- Book: Map of Another Town
- Location: Aix-en-Provence
- Author: M F K Fisher
Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher was an American food writer. Over her lifetime she wrote 27 books and believed that eating well was just one of the “arts of life” and explored this in her writing in the second half of the 20th Century, living in the city with her 2 daughters. In her home country of USA, she is a celebrated food writer.
This book is an assemblage of her multiple experiences of being in Aix and savouring the French way of life, which of course involves food – but as she so eloquently conveys – so much more. She wanders the streets, takes note of the tiniest detail and introduces her readers to the people she encounters.
She discovers – you can feel her glee – a new fangled contraption that skewers hot dogs and slides them into buns (not a hit with her daughters, however). She just delights in her surroundings, in particular the various personal, curious encounters and experiences that make this such a charming read.
The Cours Mirabeau, really, is a stunning street at the heart of the city and anyone who has been to Aix will remember it. It has visual grandeur, atmospheric lustre and a real sense of history. The author informs that it was constructed in 1651 when the royal art of taking the air in public came into vogue. It became an aristocratic promenade. It is populated by fountains, which she observes details and her delight is palpable. You can just sense her pleasure in transposing her experiences onto the page!
It may have been written fairly soon after the end of WW2 but it still has a relevance today. The colours of the environs come through and are still a lure for those who will visit the city. Put the book on your list if you intend to travel to beautiful Aix-en-Provence. And if you have been, then this will transport you back in time, in no time, a perfect choice for #literarytourism!