AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France — Hotel Cardinal sits three blocks south tree-lined Cours Mirabeau in the heart of this city. Yet it couldn’t be quieter at night.
The ceilings of our room must be 12-feet high. It has three original paintings on the wall in gilded frames, all mounted askew on the lavender walls. A chandelier, also gilded, hangs from the ceiling. From our bed we watch the birds, swallows I believe, swoop among the buildings. Kathy has used the 3-foot porcelain sculpture of an orange rooster as a hat rack.
This is why vacations matter. The 10-inch TV set doesn’t seem to work, and I don’t care. The hotel does not have the advertised WiFi (wefee in French), and I don’t care. We walk everywhere, eat what we please and move at our own pace (slowly). Yesterday I read 100 pages for pleasure; it’s been awhile. The sky is cloudless, the air soft, moved by a quiet fan, our last-century form of air conditioning. Today I am contemplating a pastry filled with whip cream.
It is, as the French say, la vie. Staying in a place of faded grandeur (for $100 a night) adds a special charm. I recommend it.