There are many things to see and to do in Aix-en-Provence. It is a beautiful and lively city that boasts a unique Provencal charm.
One of the best things to do in Aix-en-Provence is to visit the renowned Musee Granet. It has a very broad collection of paintings and sculptures that are a must-see.
The Old Town of Aix-en-Provence is a delight to explore on foot, with pristine buildings and a huge amount of culture. There are numerous cafes along the famous Cours Mirabeau and you can sit in the shade of the plane trees to enjoy a beer or ice-cream while soaking up the beauty of the city.
The Cathedral of Saint-Sauveur and its cloister are treasures of religious architecture, harmoniously blending Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque styles. Its triptych by Nicolas Froment depicting Moses receiving God’s word from an angel is a highlight.
One of the city’s most beautiful and enduring features is its vast number of fountains. Stumbling upon a fountain or two while exploring the cobbled streets is a real treat and the city has over 1,000 of them.
The Cours Mirabeau
The Cours Mirabeau is one of Aix-en-Provence’s most prestigious avenues. It’s lined with elegant, honey-coloured houses, and is also the place for cafes, bars and restaurants.
Originally, this street was lined with elm trees. However, in 1895 all of the elms were cut down and replaced with plane trees.
This tree-lined avenue is lined with a variety of shops, banks and trendy cafes. It’s a popular place for locals to meet and socialize after work.
The street is embellished with several fountains, including the ornate Fontaine de la Rotonde at its west end and the 19th-century Fontaine du Roi Rene at its east end. The latter is a monument to King Rene who reigned over Provence in the 15th century. It features a statue of the Three Graces and bronze lions.
Just a 20-minute walk from Aix’s historic center, Cezanne’s Studio is a peaceful purpose-built home and studio where the painter painted his famed 'Grandes Baigneuses'. It's a must-see when you visit Aix-en-Provence.
It’s an enchanting and intimate experience that is as much a glimpse into the artist's life as it is a look at his art. There are many personal possessions displayed in the building, including old letters, photographs and a walking stick.
It’s a lovely place to sit and relax, so why not take a stroll through the grounds? Unruly bushes and a beaten-down path create a calming environment that harks back to the times when the home was built.
La Rotonde Fountain
The most famous of Aix-en-Provence’s fountains, La Rotonde was constructed in 1860 and is today one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. It’s topped with three statues representing justice (facing the Cours Mirabeau), agriculture and fine arts.
Located at the end of Cours Mirabeau, the main street of Aix-en-Provence, it’s also home to a tourist bureau where vacationers can pick up a map and city guide book. Aix-en-Provence is known as the City of a Thousand Fountains, and the avenue is lined with several lovely examples.
Aside from the historic La Rotonde Fountain, you can also see a 17th-century fountain of dolphins and a hot water fountain (fontaine de eau chaude) from 1668. This latter fountain, built low to the ground in order to serve as a drinking trough for sheep from Arles on their way to the Alps, is midway up Cours Mirabeau at the intersection with rue Joseph-Cabassol.
The city is famous for its calissons, a traditional French candy made from ground almonds, dried melon fruits, and marzipan. You can find these delicious treats in candy stores and gift shops around Aix.
- Another local favorite is panache, a refreshing summer drink that can be enjoyed on the restaurant terraces in Aix. You’ll see plenty of locals drinking panaches here, so be sure to get your fill!
- Aix-en-Provence is the perfect destination for those looking to explore art and history. It’s also an excellent base for day trips to nearby Marseille and Arles.