Carolyne Kauser-AbbottProvencal History & Traditions

Lynne Alderson’s Aixcentric Love for Aix en Provence

Challenged to find ratatouille and timely updates on current events, Lynne Alderson took matters into her hands and launched Aixcentric.

After three years, this blog is THE go-to source for what is happening in and around Aix en Provence. From bus strikes to gallery openings, from Marseille’s shopping to the best ice cream – Lynne makes it easy for us all to be “in the know.”

Why Provence?

The Aldersons split their time between a house in England and a flat in Aix. Their travel incentive is the opportunity to visit their children – daughters in the UK and a son in Provence. Then again, who can argue with the weather in Provence?

Lynne is a regular Perfectly Provence contributor and a British Airways frequent flyer. Below, Lynne shares her story and some of her favourite things about Aix en Provence.

They chose Aix en Provence for their French home as Lynne readily admits she is an urban creature. Her interests lie in movies, museums, bookstores and regular newspapers, not renovating a rundown farmhouse. The beauty of Aix has charmed the Aldersons, and the easy commute from London is a bonus.

A Blog is Born

As a vegetarian, Lynne has had underwhelming food encounters in Provence. She has had her fill with goat cheese salads and is frustrated with the fresh market vegetables that never seem to make it onto Provencal menus. Lynne informs Aixcentric readers about good vegetarian options in local restaurants.

Lynne studied English Language and Literature at Edinburgh University. Her career covered a swath from journalism to marketing communications. As an editor for the Anglo American Group of Provence newsletter, Lynne tells me it became evident that the monthly publication would often receive news on current happenings too late for the distribution timeline.

Hence, the inspiration for her blog.

Aixcentric focuses on Aix and Marseille and Lynne’s words “it’s a complete ragbag of snippets of information that I come across. Both Aix and Marseille are changing very quickly and hopefully the blog keeps all its followers up to speed with what’s new locally.”

What about the name? “I called it Aixcentric because that is what it is literally – and it was a little joke as the French are always saying we Brits are excentriques!”

Writing a Book

You might think Lynne would be busy enough with her blog and travel. Apparently not! She carved out a few months to write a book called Aix-en-Provence: The Inside Story.

Aix en Provence The Inside Story front cover via @AixCentric Lynne Alderson

Why?

“Because there is nothing similar available in English. Local guidebooks have a tendency to talk about the architecture of the buildings – the types of columns or facades – but very little about the people who lived in them. We can read about some well-known wealthy men, usually aristocrats connected to the Aix Parlement, but what about the servants, the farmers, the workers, and above all the women? What was daily life like for the people of the town? How did people cope with the constant outbreaks of plague? And what about Madame Cézanne – why do we never hear about her!”

You should buy the book to find out more about how the Revolution impacted Aix, the guillotine in Place des Precheurs and the aristocrats hanged on the Cours Mirabeau. Aix-en-Provence: The Inside Story is available online or from Book In Bar, the International bookstore in Aix.

Aix en Provence The Inside Story Back cover via @AixCentric Lynne Alderson

Here are Lynne’s Perfectly Provence recommendations for Aix en Provence:

Don’t Miss These

See the Rembrandt self-portrait in the Musée Granet

Have a picnic right on the top of the Saint-Victoire it’s unforgettable

Take a walk through the illuminated streets in the evening in December and celebrate with a large beaker of spiced wine at the Christmas market.

Tastes of Provence

Sample the Calissons, a traditional candy made in the town since the 14th century. If you like almonds, you will love these.

Calissons d'Aix
A truly enjoyable treat to make and connect with bakers long ago. Patience will be your reward if you can let them sit overnight to set. And while this is a traditional recipe, it is by no means easy to master. So even if it doesn’t look perfect, it will taste just as delicious. Served alongside afternoon tea or at the end of a delicious evening meal, these sweet delicate Calissons will be a welcome addition to your baking repertoire.
Check out this recipe
Calisson d'Aix Recipe
Calissons d'Aix a Sweet Candy
This recipe takes time. It's a fun culinary project with a sweet result. You need to leave enough time (about a week) for the fruit paste to reach the right consistency.
Check out this recipe
Calissons d'Aix Recipe

Spinach from the markets – tastes unbelievably and strongly “spinachy.” You can almost feel the iron entering your bloodstream.

Cavaillon melons in the summer, perfectly perfumed and juicy – what a treat.

Cold Melon Soup Starter
This is one of my preferred recipes: it's very simple and easy to make but incredibly good and all your guests will enjoy it so much. Now...as the main ingredient is melon you should choose a really good one as that will make the difference. You might be tempted to add something, well...I did in the beginning, then I just reduced the ingredients at the minimum and that's simply perfect.
Check out this recipe
Melon Soup #CookingClasses #Provence @venisenprovence

Visit a boulanger in Aix-en-Provence.

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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

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