Whenever we venture into the city, I allow myself a separate trip to a patisserie, to satisfy my peché mignon (sweet temptation).  I too, like Eric's grandmother, have a major weakness for sweets.  Every time that I visit a patisserie I am always in awe, as if it was the first time, having such admiration for the beautiful creations, an art form all their own.  The smell of sugary decadence on entering the store and the countless delicacies to choose from, always prompting me to wonder the hours labored to create such indulgences and the quitting time the exhausted baker finally went to bed.  While living in Provence I am hoping to taste every patisserie in Aix, fully taking advantage of this fringe benefit of living here... because pastry is my friend, although it seems conspicuously more so in France, the pastry capital of the world, in my opinion.  Béchard was the second shop on my list.

Located on the Cours Mirabeau, Béchard has been an institution in Aix dating back to 1870.  Sitting in a corner directly on the main street, the shop’s large windows brimming with their creations, rewards the outdoor street with a colorful, enticing showcase, tempting all those who walk by.  The store itself is a light filled space full with large bakery cases displaying their goods, a visual feast for the eyes, with the smell of butter and sugar permeating throughout.  You notice the many different options, the chocolate, cream, nuts and fruit enveloping much of the dessert, filling each case with a vast array of colors, textures and tastes.

As Béchard did not offer bite-sized pastry, we favored an apple almond tart, tarte au citron and mille-feuille.  My favorite was the tarte au citron, so tangy it made my tastebuds dance.  Eric’s favorite was the apple tart, lightly sweet and full of thinly sliced apples and almonds.  Béchard was a good number 2 and a great accompaniment to help make our weekend a little bit sweeter...