"Aix-en-Provence - That real Provence feeling!" Top 5 Page for this destination Aix-en-Provence by JanPeter74
Aix-en-Provence Travel Guide: 346 reviews and 752 photos
Like the title says, the city of Aix-en-Provence and its surroundings really fulfil every picture you have of the French Provence. The city was founded about 123 BC by the Romans, who named its thermal springs Aquae Sextiae. In the 11th century it became a famous centre of music and literature; later, many painters worked in the picturesque city.
Although the city has few “real” sightseeing highlights, it instantly became one of my favourite cities. Aix is a rather small city (around 140,000 people) where it is easy to reach everything in the centre by foot.
What makes Aix so special is the atmosphere. The city is a nice mix of locals, tourists and lots of students because of its university, creating a very relaxed and busy atmosphere. The main avenue is called Cours de Mirabeau and is lined with trees and terraces and very often with market stands as well. The old city centre is filled with large and small squares and fountains and again, lots of terraces. Moreover Aix is where impressionist painter Cézanne used to live and work. His small atelier (workshop) can still be visited.
Driving into the centre is just a 5-10 minutes drive from the motorway to La Rotonde, the central roundabout on the edge of the centre (tourist office is found here). The centre itself is best visited on foot, since most streets are very narrow or pedestrian area. Simply put your car in one of the carparks.
Apart from the city itself it is also a point of departure for trips in the area. Make a daytrip to la Montagne Sainte-Victoire, just outside Aix. Marseille is only 25 kilometres to the south, the village of Cassis and its famous Callanques (white rocky coast with lots of bays) and Saint-Tropez can also be reached just as the Luberon area north of Aix. In this area, you can find the village of Gordes, one of the nicest villages of France sitting on the top of a rocky mountain as well as closeby monastery of Sénanque with its lavender fields (THE postcard picture of the Provence).
And don’t forget to visit the picturesque village of Rousillon (not to be mistaken for the french department Rousillon which lies someplace else), with its ochre, orange, yellow and white rocks. Here you can follow a nice and easy foothpath called “Le sentier d’ocre” – the ochre path. This is a less than one hour loop with really spectacular scenery.
- Pros:Great atmosphere
A little east of Cassis, lies the small town of La Ciotat. The centre La Ciotat is less interesting than Cassis (but... more travel advice
Two things are important to know when visiting the Calanques. If you want to hike in this area, please remember that... more travel advice
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