We might know about the Provencal magnets for tourists but do we know enough about one of its most beautiful and alluring cities?
1. Cours Mirabeau
Before you start thinking this is all going to be museums, galleries and churches, let’s sort out one of the most accessible but brilliant places in Aix. It’s quite simply a long boulevard, bordered with wonderfully kept symmetrical plane-trees, with a road running through the middle and with dozens of cool cafes, restaurants, shops and bars flanking it. It’s the place to see and be seen in the city and from as far back as the mid 17th Century has been a principle thoroughfare. Walk the whole length and you’ll have gone from the old into the new – or the other way around.
2. Atelier Cezanne
There are a few famous names in the world of art associated with this region and Cezanne is one who has been very well respected in this city. This museum is like a spooky window into the past. It’s like an artist’s shipwreck. The former studio of the great man is just to the north-west of the city centre. The whole building has been kept exactly as it was when Cezanne worked there. You can see his canvasses, easels and paints and imagine the man himself standing there with you. Worth a visit, even if you’re not a huge follower of Cezanne’s work.
3. The Cathedral of the Holy Saviour
Perhaps more of a conventional idea but not something that lacks uniqueness and charm. Located in the medieval part of Aix this is a building that dates back as far as the 5th Century and presents a wide blend of different architectural styles, from Gothic doors to a Renaissance dome.
4. Festival d’Aix-en-Provence
For a city bursting with culture, fans of opera won’t be disappointed with Aix-en-Provence. During June and July the city burst into song as it pays host to one of the most important in Europe. Venues all over town, such as Théâtre de l’Archévêché, Théâtre du Jeu de Paume and the Grand Théâtre de Provence, provide wonderful shows in these months but the real treat is in the outside concerts at Théâtre du Grand Saint-Jean, just out of town. It’s a must again, even if you’re not particularly into opera.
5. Le Mistral
Not the famous wind but rather a nightclub. There isn’t a huge amount of cool hangouts after dark in this city, which serves many people well but might not appeal if you’re looking to have a few drinks and have a dance. This place on 3 rue Frédéric Mistral is great to head for if you like your expensive cocktails and pumping dance music played until the early hours. France is the place for new dance music these days and Le Mistral is out to prove it’s not just Paris that can have all the fun.
Popular Aix-en-Provence Hotels on Venere.com:
- Hotel Royal Mirabeau – 3-star Hotel – Double room from €75
- Hotel Novotel Pont de l’Arc – 3-star Hotel – Double room from €95
- Hotel Mas d’Entremont - 4-star Hotel – Double room from €155
Photo of Cezanne “C” stud in Aix-en-Provence, France, by Christophe Moutier