovering from a rough season of anxiety at college (definitely had some identity questioning going on there) and the second time I was an excited mess because of planning for our wedding (if you're planning a wedding now/have planned a wedding, you know how crazy exhausting that can be!).  

When I arrived in Provence, though, it's like all of that faded.  The sun is covered by clouds about once every ten to fourteen days or so, and you can tell the change in the people that live there.  It's an awful day for them when it's cloudy, but being from Ohio where it feels like the seasons change from day to day I know that so much sun was an incredible blessing.  It's healing and revealing of the beauty found in Provence, specifically Aix-en-Provence, where I did some of my studies.

 
 I took the liberty of this shortcut to school many times ;)

I took the liberty of this shortcut to school many times ;)

 

Even looking at these photos gives me an air of relaxation.  I can imagine vividly the smell of lavender and rosemary, see the flower market on Tuesday and Thursday mornings (and Saturdays, but it's way too busy for my introverted soul), hear a variety of softly spoken French and click-clacks of heels down the cobblestone streets, and experience the combination of warmth on my skin mixed with the occasional breeze.  Just thinking about it makes me want to go back!

Provence France Photography by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Provence France Photography by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography

Aix also boasts, unofficially, the title of World's Most Unique Doors (that I've seen to date).  They're brimming with history of people that have lived there and characterize the streets in such a way that you actually feel welcome there.  I also have a bit of a thing for doors, so ;)

 
Provence France Photography by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
 
 
 The front of Sciences-Po, the political science college on the way down to the markets.

The front of Sciences-Po, the political science college on the way down to the markets.

 
Provence France Photography by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Provence France Photography by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Provence France Photography by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Provence France Photography by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography

If you have not tried pain au chocolat, you are straight missing out.  Check out that buttery goodness!

Provence France Photography by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography

Lavender is a smell I didn't really like prior to moving to Provence, but after about a week there I loved it.  It's such a huge part of the character of the region!

 Grainy record of a greatly spontaneous creative moment (feat. lavender bouquet that a TSA dog stopped us for when we got back to the US because we forgot we had it)

Grainy record of a greatly spontaneous creative moment (feat. lavender bouquet that a TSA dog stopped us for when we got back to the US because we forgot we had it)

 Matt proving his occasional English accent has merit by eating some DELICIOUS English chips.  You'd think that chips can't do that much; they're just chips.  But look at Matt's face.  World-changing chips right there in our Airbnb.

Matt proving his occasional English accent has merit by eating some DELICIOUS English chips.  You'd think that chips can't do that much; they're just chips.  But look at Matt's face.  World-changing chips right there in our Airbnb.

 
Provence France Photography by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
 

One of my (other) favorite things about Provence was the rosé.  Matt called it juice on more than one occasion, but the color, smell, and taste all reflect the region--it's about living light and enjoying what you have.  Even if it tastes like not-alcohol.

 Open-air markets = temptation

Open-air markets = temptation

Provence France Photography by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Provence France Photography by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Provence France Photography by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography

Okay, so I wish we were able to get the person that took this picture in our picture too, but this is from one of my favorite moments Matt and I had in Aix during our honeymoon.  We met up with Pierre, my host brother from when I studied in Aix, and went out for drinks...or a drink.  Pierre said it was meant for five people, but we had three, then two more French people and a Russian girl showed up (Pierre + Tinder = ?).  Twas a night full of unexpected twists and that omg-we-just-got-married look in our eyes.  :-)