Places, continued

I did not think it could happen, but yesterday I discovered a hitherto unexplored place in the centre of Aix en Provence. I was having a walk and enjoying the way the facades get more slanted and colourful when you walk up to the old city wall, when I passed in front of a passage between two tall houses. It led into a little yard where you could find all kind of expensive decorative objects for sale, including very beautiful and useless birdcages that opened to the four winds.

That’s it, really. A small yard with giant bamboos, a wall separating it from an other yard with more bamboos and palm trees. A shack resembling a Japanese house. And birdcages. This is probably one of those secluded place where the rich population of Aix hide away from the riff-raff (understand: penniless students who don’t even own a four-wheel drive). It’s a bit daunting to walk into those yard with their exotic evergreens, or those gigantic staircases with columns and ancient marble steps, and think that for some people it is nothing but a very normal place to live. The stairs in my own building show every wrinkle from their four hundred year of age. The lead-white painting on the windows is falling in scales, and it took an imaginative tour-de-force to turn the 30 square metres of our flat into something where two people can live comfortably. And I consider myself beyond privileged.


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