August 6, 2012 3:10 pm
One of my favorite ways to spend a day in Aix is strolling through the winding streets stepping into one small shop after the next in search of unique French finds. From gourmet goodies to antique furnishings for the home to specialty soaps and scents to artisanal dishes to effortlessly chic clothes, it’s hard to leave the town empty-handed. I have a long list of favorite haunts, but these are the three stores I return to year after year.
1. Côte Bastidé - Owned by our very good friend Nicole Houques, Côte Bastidé is our absolute favorite place to shop for beautiful basics for the home. From candles to dishes to silverware to towels to baskets, everything inside the shop is pure and simple and evocative of the laid-back style of southern France.
Whenever we are expecting company, we light Fig Leaves candles throughout the entire house. The smell is fantastic.
We just bought the off-white glazed ceramic dishes for our new home. They are elegant and artisanal.
I love the Sand Shade Resin Handle silverware. It goes beautifully with the ceramic dishes.
Our favorite hand towels for the bath are the very thin linen towels with a bit of fringe on the ends. We are partial to the ones with the blue or red stripe—the color provides just a hint of pop.
2. à Anduze - a’Anduze is the best shop for buying glazed garden pots crafted in the South of France. The store has an incredible selection, including my favorite style: the Anduze planter. I love these large ceramic urns, which carry the seal of the craftsmen who made them. Originating in the town of Anduze at the foot of the Cévennes National Park in south-central France in the 16th century, the traditional pot is a Provence classic that can be spotted in gardens throughout the region. While they’re totally reminiscent of the past, they look completely contemporary.
We bought a number of these pots in Flammé (a combination of ochre and olive green) for our new home and are planting them with boxwood shrubs.
3. Monoprix - Monoprix is a staple across French cities. They carry everything—groceries, toiletries, wine and some really great clothes. It’s my go-to shop for so many things. At the Monoprix store in Aix, we buy Petit Bateau for the kids, cashmere sweaters with zippers, very cool socks, and we often stock up on groceries while we’re there. You never know what hidden treasure you’ll discover when walking the aisles.