This morning, I drove to Valence, accompanied by my dog Sophia, we jumped aboard a TGV (high-speed train), and an hour later we were in Marseilles, where we were picked up by Natacha and Alain. I admired for the first time their delightful new flat in a quiet neighborhood of the city. For a cold lunch, Natacha had prepared an excellent Provençal dish whose name, aïoli, I would not attempt to translate: vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beans, etc) accompanied by thick mayonnaise mixed with garlic crushed in a marble mortar.
We then spent the afternoon strolling through the sunny streets of Aix-en-Provence. Posters in the Provençal capital remind us that a major French election is just around the corner. On the Cours Mirabeau, a grand statue of Good King René identifies the ancient but eternal chief of this magnificent city. With such a monarch bestowing his grace upon them, one wonders if the people of Aix really need to elect a president.