Aix-en-Provence from above
Aix-en-Provence is one of France’s most beautiful cities. Located in the South of France just 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Marseille, the city is known for its gorgeous architecture as well as its vibrant culture. Aix-en-Provence’s large student population (the city has 3 different universities) explains its abundance of cafes, bars and clubs in the city center. When it comes to culture, Aix-en-Provence has a lot to offer, as it was the hometown of famous painter Cézanne.
This article will take you around Aix-en-Provence in just 48 hours, and show you what the city has to offer!
– 10 am
The Cours Mirabeau with its beautiful plane trees and fountain in Aix-en-Provence
Start your exploration of Aix-en-Provence in the bustling historic city center
. You can easily explore the small cobblestoned streets on foot. You’ll find many cafes, shops and boutiques all around the historic center. If you want to get some shopping done this is a good place to start! Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning the city center hosts Le Grand Marché, which is a great farmers market where you can pick up all sorts of fresh produce.
When you’ve finished exploring the small winding streets, slowly make your way south to the Cours Mirabeau, which is the city’s main avenue and cultural hotspot. The avenue is lined with beautiful plane trees, but don’t forget to look at the houses as well! The characteristic Roman architecture of the buildings along the avenue is absolutely stunning. The Cours Mirabeau also boasts many beloved cafes and restaurants. Have lunch in Les Deux Garcons, which is popular with locals and tourists alike.
– 2 pm
The Sextius Bathhouse in Aix-en-Provence
The Romans first settled in Aix-en-Provence in 122 AD because they were attracted to the city’s natural hot springs.
Today, you can relax and rejuvenate at the Sextius Thermal Bath, built on the site of an ancient Roman bathhouse.
Located on the Cours Sextius just northwest of the historic city center, you can easily walk to the baths from the Cours Mirabeau.
When you’re thoroughly relaxed and refreshed, head out to discover some more water-related marvels in the city. Aix-en-Provence is sometimes referred to as “The City of a Thousand Fountains”, as fountains can be found all over the city.
The Fontaine de la Place de la Rotonde: one of Aix-en-Provence’s many fountains
On the Cours Mirabeau you’ll find two of the most striking fountains in Aix-en-Provence: an impressive fountain called The Fontaine de la Place de la Rotonde
, which takes up the whole center of the roundabout on the western end of the Cours Mirabeau, and a small moss-covered fountain on the intersection of the Cours Mirabeau and Rue Joseph Cabassol, which is fed by one of the city’s natural hot springs. You’ll find more fountains spread throughout the city center.
– 7 pm
A modern vacation rental apartment in Aix-en-Provence
After exploring the city, come home to your own vacation rental apartment in Aix-en-Provence
. Instead of going out to dinner, save money by cooking in your own kitchen! If you’ve picked up fresh produce at the farmers market, try your hand at a typical French dish. For some inspiration, take a look at our Southern French Cuisine ideas
Still have some energy left? Head out to one of the many great cafes or bars in the city center. Le Scat Club in the historic part of the city center has great live music.
– 11 am
The imposing Sainte Victoire Mountain near Aix-en-Provence
Start the day with a great cultural adventure: the Route Cézanne
. This Post-Impressionist artist painted and worked in Aix-en-Provence for the biggest part of his career. Many of his paintings are inspired by sights in and around Aix-en-Provence, such as the painting Mont Sainte-Victoire. If you’re an art and/or nature lover the Route Cézanne is a great way to explore the life of the famous painter as well as to see the Provence countryside up close.
Start at the Aix-en-Provence tourist office where you can get a detailed map of the entire route. You may rent a car in the city or take your own to drive along the entire route. Some of the destinations along the route include Cézanne’s family house, a Roman Aqueduct, the Arc River and the Sainte Victoire Mountain. It’s possible to climb to the top of the mountain, where you get an amazing view of Aix-en-Provence and the surrounding landscape. Do bring your hiking boots!
The Tholonet is a great restaurant along the Cézanne Road where you can have lunch. For the full route, see Discover the Route Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence.
– 3 pm
The Musée Granet houses paintings by Cézanne and many more great artists in Aix-en-Provence
After spending the morning and early afternoon gazing at Cézanne’s inspiration for many of his paintings, have a look at the actual paintings at the Musée Granet
! Beside some artwork by Cézanne, this excellent museum houses art by Granet, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet and more. You can find the museum just five blocks southeast of the Cours Mirabeau on the Rue Cardinale.
– 5 pm
Still looking to explore the area? Pay a visit to Marseille for a fun and exciting night! You can easily catch a bus to Marseille, here from the center of Aix-en-Provence, and buses leave multiple times per hour – so you don’t have to book in advance. This mode takes about half an hour, so you’ll have enough time to stroll through the city center of Marseille and find a nice restaurant for dinner. To find out what other attractions the city has to offer, check out our articles about Marseille.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of Aix-en-Provence and its surroundings. Have you ever been to Provence?