Think of Provence and we think of fields of purple lavander; yellow-stoned villages, serene in the summer’s sun; leafy avenues of perfectly parallel plane trees; the drone of cicadas in olive trees; gorges of fast flowing waters; grazing goats watched over by shepherds… That’s one rustic, rural view anyway, and one reason why the region is a magnet for artists and writers seeking to capture its distinct, subtle beauty.
Another view, less portrayed on canvas and in tourist guides, is that of busy, bustling city life. Yes, this occurs in Provence like anywhere else in the world. Here too are the shops and businesses, banks, ports, factories, and office blocks. Here too there are traffic jams on motorways whilst commuters fill up trams during morning and evening rush hours. The cities of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille suffer from traffic congestion like any other major city in the world. There’s also the great influx of tourists in summer, crowding into the market places and swarming onto the beaches. Yes, Provence, besides its rural tranquility, is a global player in international trade and tourism. In 2013, Marseille is due to become the ‘European Capital of Culture’ attracting visitors from all over the world.
Globally over one billion people speak English. Acquiring English language skills is important for business transactions – English is the language of international commerce. From top executives negotiating multi-million dollar deals, to businessmen and entrepreneurs, engineers, industrial/maritime workers, administrators, hoteliers, restauranteurs, museum guides and taxi-drivers – English is an essential tool. The basics can be understood relatively quickly. Mastering the language needs a little more time.
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