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Aix-en-Provence: The most beautiful sights & our tips

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Aix-en-Provence is the epitome of the southern French attitude to life. You can’t help but fall head over heels in love: with the crooked, pastel-colored houses crowded together, with the moss-covered fountains and with the hustle and bustle at the farmers’ markets. On sunny days (and there are a lot of them), the university town is just bursting with energy.

Aix – as the town is affectionately called there – embodies Mediterranean flair like hardly any other city in southern France. We’re not surprised that Aix is ​​one of the most expensive cities in France. But by the way, it must also be one of the most livable, that’s for sure.

In this blog article, we will show you which sights in Aix- en-Provence we particularly liked and which highlights you shouldn’t miss. There is also a spectacular excursion to the famous Montagne Sainte-Victoire.

1. Sights in Aix-en-Provence If you ask us: the most beautiful sight in Aix is ​​this City itself. The Mediterranean flair of Aix-en-Provence is a bit like a total work of art. But of course there are a few special places that are so famous and/or photogenic that we don’t want to leave them unmentioned.

Atelier Cézanne A visit to the former studio of Paul Cézanne is a must on a trip to Aix-en-Provence. By the way, this request also applies to those of you who are not very familiar with art. Despite the onslaught of visitors, Cézanne’s studio has retained an indescribable magic.

Strictly speaking, the studio consists of only one room. So don’t expect a museum in the classic sense. It’s more about adjusting to the painter and his way of life and work. Therefore, we can only warmly recommend an audio guide. Only thanks to the explanatory words does a visit to the atelier become really exciting.

Information on visiting the Atelier Cézanne Opening hours: In April and May from 9: 25 until 14: 19 hours and from 11 until 18 Watch; from June to September from 9: 20 until 18 Watch; from October to March from 9: 20 until 12: 30 hours and from 14 until 17 Watch.

6,50 Euro (the audio guide costs another 3 Euro extra)

9 Avenue Paul Cézanne, 13100 Aix en Provence

Getting there: Either on foot (from the city center it is approx. 14 until 20 minutes) or with the public en bus (no. 5 to the stop “Cézanne”)

Cathedral of Aix-en-Provence (Saint-Sauveur) In the old town of Aix, the Saint-Sauveur Cathedral is the tourist magnet par excellence. Of course we stopped by too. With its striking mixture of styles, the cathedral is certainly a monument that will be remembered. It is also spectacular to look at from the inside. We were particularly impressed by the oldest part of the cathedral, the so-called Baptistery, which you can also see in the photo.

Information on visiting the Saint-Sauveur Cathedral Opening hours: daily from 8 to 20: 20 Watch

Entry: free

Address: 40 Place des Martyrs-de- la Resistance, 13100 Aix-en- Provence

Place d’Álbertas One of the most charming squares in all of Aix-en-Provence is the Place d’Albertas. Despite – or maybe better because of
the partly dilapidated facades this place has a very special appeal. In combination with the moss-covered cobblestones , the historic fountain looks like a film set. If our photo session hadn’t been constantly interrupted by tour groups armed with selfie sticks, we would have stayed here for half an eternity .

Address: Place d’Albertas, 10 Rue Espariat, 13100 Aix en Provence

Market on Place Richelme In the heart of Aix-en-Provence, every morning on the Place Richelme there is a wonderful farmer’s market across the stage. The usual Provençal delicacies are sold, including fruit, vegetables, cheese, fish and meat. Our tip: On the edge of the square there are some very nice cafés from which you can take in the hustle and bustle of the market. We were in the Pâtisserie Weibel ourselves – more on that below in this blog article.

Opening hours farmer’s market: Monday to Sunday morning (all year round) to approx. 13 Watch

Place Richelme, 13100 Aix en Provence

Pavillon de Vendome Also worth a visit is the baroque Palais from the 17. Century called the Pavillon de Vendôme. Don’t expect a big highlight, but if you have enough time in Aix, a walk to the Pavillon de Vendôme is definitely worth it. It is located in a very nicely landscaped and well-kept garden. So perfect if you need a short break from sightseeing. There is a museum inside, but apparently it’s not supposed to be too spectacular.

