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by Richie

Aix-en-Provence, France

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The big city of Aix was today’s grand venue. Melissa arranged a special treat for us – a tour of a chocolate factory! Puyricard is a super-duper chocolate maker, supplying creamy and lucious confections all made by hand. We were outfitted in sanitary suits for the two-hour tour, and got to sample chocolates from each work station. The factory has only 15 employees, and they are very picky about quality. We saw many perfectly good chocolates tossed in the trash for some tiny imperfection. I’d guess we won’t find Puyricard products at home because the shelf life is only a few days. No preservatives!

Shopping in Aix was next – a modern city with plenty of high-end stores. Tim is on a constant quest for Absinthe, which is a liqueur that used to be banned in the US because it’s slightly, well, hallucinogenic. Absinthe can be credited for assisting the great artists of the 1890’s, like Van Gogh.

Lunch was enjoyed at an outdoor cafe in the historic district. We sat in a tiny alleyway squeezed between ornate gothic buildings and watched the locals go about their daily business.