Aix-en-Provence, located in the picturesque region of Provence in southern France, is a charming and historic city known for its rich cultural heritage, beautiful architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Aix-en-Provence:
1. Cours Mirabeau
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Start your exploration of Aix-en-Provence by taking a stroll down Cours Mirabeau, the city’s most famous boulevard. Lined with elegant plane trees, charming cafes, and boutique shops, it offers a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern vibrancy.
2. Vieil Aix (Old Town)
Explore the narrow streets and hidden squares of Vieil Aix, the historic heart of the city. Admire the beautiful 17th and 18th-century architecture, browse through local artisan shops, and visit landmarks such as the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur and the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall).
3. Musée Granet
Art enthusiasts should not miss the Musée Granet, which houses an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and archaeological artifacts. The museum showcases works by renowned artists like Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Picasso, as well as pieces from local Provençal artists.
4. Atelier de Cézanne
Aix-en-Provence was the birthplace of the famous post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne, and you can visit his former studio, Atelier de Cézanne. Explore the preserved workshop, learn about Cézanne’s life and artistic process, and enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
5. Les Deux Garçons
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Experience a taste of Aix’s café culture at Les Deux Garçons, one of the city’s oldest and most iconic cafes. This historic establishment has been frequented by famous figures such as Émile Zola and Pablo Picasso. Sit back, savor a coffee or a glass of wine, and soak up the ambiance.
6. Parc de la Torse
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For a peaceful escape from the city, head to Parc de la Torse, a lush green park with walking trails, shaded picnic spots, and a lake. It’s a perfect place for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or simply unwinding amidst nature.
Aix-en-Provence is renowned for its vibrant markets. Visit the colorful Marché aux Fleurs (Flower Market) to marvel at the beautiful blooms, or explore the bustling Marché Forain (Provençal Market) for fresh produce, local cheeses, aromatic spices, and more. The markets are a feast for the senses and a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
8. Festival d’Aix-en-Provence
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If you visit Aix-en-Provence during the summer, don’t miss the world-renowned Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. This annual festival showcases exceptional opera productions, classical music concerts, and other performing arts events, attracting artists and spectators from around the world.
9. Montagne Sainte-Victoire
Take a short drive from Aix-en-Provence to Montagne Sainte-Victoire, a stunning mountain range that inspired many of Cézanne’s landscape paintings. Hike through the picturesque trails, enjoy panoramic views from the summit, and appreciate the natural beauty that captivated the artist.
10. Day trips to nearby towns
Aix-en-Provence serves as an excellent base for exploring the enchanting region of Provence. Take day trips to nearby towns like Avignon, Arles, and Marseille, each offering unique cultural experiences, historical landmarks, and delicious regional cuisine.
11. Les Allées Provençales
If you’re looking for a shopping and entertainment complex, head to Les Allées Provençales. This modern pedestrian area is filled with shops, boutiques, restaurants, and a cinema. It’s a great place to shop for souvenirs, enjoy a meal, or catch a movie.
12. Pavillon Vendôme
Visit the Pavillon Vendôme, a stunning 17th-century mansion surrounded by a beautiful French-style garden. The pavilion is now a museum that houses temporary art exhibitions. Explore the elegant interiors, stroll through the gardens, and appreciate the tranquility of this hidden gem.
13. Thermal Baths
Aix-en-Provence has a long history of thermal baths, and you can experience the city’s spa culture by visiting Les Thermes Sextius. Relax and rejuvenate in the thermal pools, indulge in spa treatments, and enjoy a wellness retreat in the heart of the city.
14. Musée du Vieil Aix
Dive deeper into Aix-en-Provence’s history and heritage at the Musée du Vieil Aix. Located in an 18th-century mansion, the museum showcases the city’s past through a collection of art, artifacts, and documents. Learn about Aix’s development, traditions, and influential figures.
15. Calisson Tasting
Aix-en-Provence is famous for its delicious calissons, traditional almond-based sweets. Visit one of the local confectioneries, such as Le Roy René, and treat yourself to a tasting of these delightful treats. Learn about the history and craftsmanship behind calissons while satisfying your sweet tooth.
16. Château La Coste
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Wine lovers should not miss a visit to Château La Coste, a renowned winery located just outside Aix-en-Provence. This vineyard combines art, architecture, and wine production, offering a unique experience. Explore the extensive sculpture park, admire contemporary art installations, and enjoy wine tastings in a picturesque setting.
17. Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins
Marvel at the beautiful Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins, a monumental fountain located in Place des Quatre Dauphins. This 17th-century fountain features four bronze dolphins, symbolizing the four Dauphins of France. It’s a lovely spot to relax and take in the charm of the city.
18. Gourmet Dining
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Aix-en-Provence boasts a thriving culinary scene with numerous gourmet restaurants. Indulge in Provençal cuisine and savor dishes prepared with fresh, local ingredients. From traditional bistros to Michelin-starred establishments, there’s a wide range of dining options to suit every palate.