Address: 12 rue de la Molle, 13100, Aix-en- Provence

Cours Mirabeau Once the carriages of the nobles drove here, today the Cours Mirabeau is the most famous promenade of Aix-en-Provence . Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday a textile and art market lines the well 500 meter long avenue. The old fountains and the magnificent facades of the historic mansions are particularly worth seeing.

The Caumont Center d’Art is also located in a side street off the Cours Mirabeau. ) (3 rue Joseph Cabassol). The acclaimed art museum is housed in a historic city palace and hosts two exhibitions each year. Unfortunately we didn’t make it there in time.

2. Restaurant tips for Aix-en-Provence Restaurant “La Tomate verte” We had an excellent lunch in this young, friendly bistro. It is located in the heart of the old town on Rue des Tanneurs, which is also home to a few other restaurants. Modern French cuisine is served at a surprisingly high level. However, the restaurant is rather in the higher price segment. For lunch there is a 3-course menu for just under 25 euros per person. Main courses alone cost between 16 and 25 Euro. The restaurant is also open in the evenings.

Address: 12 Rue des Tanneurs, 13100 Aix en Provence

Restaurant “Les Baratineurs” This young bar is located on the edge of the very busy Place des Cardeurs. Especially in the evenings, the square and the restaurants located here are very busy. The menu at “Les Baratineurs” is a mix of tapas and international dishes, including burgers and salads.

Address: Place Forum des Cardeurs, 1200, Aix en Provence

Pâtisserie Weibel We fell in love with the beautiful Pâtisserie Weibel before we even set foot in the restaurant. When we then also ate the very best tarte au citron of our entire trip to France, it was all over for us. Our tip: In the Pâtisserie you can also buy the famous Calissons d’Aix in various pack sizes. If you like marzipan, you will love this almond biscuit as much as we do!

Address: 2 rue Chabrier, 13100 Aix en Provence

3. Excursion destination: Hike up the Montagne Sainte-Victoire The Landmark of the region in the sky: the spectacular Montagne Sainte-Victoire. With a view like this, it’s no wonder that the sandstone massif was immortalized on canvas by the painter Paul Cézanne over and over again, isn’t it? Since then, the Montagne Sainte-Victoire has been famous far beyond the French borders.

The Montagne Sainte-Victoire has been awarded the title “Grand Site de France”. So he is one of those 17 Areas in France that are very well known and special in terms of tourism . But don’t worry if you’re expecting a rush of visitors: That’s not the case at all. On our 3-hour hike we only met a handful of people.

Speaking of hikes: the Montagne Sainte-Victoire is an Eldorado for outdoor fans. Most come to hike or climb. The southern flank (which you can see in the first photo) is scenically very spectacular, while the northern flank is flatter.

Hike to the Chapelle Saint- Ser We ourselves started the hike up to the chapel called Saint-Ser g taken. The best thing about it: We weren’t alone, but accompanied by Stéphane. We would like to say that there is no one who knows the Montagne Sainte-Victoire better than he does. Stéphane is a qualified biologist and now passes on his knowledge of flora and fauna to his guests as part of guided tours. (We will tell you specific information about his tours at the end of this chapter.)

The hike to the chapel starts on the south side of the Montagne Sainte-Victoire. From the parking lot you can reach the chapel in about 1.5 hours. Although it is constantly uphill, the hike is not overly strenuous – unless the sun is beating down like it did on ours. If over 25 We finally started to sweat quite a bit.

The view is wonderful throughout the hike, but of course again from above more spectacular. Since we had come this far before, we almost found it a bit of a shame not to see the summit (“Pic des Mouches”) as well. Unfortunately, the classic hiking trail we came across ends at the chapel. It is possible to climb further. However, we would only recommend this if accompanied by an experienced guide! The way back to the car park is via the same path.

