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  • Writer's pictureThe Rivers School

June 14: Aix-En-Provence, Santon Fouque Shop

Today was a beautiful day in Aix exploring new technology and old. We gathered in the center of town at 10:00 a.m. this morning for an escape room scavenger hunt around Aix. The kids were divided into four teams and each were given an iPad equipped with maps and challenges that took them all around the old part of the city finding clues and solving problems. We ran into the groups at several points as they learned to navigate Aix’s winding streets, hidden “Places,” and charming fountains. The girls came out on top and all celebrated with some tasty madeleine cookies from our Gaming host! For lunch, the students chose to eat all together at a pizza restaurant on the Cours Mirabeau, followed by ice cream.

In the afternoon we walked to the Santons Fouque shop just off the town center. Santons are small painted terracotta figures that are traditionally made in Provence, originally for the creche at Christmastime. The Fouque family has been making santons for four generations and opened their workshop for our students to share the history, process, artistry and most recent designs with the kids. They have expanded on the creche figures to include many traditional mythical characters of Provence — the Lavender Carrier, the Olive Picker, the Woman with Soaps, the Garlic Carrier, the Calissonnier, and the 'Aixoise. The workshop includes an exhibit space that shows an imagined traditional Provençal landscape full of the many figurines made in the shop. We had a great tour with the wife of the current designer who spoke with the kids en Francais about the many traditions of her family’s contributions to keeping the santons tradition alive.

Tomorrow we are off to Mont Sainte Victoire for a hike and a picnic.


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