An alley at dawn in Aix-en-Provence during early winter

Aix, at dawn The cold air sucked me in as the I walked on, the crisp steps I made on the cobbled lane tapped a comforting cadence as I wandered down the softly lit alley. I pulled my coat around me as the cold started to seep in between its folds, caressing me icily almost in askance — what are you doing here?

But I wasn’t the only one making the early tour, I protested silently to myself. There was a couple behind me, making hurried staccatos on the cobbled alley as they walked past me to enter a nearby house. I was alone again after all. It seemed a good idea when I started but I was beginning to feel silly waking up so early in the morning to walk down this deserted alley.

I reached the Forum des Cardeurs and not unexpectedly all of the shops and restaurants that lined the area were closed, the awning of their heated terraces flapping gently in the morning breeze. Chairs were stacked neatly on top of each other and put away alongside their companion tables. The patio heaters so full of fire the night before stood silently at a corner.

I looked up and saw a streak of light making its way across the sky, as a plane departed for faraway lands, blazing its way through the rarified air. An early light was dawning as well, a rosy tint hinting of the day to come slowly seeping its way through the sloping sea of blue. A couple of late stars winked at me, as if to say farewell while the crescent moon hung nonchalantly in the sky. Perhaps I didn’t make a mistake after all.