Provence has many villages, valleys, vineyards and orchards. The slow life in the breath-taking countryside is what attracts many to the area, but sometimes you might feel like a little urban action. Aix-en-Provence, or Aix (pronounced X, like the letter) as the locals call it, is the perfect city for a hit of European cosmopolitan flair.
Five things to see and do in Aix-en-Provence
People watching on the famous, stately avenue known as the Cours Mirabeau, under the shade of ancient plane trees with a glass of rosé can keep you entertained for hours, it’s one of life’s greatest pleasures!
Taste of Provence
This is not a place for dieting, you won’t be able to resist the flavours of Provence. Delicious shops lace the Cours Mirabeau and it’s the perfect place for a taste of local specialities such as olive oil, piqaunt tapenade, sweet madeleines, choux pastries and Puyricard chocolate. Stop for an aperitif or a glass of chilled rosé at the famous Café de Deux Garcons, once the local hangout of artist Cezanne, a son of Aix, who would sip absinthe and day dream. He’s not the only one to have fallen for its charms, Edith Piaf, Jean Cocteau and Picasso all indulged here.
Art lovers can retrace the steps and visit the studio of the great Cezanne who captured its beauty and light in his paintings. The Musee Granet in Aix has a fine collection of works by the greats such as Rubens, Rembrandt and of course Cezanne.
Wander the streets of Aix
Stroll the Cours Mirabeau admire fountains that sprinkle lazily along its route, and admiring the ornate 17th and 18th century mansions. Don’t miss a visit to the Cathedral to see the baptistery – Aix’s oldest existing building, which incredibly dates back to the year 500.
Go to the market
Markets are a way of life in France and at Aix, you’re spoiled for choice with picturesque squares and streets hosting colourful stalls. Head to Place Richelme (above) for the daily market to get a dose of Provencal life. Check at the Aix tourist office for times and details for all markets.