Provence Odyssey | Aix: Le Dîner – La Cantine
Oh pretty Aix, if only I could write you an ode that befits the glory of your pastel-coloured visage, your night times streets ambient with the warmth of your peoples’ passion, night strollers treading the tango under the shelter of wide plane trees hung with glowing lanterns, around your fountains bustling restaurant tables clustered, and on your honey-painted walls, light reflected from street lamps and cafe candles. Aix, the city of students, of Cézanne, of the chic and the cultured, a city whose spirit is unceasing throughout day and night, and whose elixir of life bursts like electricity bolts through the long boulevards and across your terracotta rooftops.
Yes, by evening on our first day in Aix, a passion for Aix had swept over us both, as we wandered its streets and squares captivated by its reflected glory. Finding a gastronomic feast to match our experience was not difficult, and in one large square close to the law courts and the old Hotel de Ville, one restaurant in particular, its tables set out under the natural canopy of trees, candles flickering on its grey tables, drew us to it. The restaurant was La Cantine, offering a mix of corsican, Italian and Provençal food, but with a menu whose platters of charcuterie and oozing local cheeses had about it the casual feel of Spanish tapas.
Dinner at La Cantine
Yet beyond the small tasty samplings of our meat-loaded starter, unctuous main courses more than satisfied our growing hunger at this temple of gastronomic delights – a succulent lamb dish sweetened in honey for Dominik, and for me a pile of perfectly al dente gorgonzola cheese pasta, retaining both a bite to the pasta, but a creamy explosion of rich blue cheese. Exquisite.
For dessert, a fresh tart of strawberries and a salted caramel crunch more than satisfied our now loaded bellies, part filled as they were at the beginning of the evening by spectacular ice cream cocktails, consumed out of the coolest of ice cream containers that I have ever seen.
Words cannot alone describe the buzz of this incredible city, nor my remembrances of a dinner eaten to an accompaniment of chirping birds and splashing fountains aptly recreate the pleasure of that evening. So I leave you instead with some night time photos, of a city alive despite the late hour, of buildings shining with glowing projected words cast upon them, and of fountains and cafes full of the crowds who keep Aix pumping long into the night.
Aix by night
- Provence Odyssey | Aix: Day 9 – In search of Cézanne (daily-norm.com)
- Provence Odyssey | Avignon: Le Dîner – Coin Caché (daily-norm.com)
- Provence Odyssey | Arles: Le Dîner – l’Atelier de Jean-Luc Rabenel (daily-norm.com)