Reflections and comment first:
1)Since we arrived in France we have loved the avenues of trees in every town and village. They seem to be mostly plane trees and meet over the of two lane or smaller roads. They shade the roads letting through dappled light. On the first day Pete said "Napoleon started this planting of trees on the side of roads so that his soldiers would have shade while marching and somewhere cool to rest." WE all decided that that information was a bit far fetched. But today we finally checked it it. It was true and the tradition has been continued. I'm not sure how much Napoleon's armies benefited though!!
2) We've been staggered by the number of women putting themselves up for elections. There are elections next week end and large posters up all over the place. They are mostly women, with a very occasional man.
3) public toilets. Today in Aix de Provence we had a bit of a dilemma. A toilet was needed. There wasnt one in the information centre but the map showed one a short distance away. It wasn't accepting coins so that we could open the door. SO after a little conference, Pete said "department stores always have one!" so he and Mike took off one way, and I went the other (yve had gone to see if she could get a massage, where I'm sure there was a toilet. Probably at the same time both parties found a department store and got the same message. No public toilets. The girl who told me had a bit of English. "Very bad in France (crossing her legs to make the point), go to a hotel and have a drink, then you can use toilet. So I went to a restaurant (I know thats NOT a hotel,ut I thought i t would work the same way) thinking Id have a coffee and toilet. I looked round for the toilet but couldn't see it, so asked for the coffee and then the whereabouts of the toilet: But no, a coffee wasn't enough, toilets are for customers only; meal customers! Just as well I wasn't desperate! I looked again at my map and realised that an Art museum with an interesting looking exhibition, wasn't that far away (10 minutes walk,) and surely there they would have to have a toilet! And yes they did. But first I had to go through an metal detector doorway, buy my ticket, put my bag and camera into a locker, and then I was in and could get into the courtyard to the toilet. I was getting desperate ny then!
The exhibition turned out to be very interesting. Expressionism form Frieder Burders private collection in Bader Bader Germany. I learned a lot with the aid of an audio commentary. Still don't warm to Picasso but some others that I first didn't think a lot of, after listening to commentary I reconsidered one in particular and went from a 'cool' response to 'I like it!' In fact the more I saw it the more I liked it!
When I left the exhibition I went into a church nearby, just to have a squizzy. For a change it not only wasn't over the top, it was very plain except for a stunning stained glass window
As an extra bonus there was an organist playing fantastic music. If it was a performance he didn't have an audience, but could well have been rehearsing for one. Not church music and different.
Aix de Provence calls itself the city of fountains. There are a lot, but the ones that caught my eye were two of the fountains covered in maiden hair fern like the big one in Salon. I now have an answer to how they grow. They are fed from thermal springs with the water around 18 degrees.
The one named 'mossy" was built in 1734!!! (the size of the one in Salon suggests three times as old but couldn't be!??)
They didn't say when this little one was built. They are obviously prepared to wait!