After Paris is Provence. There is an air of true enjoyment here- it is The Good Life personified. People take time to live here in Provence, nothing is rushed.
Aix-en-Provence, a sunny, lively, artistic city known from early Roman times for thermal hot springs, grew majestically into the scholarly, delightful, historic beauty that it is today. A short drive from the Mediterranean Sea, the climate is warm, sunny and welcoming. It is known by the French as Little Paris. Explore the Old Town- dating from 123 BC- there are a few Roman ruins left- and immerse yourself in the glory of Aix. From the modern “Thermes Sextius” (water based spa) - still in the original spot as the Roman baths to the ultra-modern new symphony Hall, Aix has centuries of treasures waiting to be discovered. Stroll the majestic Cours Mirabeau, the Quartier Mazarin and the tree lined squares. Stop in a local café for a refreshing aperitif and people watch- a favorite French pastime. Bathe yourself in the buttery sunlight- so sought after by artists- you will be amazed by just being there. Shop the many brand names and local stores- they have everything here!
Tuesday and Thursday are the bigger market days-with Saturday being the biggest of the week. Merchants, farmers, crafts people, cheese makers, meat vendors, olive & olive oil vendors, chicken roasters, soap makers, lavender farmers all pack in around 7:00 am and will be gone by 1:00pm. The markets of Aix are the most amazing in Provence- pick up some fruit, wine, olives, cheese and fresh baguette and have a picnic. Don’t forget the dessert- Aix has pastry shops galore, the most renowned being Bechard, on the Cours Mirabeau but it is extremely difficult to find one that is not amazing. Just peer in the windows to see the splendid selections. Right now Aix is undergoing major renovations- the original market place is being repurposed as an underground parking and that has spread the markets out.The parking is finished but the markets still remain in remote locations.
Aix has much more to offer than just food and wine, although the Rosé of Provence is well known- you can find excellent local red and white wines as well.
(this information subject to change since my last trip to France 2019 due to Covid)
Music- two large events each year
Festival d Aix-en-Provence-late June and July
Musique dans la Rue- street events in June- a really lively night
Dance- Ballet Preljocaj calls Aix home since 1996
Museums & Libraries
Museum of Old Aix- history & heritage of Provence
Natural History Museum- dinosaurs, local natural history
Tapestry Museum- in Archbishops Palace- collection from 17th C
Musée Paul Arbaud- pottery
Granet Museum- painting, sculpture and archeology of Aix (Ingres, Cezanne
Van Dyck, Giacometti etc)
Pavillion Vendome-17th C mansion housing art exhibits
Hotel de Caumont-fully restored mansion from 18th C with major art exhibits
Vasarely Foundation- outside of Aix, dedicated to Victor Vasarely
Cezannes Studio- as the artist left it: his home and studio
Jas de Bouffan- Cezanne’s childhood home- now partially open to public
Cité du livre- media space for dance, cinema and music - library
Mt Sainte-Victoire- Cezanne’s favourite subject- a short trip from town and visible from
Aix- at least from the rooftop of our hotel.
Markets- Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are market days with Saturday being the
biggest and most lively. Food, wine, clothing, breads, chocolates, silver, antiques, cloth, local crafts, soaps, pottery, roasted chickens, cheese, hats, handbags, old books,
antiques, jewelery, shoes: the big market day has it all. There is always a "peite
marché" every day of the week for food essentials - just behind the old "corn
exchange"- and now the post office in the Place Richelme.
World Class Name Brand Stores- Aix has many of the popular boutiques and chain stores- classical and new for every budget- like Longchamps, Lancel, Paraboots, Sephora, Monoprix, Gap, FNAC, Kookai, NafNaf, Promod and hundreds of unique local boutiques. And even Bobbi Brown and MAC cosmetics.
Phone: +1 778 996 7581
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Example: order a coffee and you get an espresso. Order a martini and you get vermouth. Want to go to a Museum on Tuesday? Check that because most are closed. It is just the way things are in France! And now with the pandemic slowly grinding to a halt, many other things have changed.