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Aix-en-Provence

La Rotonde, Aix-en-Provence   The final installment in my travelogue of my time in France is my day in Aix-en-Provence, a sentimental journey 35 years after spending time there as a student. Taking the train from Marseille, I arrived about 8 a.m., hoping to avoid the blistering heat of the past few days. From the train station I walked to La Rotonde, a traffic circle surrounding a large fountain dating from 1860, topped by statues of the Three Graces. From the Rotonde extends the Cours Mirabeau, one of the most beautiful streets in Europe. Apart from a large Apple store and some upscale boutiques lining the Cours Mirabeau, the views were pretty much as I remembered them. Founded by the Romans, who discovered hot springs there, Aix was the capital of Provence during the middle ages, and after the 12th century, became an artistic center and seat of learning. The town exudes an air of old aristocracy, attested by the hôtels particuliers (private mansions) which line the Cours Mirabeau and the streets of the Quartier Mazarin to its south. It is still an artistic center; among its museums are the Musée Granet and the Fondation Vasarely, and just outside of town is the Atelier Cézanne, where the artist worked.       Hôtel de Ville and Clock Tower     Among the town’s many architectural treasures are the Hôtel de Ville and Clock Tower, the Cathedral of Saint Sauveur and its exquisite cloister, and small squares with fountains – Aix is filled with fountains, though my favorite, the

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Arles

Published on August 10, 2015, by in France, Photography, Travel.

  This was my first visit to Arles, in Provence in southern France. The town contains some impressive Roman vestiges, including an amphitheater and an Arena. I was fortunate that my arrival coincided with the annual photography exhibition Les Rencontres de la Photographie, held in locations and historic buildings throughout the town. I spent one entire day wandering from one photo exhibit to the next, in the intense summer heat.   I spent three days in Arles, staying at the delightful Hostellerie de la Source just outside of town. Among the highlights of my stay was a bakery and pastry shop that sold wonderful Provencal sablés (a kind of shortbread). I ate several. I had intended on the final day to take a bus to Saint-Remy and Les Baux de Provence, but after standing at the appointed bus stop among a group of travelers for an hour, the bus never showed up. Those destinations will be saved for a future trip.         Cathedral of St. Trophime           St. Trophime cloister           Roman Arena            Photography exhibit            Photography exhibit, Archbishop’s Palace            Photography exhibit, photo group and chair         Open window  

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Shanghai, old post office building

Published on April 3, 2015, by in Photography, Shanghai, Travel.
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chair

Tongli ancient town, Jiangsu Province, historic house museum

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daytrip in Shanghai

Shanghai Pudong skyline     Since Shanghai is 25 minutes by express train from Suzhou, it makes a convenient day trip. I’m already starting to think of Shanghai as the Magic Kingdom – the above view across the river toward Pudong is as stunning by day as it is by night. On my most recent trip I got to sample the famous 小笼包 xiaolongbao dumplings at a tiny restaurant that always has a line out the door. I also discovered the Foreign Languages bookstore and an art bookstore. I plan to make the city my destination at least every couple of weeks.     小笼包 xiaolongbao Shanghai dumplings