First a few pieces of information to let you know where we are on our travels right now. Aix is a town in south of France about 30 kilometers north of Marseille (by the way get ready to go to Marseille soon as it is a significant city in the life of St Eugene). Unlike most of France which has an oceanic climate, Aix-en-Provence has a Mediterranean climate. It means that people here enjoy a warm climate, it is similar to what Sydneysiders have. The population of Aix numbers approximately 143,000. Its inhabitants are called Aixois. The history of the town goes back 22 centuries when the hills in the vicinity of Aix had numerous fortified villages. We also know that in 375 AD a bishop was residing here whose name was Maximinus.
Aix is a small, classically Provençal town, famous for being home to Paul Cézanne who was born here in 1839 and Emile Zola who was educated here. The Aix University is famous for its Law Faculty. As in all Provençal towns, the town consists narrow streets, lined with interesting buildings from 17th century
hotels to paved plazas. The town is known for many fountains and, what is my observation, many statues of Mary and saints looking over crowds of locals and
tourists from the corners of the buildings. Another important thing to remember, in order to understand St Eugene, is that Aix has always been a rich city. If you are on budget side you better continue to Marseille for accommodation and meals. Another option is to be an Oblate and you will be able to get accommodation in the convent that is the cradle of the Oblate Order, but we will talk about it later. Aixois have been always well-off. Even local candies called Callisons are horrendously expensive. However as you can guess wealthy people need lots of staff to maintain their life style. That’s why Aix at the time of St. Eugene saw many poor working for the rich. Into such a place and situation the future Founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Bishop of Marseille and a Saint of the Church was born.
I have been here for a few days now and one thing I am sure of… I love this town.
A few pictures of the town: