A Family Reunion 3,000 Miles from Home

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I grew up in a small family.  My parents were both only children so I have no first cousins. But the lore of the Francks of Berlin, Germany,  the generation of my father’s mother and her four brothers, filled the space of family history. This was a larger-than-life generation, at times volcanic and cantankerous, five…

On the Road to Moustiers Sainte-Marie

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The village of Moustiers Sainte-Marie, built against a rocky hillside near the entrance of Europe’s deepest canyon, the Gorges du Verdon, is slightly less than 60 miles to the northeast of Aix-en-Provence.  Yet this picturesque village, known for its high-end ceramic pottery and its 12th century chapel looking down on it and Lac de Sainte…

I Buy a Straw Hat at the Aix Market

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I’m ready with an answer now when friends ask: “What do you do all day in Aix-en-Provence?” “I go to the market,” I’ll tell them. And I’ve got more to say. “I smell the spices, smell the chickens turning on the spit, inhale the scent of Easter lilies. I listen to the street musicians and the…

Une Petite Pause

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The folks hosting this blog are doing some server updates later today. So I’m going to take a 48-hour break from blogging while my stellar grad assistant in Boston, Jared Bennett, gets things back up to speed. I’ll be back Friday with the first of three parts called On the Road in Northeast Provence. Hope…

A Concert Across Three Cultures

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Joshua Fit de Battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho …. American gospel?  Resonating through the squares of Aix-en-Provence at mid-day Tuesday?  Sung by a young German chorus? All true. And if you happen to be in Aix-en-Provence tomorrow night (April 16), at 8:30, you can hear the group for free at Eglise du Saint-Esprit, 40 Rue…

A Different Kind of Concert

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It seemed like a good idea — a concert of Mozart and Bach in Aix’s 13th century, Eglise Saint-Jean-de-Malte, with its gothic arches and newly sand-blasted walls.  When I called five hours before concert time, the woman at the other end of the line said it would be free, other than a contribution to the…