Wednesday means that is is time to put on your wanderlust aspirations and today we are exploring Aix-en-Provence with the assistance of Gert Huygaerts. If you have missed out on any of the wanderlust series during the busy summer season, they don’t forget to check up here.
Exploring Aix en Provence
Being a wedding photographer, who loves Provence , Aix-en-Provence is to me the ideal city to use a base to start travelling from. It is perfectly located to reach the coastal cities like Nice and Saint-Tropez, but on the other hand, Orange or Nimes are also very easy to reach from Aix.
Aix-en- Provence is often called the city of art and the city of light, two things that lie close to my heart!
During summer the center of Aix is very lively and full of activities. A lot of events are located around the central part of Aix, le Cours Mirabeau. Cours Mirabeau is an amazing avenue, filled with terraces, shops and restaurants. This could be the Champs-Elysees of the South of France! On a summer day, the light in this street is just gorgeous. They rays of sun playing with the beautiful plane trees, too beautiful to be true! where the air is warm, the light sublime and the sidewalk alive. A few of the more known cafés are: Le Grillon and Les Deux Garçons.
Having breakfast in Aix is a total delight. You just find one of the fantastic boulangeries to get you a nice sandwich. In the Rue d’Italie you can find two very good bakeries, Boulangerie Jacob’s and Boulangerie Banette). I prefer to go around town and find the small local stores who look super charming. This has led me to Boulangerie La Varenne in the Place Richelme very close to the main road Cours Mirabeau. If you’re not really into a sandwich or bread, you can always go to one of the shops to buy a quiche or a healthy fruit-salad. An ideal way to start your day in Provence!
The old town, also called “vieille ville”, is built up by a circle of boulevards and squares. It’s easily done on foot, but on the other hand there’s way too much to see and do on one week-end. The medieval Aix was protected by a wall with 39 towers. It’s a town which keeps on fascinating. Every corner turned, gives you a new little treasure to discover! From museums over shops to markets and historical sites, every tourist will find something to spend time on in Aix.
If you’re into museums and art I can surely advice you the Musee Granet . Ths museum has hosted yet a series of very good and renown exhibitions. For the younger people, there are a lot of trendy café’s, terraces and bars to spend time in. For example Place des Précheurs is one of the favorite spaces with its nice and cosy terraces.
Something Aix made famous are the numerous fountains in this wonderful city, from small to pretty large, you can find fountains in all sizes, shapes and styles in Aix. You can find a few nice ones on the Cours Mirabeau, with the 9 Cannons Fountain, going back to 1691. If you wander around in town, you will discover some very nice examples!
If you want to take a stroll along the markets, Aix is a very nice place for you! There is the flower market at the Place de Verdun and Place des Prêcheurs. The main market on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday by the Palais de Justice is a nice market for fresh food, bric-à-brac and flea-market. At the Cours Mirabeau, there is also a clothing market with nice local artisanal accessories and must-haves. Next to all these lovely things, there is also the daily market with food and fresh produce at the Place Richelme.
To reach Aix-en-Provence, you can very easily travel to Marseille airport and from there, a direct bus brings you to the centre of the heart of Provence. This will take you only half an hour. For excursions and travel to other parts of Provence, there are a lot of busses and trains who bring you to the desired places on frequent times.
If you want to stay in Aix, there are a dozen possible options to choose from. You can opt for the classic hotels, but there are also a lot of B&B’s if you would like to take it the alternative way! One of the better and most charming B&B’s is Le Jardin de Marie. A very beautiful house in the real old Provence style, with several rooms at a real fair price.
For me this was one of the better places to stay in my recent travels. Something totally different, in the higher luxury class is for example Hotel le Pigonnet. This hotel is located a bit out of the Aix centre, but still at a reasonable distance, which keeps travelling to town very easy. Whatever way you choose to stay in Aix, the Aix hosts will give you a warm welcome!
To explore other areas of France, see our other
Wanderlust Wednesday features here