In addition to this hiking trail, the one to “Croix de Provence”, the supposed summit cross is also very popular . (As an explanation: the actual summit is the “Pic des Mouches”.) You usually reach the “Croix de Provence” from the north side. On the way to the cross you will also pass the monastery (“Prieuré Sainte-Victoire”).

Arrival & important information about Hiking at the Montagne Sainte-Victoire The hike to the chapel starts at the Saint-Ser à Puyloubier car park. You can reach this from Aix-en-Provence after about 40 minutes travel time. (We drove the route via Tholonet.) You can park your car for free at the car park. By the way, we have also marked the location of the parking lot on the map at the end of the article.

Between June 1st and 30. Due to the drought, there is an increased risk of fire in September. If you want to go hiking at the Montagne Sainte-Victoire during this period, you are obliged to find out the day before if a hike is possible.

In Vauvenargues (on the north side) and in Beaurecueil (on the south side) there is an Info Center in each where you can find out more.

Here you come to the website: Grand Site Sainte Victoire

“Nature en soi” – Hiking with Stéphane If you don’t want to walk the hike alone, we can warmly recommend a tour with Stéphane! Stéphane is a nature lover through and through. Ask him a question – he has an answer. Having confidence in one’s knowledge was also necessary. Along the way we kept trying plants that we had never heard of before.

Stéphane offers a variety of tours, including “survival training” for children and trips for people with walking disabilities. He speaks primarily French, but also good English – even if he always apologized to us for his English. He now also has a colleague who runs the English tours.

Here you come to the website: Nature en soi.

4. More travel tips for Aix-en-Provence How much time should I plan for Aix-en-Provence? Aix-en-Provence can be explored quickly and you can basically see the most important sights in explore for a few hours. Nevertheless, we recommend that you stay at least two nights in Aix. So you can better enjoy the special attitude to life that you can feel here. If you also want to go hiking at the Montagne Sainte-Victoire, you could even add a third night.

When is the best time to go to Aix- en-Provence? Aix-en-Provence is generally known for many hours of sunshine and very mild climate blessed. We do not recommend the hottest months (July & August) because sightseeing at over 30 We find the degree quite exhausting – not to mention a hike on the Montagne Sainte-Victoire. There is also an increased risk of forest fires during this time.

Spring and Autumn are popular travel times for Aix- en Provence. The later the lavender blooms (early/mid-June to early/mid-August), the fuller it gets. We ourselves were in September in Aix-en-Provence and can highly recommend this month: It was still very warm during the day and sunny all day.

How to get there: How do I get to Aix-en-Provence? The largest nearest The airport is in Marseille. From Marseille you can reach Aix-en-Provence by car in about half an hour. In general, we recommend that you rent a car when traveling through Provence. There are so many beautiful destinations that you can drive to very flexibly with a car.

Other destinations in Provence Besides Aix, there is much more to see in Provence. For example, in this blog article we have described our destinations for a road trip through the most beautiful villages in Provence: The mountain villages of Provence. You can perfectly combine your stay in Aix-en-Provence with this mini road trip.

5. Where to stay in Aix-en-Provence Unfortunately, hotels in Aix-en-Provence are quite price-intensive. It is therefore not that easy to find nice accommodation with a reasonable price-performance ratio. The stylish Maison Dauphine is highly recommended. It is located in the heart of the city center in a beautiful historic building.

The Maison Dauphine is not a hotel but consists of several apartments. These are beautifully furnished – just to feel good. The location is perfect, because the Maison Dauphine is located in a small alley and is therefore very quiet. Nevertheless, you can reach all the sights in the center on foot.

You can book the hotel here: Maison Dauphine

Transparency: {Advertisement} For this blog article we have collaborated with the French National Tourist Board (Atout France). As part of the #facesoffrance nature campaign, we were allowed to travel through southern France for two weeks – including to Aix-en-Provence. Of course, this cooperation has no influence on our opinion.

This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you ever been to Aix-en-Provence? Were you excited too? If you have any more tips or questions, please leave us a comment!