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Well, here we are at the end of October. The nights are drawing in, it’s becoming noticeably colder and the husband is delighted that he can now light the log burner. But before getting into all of that, I’d like to take you back to the end of August. Imagine a gentle summer breeze, the cries of children playing in the sea, the feel of the warm sun on your face, the scent of freshly baked bread and pastries….and the insistent voice of a small English woman dragging her husband behind her in the search for a fabric shop. Yes, I’d like to tell you about our little trip to the south of France.

A distinctly un-summery British summer led the husband to beg that we go somewhere in search of a little warmth. As I’m not terribly keen on flying, I was delighted to discover that Eurostar had started running trains all the way from London St Pancras to Avignon and Marseille in the south of France. So, we boarded a train very early on a hazy Sunday morning in happy anticipation of warmer weather, quantities of French wine, freshly baked pastries….and (for me at least) the possibility of stocking up on beautiful French fabric!

The city of Marseille underwent a major facelift a few years ago when it was named the European capital of culture in 2013. It’s very different to Paris but I actually much preferred its friendlier vibe and, of course, its proximity to the sea made it particularly appealing! Here are a couple of (slightly arty!) photos:

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Marseille from Notre dame de la grande

We spent a great deal of time just wandering around the various quartiers. I particularly liked the rather bohemian district of Le panier, which is the oldest part of the city. It is now the city’s artistic quarter and you can find several artists’ studios and workshops:

Artwork in Le Panier Mirror tiles - Le Panier Mosaic - entrance to Le Panier Staircase - entrance to Le Panier Pretty window - Le Panier

It is also home to the narrowest streets that I’ve ever come across. I have absolutely no idea how the Marseille folk manage to navigate them but I’m guessing not always terribly well judging by the number of cars that we saw with severe scratches and bumps!

I did, of course, seek out a fabric shop and found one in the Rue de Rome where I just couldn’t resist purchasing a metre of this absolutely beautiful owl fabric:

Owl fabric

Did you know that the French word for owl is hibou (pronounced ee-boo)? It’s such a lovely word. It even sounds like an owl hooting (perhaps with a French accent…)

Towards the end of our week we took a little trip to the lovely city of Aix-en-Provence where we happened upon a lively little market:

Lavender bags - Aix market

Close up of Lavender bags

Sunflowers - Aix en Provence

And wouldn’t you know it! I found another fabric shop! The delightful Tissus la Victoire can be found nestling in the Place Richelme. It was a veritable treasure trove of colour. The typical Provencal fabrics, known for their vibrant designs and colours, are called Indiennes. I could have taken several metres home with me but I’m not certain who would have carried the suitcases….

Tissus La Victoire

Aix-en-Provence was apparently built over hot springs and every time we turned a corner, we came across a little fountain. I particularly liked a fountain that is affectionately known as Mossy. Can you guess why?

Mossy fountain

It isn’t quite as grand though as the stunning Fontaine de la Rotonde:

Fountain - Aix en Provence

If you haven’t taken a little trip to this part of France, I’d highly recommend it. Indeed, I do hope that we’ll be able to return at some point as there is so much that we would still like to see and, of course, I’m quite certain that there are many fabric shops that I still need to visit! Perhaps with a slightly larger suitcase…hmm…

A la prochaine fois 😉

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