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Aix-en-Provence, France

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Aix-en-Provence, France

Wonderful Restaurants Aix en Provence France
Wonderful Restaurants – Aix-en-Provence

Famously chic and charming, Provence’s cultural capital Aix-en-Provence (pronounced “ex”) has long been a favorite destination for Parisians on holiday as well as international visitors. Aix-en-Provence is beautiful with elegant leafy streets, grand 17th and 18th century architecture, delightful winding cobble stone streets lined with hundreds of outdoor cafes and boutique shops, beautiful squares with centuries-old fountains, and colorful gardens.

With a wide-range of accommodations, including historic châteaux’s, there is something for everyone in and around Aix-en-Provence. It is important to book accommodations well in advance for the better places, especially during summer high season.

Map Aix-en-Provence

The influence and power Aix-en-Provence had as the old capital of Provence is evident in its fine art and noble architecture. With its markets, beautifully preserved stone buildings and streets, characteristic sidewalk cafes, chic boutiques, and abundant good restaurants, Aix-en-Provence is pricier but is definitely a Provence town that should not be missed. English is spoken everywhere.

Take a Break – Enjoy Life and People Watch

Aix-en-Provence is an enjoyable walkable city. Much of the compact Old Town (Vieil Aix) is pedestrian only making it very enjoyable car-free to stroll around. Don’t worry about getting ‘lost’ in the winding beautiful streets and stopping where you want is an essential joy of visiting Aix-en-Provence. Take breaks and enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine at one of the many charming cafes and restaurants in the area. Wandering around the beautifully lit streets and squares at night is also safe and delightful. If you arrive by car, park at one of the several large car parks on the edge of town.

Cour Mirabeau – Aix-en-Provence

Cours Mirabeau (one of the most beautiful grand streets in France) and connecting Rue de I’Italie are Aix-en-Provence’s main streets lined with lovely trees with many cafes, pretty fountains, boutiques, and historic landmarks. It is a wonderful place to take a stroll and enjoy people watching. We liked taking Rue Espariat street from Place du General de Gaulle up to wonderful winding streets north of Cours Mirabeau. 

Place de l'Hotle-de-Ville Aix en Provence France
Place de l’Hotel-de-Ville

A couple of beautiful squares are Place de I’Hotel-de-Ville and Place d-Albertas. Aix-en-Provence’s beautiful streets are lined with restaurants, food stores, and charming boutiques. For nighttime entertainment, many bars are located around Rue Venel street. With three universities and large number of schools and students, Aix-en-Provence has the feel of a young thriving city as well as one steeped in history. In addition to interesting sites, there are hip bars, exhibitions, and events.

Fontaine de la Rotonde Aix en Provence France
Fontaine de la Rotonde

Aix-en-Provence is known as the town with 100 fountains. At the beginning of Cours Mirabeau, Aix-en-Provence’s best fountain is Fontaine de la Rotonde in Place du General de Gaulle – it is amazing! The Fountaine d’Eau Chaude on Cours Mirabeau, built in 1734, is named “Mossy” for the green moss growing on it.

Aix-en-Provence Tourist Office France
Aix-en-Provence Tourist Office

Aix-en-Provence’s tourist office (Office de Tourism) across from the Fontaine de la Rotonde is a great place to get information to plan your day and book guided tours, excursions, accommodations, museums, and other activities. You can also use their website ( for bookings. Also located here, we found the Little Tourist Train, a 45-minute narrated guided tour of the historic town center, to be fun and interesting.

Cathedrale Saint-Sauveur Aix-en-Provence France
Cathedrale Saint-Sauveur

Be sure to visit Aix-en-Provence’s amazing Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur church. With its stained glass windows, it is a beautiful example of a Romanesque-Gothic architecture dating back to the 5th century. Enter at the side door because the main door remains closed. Aix-en-Provence is also home to many beautiful parks and gardens including the Parc Jourdan featuring a lake and playgrounds.

Art lovers will be thrilled. Aix-en-Provence has long been a cultural and arts centre filled with galleries and museums. One of the best is Musée Granet housed in a former 17th-century building featuring art and artifacts from the ancient to modern periods. Others are Hotel de Caumont, Atelier de Cézanne (once the home and studio of the artist Paul Cezanne), and the Musée du Vieil Aix. Aix-en-Provence’s famous resident, Paul Cezanne, loved living in Aix-en-Provence and many of his paintings were done in and around this city. You will see his name all over Aix-en-Provence.

