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Traipsing through Provencal market towns: A CEA Excursion

Up bright and early, ready to head to Aix-en-Provence for our first CEA excursion. Thanks to our wonderful program director, not only were we able to spend the weekend in beautiful Aix, we also had the opportunity to visit a few other villages.
Despite a few hiccups, we had (in the words of our program director) a very “serendipitous” weekend. It started off with a lecture and visit to Cezanne studio. Many of the objects in his studio became inspirations for his still life work. This sufficed our art history portion of Aix, until we visited the antique market where there were examples of pottery similar to the work of Cezanne. Moving on to our surprise dinner Friday evening, we visited Chez Charlotte, a wonderful hole in the wall restaurant. The ambient setting meets delicious food, with a menu focusing on in season market vegetables from the Provencal region.

 CEA student enjoying the vineyards of the French foreign legion

The rest of our time in Aix took us to the home of the French foreign legion. The vineyards of the French foreign legion are a haven for retired soldiers. The legion produces wine in the Provence region, in the Sainte-Victoire mountains; the residents oversee the vineyard and harvest a wine that is world famous. We were able to wander about somewhat of a petting zoo, where we got to feed goats and few wild boars, which was a hoot to say the least.
On Sunday, we ended our time in Aix and visited the small town of Isle sur la Sorgue, which on a Sunday morning was a flurry of activity with the town covered in both a large antique market and food. Sorgue began our lovely Sunday, wandering the towns streets looking for homemade French soap, and treating ourselves to the fresh fruit of the Provencal region. From Sorgue, we continued onto Fontaine de Vaucluse, a small town that sits on a river that literally gushes up from the ground. The water is so fresh, that there are fountains where one can drink the river water straight. We indulged in the French lifestyle of ease, and had a picnic lunch along the river with our spoils from the Provencal markets.
 CEA student picnicking by the river in Sorgue

Last stop before Avignon was Gordes, a medieval village we came upon. The village is perched on the Plateau de Vaucluse, there are stone buildings built right into the cliffs. The village encased in the cliffs has incredible views of fields and forests for as far as the eye can see. After Gordes, we continued onto Avignon where we spent the rest of our evening. We walked a ways up and were greeted with an amazing panorama of the city and the mountains surrounding it. Our first CEA excursion will be a trip to remember; how we fit so many things into an absolutely relaxing weekend can only be attributed to our wonderful CEA directors. 
 The medieval village of Gordes

Much thanks to Vivienne, the CEA director in Aix-en-Provence, for hosting us, and the ever marvelous Grenoble CEA Director, Patrick, for planning such a wonderful weekend for us.  
Zamzam Abdulgani is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in the French Alps. She is currently a Junior at Washington State University. 

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