In Part 1 of this post, I suggested an itinerary for a fashion fan’s morning stroll around the fleamarket, depot-ventes and vintage boutiques of Aix-en-Provence, leading up to a stop to re-fuel at the Bistrot des Philosophes. So now here’s the afternoon plan, with some serious boutique shopping, starting Big….
- From Forum des Cardeurs, walk back across the Place de l’Hotel de Ville and down rue Foch to rue de la Glaciere where you will find La Grande Boutique. This offers three floors of wonderful fashion, with french brands well-represented with Isabel Marant, Jérôme Dreyfuss and Vanessa Bruno as well as Joseph, Rag & Bone and Raquel Allegra.
- Need a hat to go with it? Around the corner in rue Aude, you’ll find Berenice Chapellerie with a broad range of headgear on offer from a bowler to a bandana. I found love there with a beautiful Borsalino fedora, something that is already inspiring me to freshen up my style for autumn.
- Follow rue Aude down through Place St-Honore into rue Fabrot to discover Gago. This is another very inspiring boutique, this time specialising in more conceptual fashion – Commes des Garcons, Sofie D’hoore, Jaquemus, Rick Owens and Alaia as well as a great selection of Celine handbags. I found their window display a pure shot of fashion genius.
- From here, cross the Cours Mirabeau and head east to rue Marechal Joffre for a final depot-vente stop at Chinez Chic, a tiny shop but with a broad selection of clothes, shoes and accessories from Chanel jackets to Parisienne favourite, Robert Clergerie shoes.
- Need to sit for a while and contemplate? For the anglophone or anglophile, find time to browse in Book in Bar, a gem of an English language bookshop at 4, rue Joseph Cabassol, a short stroll west from rue Marechal Joffre, across the rue d’Italie. As well as a wonderful selection of books, there is also a cafe where you can enjoy the very English delight of tea and scones.
- If you have completed this fashion marathon, then you need a serious drink. Across the road, at the Centre Caumont, you will find an exquisitely restored mansion, now housing an art gallery and terraced cafe in pure Les Liasions Dangereuses style. Before 7pm you can absorb the gorgeous interior and art; after 7pm the cafe opens as the ultimate rococo cocktail bar, Lounge Caumont: enjoy un verre as if you were the Marquise de Merteuil. You’ve deserved it.
If, after all that, you still lack a reason to visit Provence, then I recommend a visit to Vicki Archer’s beautiful and inspiring blog. I shall be relying on it to keep me topped up with Provence spirit while I winter in rainy London.