Essence of Aix en Provence
Ruby and Marianne sat at the fountain at one of the lovely squares in Aix (pronounced X) en Provence discussing new settings for the next in series Draker novel.
“Setting is more than just the physical surroundings. It’s the essence of a place, that feeling that gives the scene it’s mood,” Ruby said.
I agreed and allowed all my scenes to absorb the atmosphere. A white-haired man with a cane walked past, casting a long look in our direction. Ah ha, I thought. I have a suspicious character who might have thoughts of doing Ruby some harm. He disappeared into the crowd only to be noticed a few streets over in the historic section where the shops displayed designer hand bags and clothing. Definitely suspicious. Yes, this is material that I can use.
Aix is famous for Les Deux Garcons, a restaurant touted to have been frequented by Paul Cezanne. We decided to enjoy a cappuccino in the front patio where another character caught my eye. From behind, the woman appeared lithe and sophisticated, her hair styled in a layered bob. She wore a dark green well fitted jacket with skin tight leggings. Everyone seemed to know her and came to greet her with air kisses and hugs. I assumed she was someone important. Then she turned to catch the attention of a waiter. She caught me completely by surprise. Her darkly tanned face was creped with deep set wrinkles and her nose had a crook at the top that reminded me of older women in impressionist paintings. I would have liked to have taken a photo but that would have been rude, so I committed the image to memory for future reference. Ruby approved.
The balmy heat of the day locked the smells of diesel and freshly baked pastries into the narrow allies where the crowds tightened. A feeling of claustrophobia gripped my stomach. It was time to leave – or perhaps escape as I would craft the scene as I write the new mystery.
Tomorrow Ruby will show us her home (or at least the inspiration for Fairhaven, the Draker safehouse in St. Jean Cap Ferret ) Join us for another day of exploration and imagination. See you there.