19. Provençal Landscapes
Aix-en-Provence is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes characteristic of the region. Rent a car or join a guided tour to explore the idyllic Provencal countryside. From lavender fields and vineyards to quaint villages and olive groves, the natural beauty of Provence is waiting to be discovered.
20. Le Festival International de Piano
If you appreciate classical music, plan your visit to coincide with the International Piano Festival. Held annually in Aix-en-Provence, this prestigious festival showcases world-class pianists and offers captivating performances that will delight music enthusiasts.
21. Château de Vauvenargues
âteau de Vauvenargues. This picturesque castle, nestled in the hills, was the final residence of the renowned artist Pablo Picasso. Explore the castle’s grounds, admire the stunning views, and gain insight into Picasso’s life through the collection of his works displayed within the castle.
22. Le Jas de Bouffan
Art aficionados should also visit Le Jas de Bouffan, an estate that was once owned by Paul Cézanne’s family. This beautiful property served as a source of inspiration for the artist, and he created numerous landscape paintings there. Today, you can explore the grounds, see the locations that inspired his artwork, and appreciate the connection between the artist and the landscape.
23. Les Carrières de Bibémus
Discover Les Carrières de Bibémus, an intriguing landscape that provided Cézanne with unique geological formations to paint. These former quarries feature stunning red rock formations, pine forests, and scenic trails. Take a hike through the area, find the spots that inspired Cézanne’s works, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this natural site.
24. Musée des Tapisseries
Step into the world of textile art at the Musée des Tapisseries. Located in the Archbishop’s Palace, this museum exhibits a remarkable collection of tapestries from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Admire the intricate craftsmanship, vibrant colors, and historical significance of these stunning woven artworks.
25. Les Milles
Visit the village of Les Milles, located near Aix-en-Provence, which holds historical importance as a former internment camp during World War II. Explore the memorial site, which now serves as a museum, to gain insights into this dark period of history and pay homage to the victims.
26. Lavender Fields
During the summer months, Aix-en-Provence is an ideal starting point for exploring the iconic lavender fields of Provence. Take a scenic drive through the countryside to witness the vibrant purple hues, breathe in the intoxicating fragrance, and capture unforgettable photographs.
27. Parc Jourdan
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Enjoy a leisurely afternoon at Parc Jourdan, a charming park located near the city center. This green oasis offers shaded pathways, a large playground, and spacious lawns perfect for picnicking or simply relaxing. Join the locals for a game of pétanque, a popular French ball sport, or watch a friendly match in progress.
28. Les Terrasses du Port
If you’re seeking a waterfront experience, head to Les Terrasses du Port in Marseille. This modern shopping center overlooks the Old Port and offers a variety of retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment options. Enjoy a meal with a view or take a boat tour to explore the coastal beauty of the Mediterranean.
29. Château La Roque-d’Anthéron
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Visit the Château La Roque-d’Anthéron, a stunning castle located near Aix-en-Provence. This picturesque estate hosts the famous International Piano Festival of La Roque-d’Anthéron every summer. Explore the grounds, attend a concert, and enjoy the harmonious blend of music and history.
30. Les Calanques
Embark on an unforgettable adventure to Les Calanques, a series of breathtaking limestone cliffs and fjord-like inlets along the Mediterranean coast. Take a boat tour or hike along the coastal paths to discover hidden coves, crystal-clear waters, and stunning natural landscapes.
31. Domaine de Saint-Ser
Delve into the world of winemaking with a visit to Domaine de Saint-Ser. Located in Puyloubier, just a short drive from Aix-en-Provence, this winery produces exceptional wines. Take a guided tour of the vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and savor tastings of their exquisite wines.
32. Les Baux-de-Provence
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Plan a day trip to Les Baux-de-Provence, a medieval village perched on a rocky hilltop. Explore the well-preserved old town, wander through narrow streets, and visit attractions such as the Château des Baux and the Carrières de Lumières, an immersive art exhibition in a former quarry.
Take a trip to the charming coastal town of Cassis, known for its picturesque harbor, colorful buildings, and stunning cliffs. Enjoy a boat ride along the coastline, visit the Calanques National Park, and savor local seafood dishes in one of the waterfront restaurants.
34. Les Halles d’Aix
Immerse yourself in the culinary delights of Aix-en-Provence at Les Halles d’Aix, the city’s vibrant indoor food market. Browse through the stalls filled with fresh produce, cheeses, meats, pastries, and more. Sample local specialties, pick up ingredients for a picnic, or enjoy a delicious meal at one of the market’s eateries.
35. Parc Saint-Mitre
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Escape the city buzz and relax in Parc Saint-Mitre, a tranquil park with lush greenery, ponds, and walking paths. It’s an ideal spot for a peaceful picnic or a leisurely stroll in nature.
Places and Things To Do