Place Richelme Aix-en-Provence France
Place Richelme – Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence is famous for its traditional Provençal cuisine. It has a large number of very nice restaurants located at every square and street. Choosing one may be one of the most difficult decisions of your visit. We liked to choose one in a picturesque square or street to enjoy the ambiance as well as the food. 

Aix-en-Provence’s daily food market (7-noon) at Place Richelme is fun to visit where you witness the locals purchase their food fresh. We purchased some cheeses, croissants, and some other things for a picnic for our next train ride.

Outdoor Market Aix en Provence France
Outdoor Market

Featuring affordable French fashions and crafts, we enjoyed Aix-en-Provence’s outdoor market (8-noon) held on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday on Cours Mirabeau. We purchased a few items. Although credit cards are widely accepted, be aware they take only Euros cash at the markets.

Map of Provence France

Best time to visit: Aix-en-Provence has hot summers and is much busier at this time. Late June and July is festival season in Aix-en-Provence and it gets very crowded. The months of May, June, September, and October are less crowded with great weather. Except the week leading up to Easter, April is a good option if you are looking to avoid the crowds and even better prices.

Beautiful Provence Landscape France
Beautiful Provence Landscape

France’s Provence region is one of nature’s most vibrant works of art. Everything appears brighter here… the sunshine, the red poppies, yellow sunflowers, and deep purple lavender fields in mid-June to mid-July. Even the traditional Provençal fabrics feature prints of intense colors. From verdant rolling hills and quaint fishing ports to picturesque villages perched on rocky outcrops, each detail of the landscape is a delight. It is no wonder Aix-en-Provence and this region inspired so many famous painters including Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse, Chagall, Vasarely, and Fernand Léger.

Avignon France
Avignon France

The art de vivre (art of living) is a way of life in Provence… a sunny climate and slow-paced lifestyle. Two of the main Provence cities are Aix-en-Provence and Avignon where tourists and locals relax at the outdoor cafés, shop at open-air markets, and admire amazing art at top-notch museums.

Wander the Beautiful Streets of Aix-en-Provence France
Wander the Beautiful Streets of Aix

We enjoyed staying at the stylish Boutique Hotel Cezanne. The staff is very helpful and will help make the best of your exploration of Aix-en-Provence. The breakfast is amazing. We had a basic room and it was very nice. The bed was comfortable and our window had two sound proof windows so we didn’t hear any outside noise. The hotel is located just a 5-minute walk to Aix-en-Provence’s main street Cours Mirabeau and train station so it makes for a very good location.

Relax and Enjoy Life!

While visiting Aix-en-Provence, Do what the French do… Stop and take a seat at an outdoor cafe, relax, have a drink or coffee, and do some people watching. So much fun! Be aware that restaurant servers are efficient but not chatty in France – they are not being unfriendly. You must ask for the check and servers do not expect a tip.

Mossy Fountain Cour Mirabeau Aix-en-Provence France
‘Mossy’ Fountain on Cour Mirabeau

Aix-en-Provence travel tips: Be sure to call your credit card providers and inform them of your travel dates and to update the security to be accepted internationally. Getting some Euros at an ATM is helpful. Although credits cards are widely accepted, be aware they take only cash Euros at the markets and some other places. Sometimes you need to use ‘Etats-Unis’ for United States when logging into the internet.

While visiting Aix-en-Provence, it is nice to use some Some Essential French Words:
- Bonjour – Hello
- Merci -Thank You
- Au revoir – Goodbye
- Oui / Non – Yes / No
- S’il vous plaît – Pease
- Excusez-moi – Excuse Me
- Parlez-vous anglais? – Do you speak English?
- L’addition, s’il vous plaît – The bill, please

We loved our visit to Aix-en-Provence!

Please see our other posts about beautiful France:

Bordeaux’s Old Town, France

Bordeaux Wine Country, Saint Emilion, Paulliac, & Cognac, France

Paris, France

Loire Valley, France

Mont Saint Michel & Saint Malo, France

Strasbourg – Alsace, France 

Alsace Wine Villages, France

Burgundy & Cote d’Or Wine Country, France 

Chablis, Dijon, & Vezelay, France

Champagne Route, France

Reims (Champagne Capital), France

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