Aix-en-Provence: the capital of Provence
Bathed in the light of its special climate, Aix-en-Provence is a city of refined elegance on show in its constantly bustling streets and squares.
Aix en Provence is a vibrant town, buzzing with university students who fill the local cafés and restaurants. The city is adorned with majestic fountains, streets lined with plane trees.
It is a canvas of colourful festivals, festivities and traditions, Provencal markets, delicious sun-filled delicacies, walks & cycling rides in the countryside of "Ste Victoire" mountain and the Luberon.
Things to do in Aix-en-Provence
Cours Mirabeau : Aix en Provence
Take a stroll beneath the gigantic pane trees of Cours Mirabeau, stopping along the way at one of the many cafés, all lodging in 17th to 18th century mansions. The most famous café is "Les 2 garçons”, with a reputation of serving intellectuals and artists (like Cezanne!)
The old Aix district
The old Aix wanders north from Cours Mirabeau, where there are fountained squares and a continuous architectural backdrop of treats from the 16th and 17th centuries. Not to be missed : the Madeleine church with the interior decorated with paintings by Rubens, the town hall and its clock tower alongside, and finally the Saint Sauveur Cathedral full of medieval art treasures.
The 17th century Mazarin district
Located south of Cours Mirabeau, the “Quartier Mazarin” was built in the 17th century. It hosts the beautiful “Place des quatre dauphins” square, the famous Granet museum among beautiful private mansion houses.
Paul Cezanne studio & garden
You can visit Paul Cezanne’s studio, that is just 17mn walking from the centre. Admirers of Paul Cézanne says that you can feel the presence of the painter with the greatest intensity.
Cézanne was born, raised and lived in Aix-en-Provence. The tourist office proposes a a walking itinerary through the town to see some of the places he frequented
The market of Aix en Provence : land of Provence gastronomy
The "big" markets of Aix take place in the city center squares: Place des Prêcheurs and Place de la Madeleine. There is a small market every day, Saturday being the busiest day & the biggest market. Opposite the town hall, the flower market transforms the square into a veritable masterpiece of changing colours.
The Calisson : Aix en Provence specialty
This marzipan-like confectionery made from sweet almonds and preserved fruits is a great & famous gourmet speciality of Aix en Provence. The most famous producer is Pastries Béchard on the Cours Mirabeau
The International festival of lyric art
Aix en Provence hosts in July the International festival of classic music & opera, renowned as one of the most prestigious in the world
The famous Sainte Victoire mountain
Hovering majestically over the town of Aix-en-Provence, the Sainte-Victoire mountain bares its razor sharp cliffs that plunge dramatically to the south, while its slopes descend gradually to the north. The road from Aix en Provence to the foot of the Mountain at Le Tholonet village is really worth it.
Many paths lead to the summit, from where the view is spectacular. The impressionist artist Paul Cezanne, a native of Aix-en-Provence, was so obsessed by the Sainte-Victoire that he painted and repainted it hundreds of times over, trying to understand its every shade and contour.
Sainte-Victoire mountain, perfect for a hike close to Aix
AIX EN PROVENCE : on Cezanne's footsteps
Aix en Provence is the city of Cezanne: Cezanne’s colours are all around you amongst the places and landscapes which marked the life, the eye and the work of the father of modern painting.
Cézanne was born in Aix-en-Provence. He was raised here, studied here, lived here (and other places), and eventually died here. He was one of the many famous clients of the Deux Garcons café on the Cour Mirabeau. One of his favorite subjects was Mont Sainte Victoire, to the east of Aix. The Office de Tourisme has a multi-lingual guide, Dans les Pas de Cézanne, with a walking itinerary through town to see some of the places he frequented.
You can also visit Paul Cezanne’s studio. He created his shelter there, a place of work and contemplation, from where on sunny days, he painted in "le motif". On rainy days or really cold days, Cezanne stayed in the middle of these familiar objects which became the models of his still life paintings : some pottery, bottles, vases, paper flowers or fabrics, fruits, mainly apples, as well as a some skulls and the little plaster cupid. Lots of works, kept in renowned museums, such as "Grandes Baigneuses", were painted in this studio of light and silence
See lavender around Aix
From mid June to mid July, the plateaus of Provence turn a deep purple and release the fine perfume of lavender. Lavender – at least true lavender – is grown in altitude, from 600m to 1500m (2000ft to 5000ft). The flower doesn’t thrive in lower altitudes, which is why you won’t see lavender fields along the valleys or the Riviera.
The lavender fields stretch out into the horizon, offering beautiful scenery for walking and cycling, and endless photo opportunities.
Holidays & Day trips from Aix-en-Provence
When you look at a map of Provence, Aix en Provence is ideally located with the Luberon Mountains and the Valensole and Sault Plataus at the North, the Saint Victoire mountain at the East, and the Calanques of Marseille at the South.
Aix-en-Provence is a vibrant town, with majestic fountains, and 17th century streets lined with Plane trees. It is an ideal starting base for a Provence cycling tours, a self guided holiday among Luberon walks, or a discover of the famous Valensole lavender fields !
"La Rotonde", the famous fountain of Aix-en-Provence
Where is located Aix-en-Provence?
Aix is located in the south of France, 30 min north of Marseille. Its situation is perfect if you want to explore Provence region. It is ideally situated at the foot of the Sainte-Victoire mountain, closed to the famous Luberon mountains.