Even if you don’t really speak French, one word you’ll get to know very quickly during the month of August in Paris is fermé.    As the temperatures creep up, everyone leaves town.  So I decided to do the same.

My good friend Alissa just moved to Toulouse for a French adventure and, more importantly, to start her post-doc at the university.  Toulouse is about 5 hours south of Paris and it’s known as “the pink city” for all of its brick architecture…

It’s a charming city, but we noticed that there were also a lot of fermé signs there.  So we decided to take a little road trip to Aix En Provence.  Along the way we stopped in the ancient city of Carcassonne.

If you’ve ever imagined life as a knight, a princess, or if you’re simply a fan of medieval history then you must plan a visit to this magnificent city on a hill that dates back to the 5th century.

Before long we were back in the car whizzing past sunflower fields on our way to Aix.  And when we landed there, we immediately understood why everything in the big city shuts down in August.  Aix en Provence is one of those places where everyone goes en vacances.

This city glows in soft summer light.  There’s music everywhere in the streets…

And everyone moves at a relaxed pace, taking time to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of summertime:  a good meal on the cobblestone streets, an ice cream cone as you stroll through the square, an afternoon sitting poolside after a massage (http://www.thermes-sextius.com/)…

But I guess it’s true that “all good things must come to an end,”  because before I knew it I was saying goodbye to Toulouse and hopping on the train back to Paris.

The air has changed and some of those fermé signs will be coming down this week.  Including the one on the door of the shop where I’ll start my new internship!  On Tuesday I will begin a new stage at Tartes Kluger (http://www.tarteskluger.com/).  More on that soon…

Until then, I hope you every last minute of your vacances…

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