Aix-en-Provence name comes from a Roman consul, Sixties Calvinus, who gave his name to Aquae Sextiae, “the Baths of Sixties,” a site of thermal springs in 123BC. Aix-en-Provence has about 140,000 residents and is generally considered a university town.  There are great many sights to see here.  The Cours Mirabeau is a wide thoroughfare, planted with double rows of plane-trees, bordered by fine houses and decorated by fountains. It follows the line of the old city wall and divides the town into two sections.  Along this avenue, which is lined on one side with banks and on the other with cafés, is the Deux Garçons, the most famous brasserie in Aix. Built in 1792, it has been frequented by the likes of Paul Cézanne, Émile Zola and Ernest Hemingway.  There are at least 11 different post secondary schools, and a host of museums and galleries.   A Swiss painter, dealer and art collector Jean Plaque, a personal friend of Pablo Picasso, has donated to Le Musée Granet his collection of  over 300 works of art, including paintings and drawings by Degas, Renoir. Gauguin, Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Klee, Fernand Léger, Giacometti and Dubuffet.  If there is a social commentary to be made here, the rich ask for hands out to build  arenas for their entertainment teams, the wealthy on this side of the pond donate priceless works of art – simple greed vs true philanthropy.  We saw the same thing in Paris at Musee d’Orsay, a large donation of priceless paintings given to the museum under one condition, that they will always remain together in a room.  It is an interesting take on life and what people consider important in the end.


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