City Guide: Aix en Provence
Aix en Provence, also simply known as Aix, is the former capital of the Provence, located thirty kilometres north of Marseille. For many the city is the ideal starting point for exploring the Provence and its beautiful lavender fields.
While there are many day trips you can take from Aix, including trips to the Luberon National Park or to a little town by the sea called Cassis, Aix en Provence itself is a beautiful and charming city to stay in.
Due to its mild temperatures all year around, Aix is a very green city. To me it is no surprise why Cézanne found inspiration for his work in Aix en Provence and its surroundings. So if you want to explore the traces of Cézanne or just visit a beautiful city in southern France, Aix is definitely the place to go to as I will show to you in this city guide.
La Rotonde in Aix en Provence
The fountain of Rotonde is located at the square La Rotonde which is situated at one end of the Cours Mirabeau.
It is a very central place, close to the coach station, the tourism office as well as the train station and thus the ideal point to start a visit from. The historic fountain was built around 1860.
Le Cours Mirabeau – cafés, restaurants, shops and markets
The Cours Mirabeau is the main promenade in Aix en Provence. Three times a week you can find a large market here selling a variety of local products.
Apart from this there are many shops to explore as well as restaurants and cafés. Alongside it you will also be able to enjoy some of the historic houses of Aix and the Fountain of Roi Rene.
Historic centre in Aix en Provence
When you wander off the main promenade Cours Mirabeau, you will be able to explore some of the smaller and more charming streets in Aix en Provence. On the smaller squares you also find weekly markets with fruits, vegetables, cheeses and flowers.
In one of these nice side streets you can find the Place d’Albertas.
The Hôtel de Ville (town hall) is also located on one of these squares and was built during the 17th century. Its clocktower was built already in the early 16th century.
When you follow along the street towards the Cathedral of Aix en Provence you will also come by the Théâtre de l’Archevéché as well as the historic building of the Sciences Po university building in Aix which is just across the street from the cathedral.
Aix Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church which was built on the site of the former Roman forum that stood in Aix during the 1st century.
The cathedral has a rich history, with several erections and renovations between the 12th and 19th century in which several Roman and Gothic elements were included.
Pavillon de Vendôme
Another famous site in Aix is the Pavillon Vendôme, which is a pavilion surrounded by a small, well-designed garden. The pavilion was created for Louis, the Duke of Vendôme in the second half of the 17th century.
During the following centuries important figures like Jean-Baptiste van Loo or Barthélemy-Louis Reboul owned the house. Since 1941 it is in the possession of the city of Aix and serves as a museum for art exhibitons.
Our overall impression of the city
In can you haven’t noticed it yet, I am absolutely in love with this French Southern City. While it is fairly small and doesn’t have that many fancy sights to visit, I just love the charming little streets, the great weather and atmosphere here.
Do you have any questions about Aix en Provence? Feel free to ask or share your impressions in the comments!