Wednesday, October 19, 2016


I spent the weekend before Koha hackfest with Sophie from BibLibre and her family about 40 minutes out of Marseilles, near Aix en Provence.

You would think living in hotels and eating in restaurants every meal would be glamorous - and it is for a while - but there is nothing nicer than being embraced by a family and living normally. The best thing of all is that the home was full of beautiful contemporary art and they like gorgeous food as much as I do :)

We spent Saturday being tourists and Provence was everything that everyone has ever told me it would be.

Sophie and Eric were the perfect hosts / tour guides and the first stop was a total surprise: Paul Cezanne's studio! It was just as it had been left and has been in the family ever since. It is now set up as a lovely low key museum with his props and paint brushes and also letters and papers.

 We then spent a few hours wandering Aix including the church - with a baptismal font dating back to the first century (not a typo). There was also a fabulous front door that is only opened 20 minutes a day - and we got to see it.

The market was probably a typical French market with gorgeous looking tables loaded with spices, olives, cheeses, salami, veges, spices, mushrooms but I found it charming and wonderful and took loads of photos. I also tasted a lot and bought salami and nougat as a small contribution to the wonderful food that I knew we would eat later in the weekend.

We also went to an old Cistercian Abbey. This Abbey is completely austere, devoid of ornamentation and absolutely beautiful. That term a 'religious' sense of awe; well that is how I felt walking around. I am constantly amazed at the engineering and craftsmanship employed by the cathedral builders back in the day.

We visited a few galleries and drank wine and ate tarte tartin and bought linen and then headed time to ignore each other for a few hours before the most wonderful home cooked meal where we ate cheese and salami and bread and olives followed by a succulent veal casserole. Brunch on Sunday was the best meal I've had in weeks including the fluffiest lightest pancakes made by Sophie's daughter that one can imagine. It sounds like we ate all weekend and actually we pretty much did - in between wonderful sightseeing. As far as hospitality goes and all round experience I rate 'Sophie's' as a 5 star establishment!

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