Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cours Mirabeau

Last night I once again found myself scarfing down an apple tarte at the 24 hour boulangerie, but managed to persuade myself to bypass Pizza Capri. These late night treasures are both situated by Aix’s most bustling street- the Cours Mirabeau. By far one of the widest streets in Aix, the Cours Mirabeau can actually fit two lanes of traffic and (most) pedestrians don’t dare to walk down the middle, unlike on the other narrow, cobbled streets.

I cross this grand street every day, whether walking to school or meeting up with friends, and each time I get to the roundabout I have to stop and stare at the steaming fountain in the middle of the street. One of Aix’s many fountains, this one, near Rue du 4 Septembre, is covered in some sort of vegetation and steams when it gets cold enough. Last night I couldn’t help myself and had to take a picture because the steam was almost as enticing as the Boyne Highlands pool in January.

The steaming fountain sits in the middle of the Cours Mirabeau, but further down the street is an even more massive fountain, centered at the Rotonde. This is by far the largest fountain I’ve seen in Aix, and it’s decorated with tons of blue lights in the winter. La Rotonde is a favorite meeting place and reference point for getting anywhere in the rambling streets of the Centre Ville. Another place where cars rule the street (an anamoly in downtown Aix), you actually have to abide by the crossing lights (most of the time). Across the street from La Rotonde is also a big carousel, which I (of course) have to ride before I leave.

In addition to fountains and a carousel, the Cours Mirabeau is home to many cafés and restaurants (although I haven’t found any with wifi yet.) What fascinates me about these cafés is that they have outdoor seating year-round. Although I may have teased the French for their fear of snow, they surely don’t mind taking a lunch outside in 35-40 degree weather. Admittedly, some of the restaurants have little outdoor heaters, but not all, and I haven’t gathered enough courage to dine outside yet. (Not to mention the fact that I haven’t gathered the funds to eat at these places. They’re also a wee bit pricey.)

Nestled between these restaurants, I’ve also discovered some bookstores. Learning a foreign language was never so great until the moment I entered that first store and saw the thousands of books that I had never read. Even if I had already read them in English, reading in French is a completely different experience. I started off with Harry Potter, figuring it would be easier to read a story I’m familiar with, and branch out from there. So far, I’ve learned that French children everywhere have been awed by stories of a boy named Harry who attends a school of “sorcellerie” called “Poudlard.” Poudlard. What is that? Where did Hogwarts go? And why are the Muggles called “Moldus?” I want to learn some more languages just so I can see where the Mexican and German children think Harry Potter goes to school.

So ends my jaunt along the Cours Mirabeau. I’m sure I will find more fantastic treasures there soon enough.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Erin, I'm glad to hear that you've found a bookstore. That's a good way to learn about the local history and improve your french. Its finally starting to snow again, here in Paradise.
    At least a little. It must be really something to know that you are in a different country like France. Your lucky to be there. Are any of your friends, french? Reading your blog is like reading about "Erins Travels" It sounds like you're enjoying it. Well i have to go,take care, we miss you, love dad and teresa.