If you are looking for a soupcon of Parisian chic and class without the bustle and hustle of the French capital, then look no further than the student hub of Aix-de-Provence. This stylish yet vintage metropolis in the south of France is a city for all ages and frames of mind. Whether you wish to relax in style, take an action-packed city break or bask in the diverse arts of this cultural hub – the town of water and art is sure to offer you a sample of its douceur de vie. The town of Aix-de-Provence is the setting for Ysabel, written by renowned author Guy Gavriel Kay.
Built on the foundations of a former Roman Forum from 123 BC and located in modern day Provence, this city is today renowned for its fine mansions and moss-covered fountains. It is a true mishmash of architectural styles and vintages, a testament to its long and meandering path through the history books. By blending eras and cultures so perfectly, Aix-de-Provence has created that most delicate of balances between preserving its heritage and being forward thinking. This can be seen in its many museums and art galleries, or by taking a stroll down any of its small lanes and explore its smaller shops.
Holiday in Aix-de-Provence
An incredibly cool place to sit in style, the tree-lined main boulevard of Cours Mirabeau is scattered with elegant cafes, live music and the sunglassed Aixois people reclining with panache, espresso to hand. Babbling fountains provide a calm contrast to their urban patois while the speckled shade of plane-trees make sure you feel as unruffled and grand as if you’ve been lunching on this avenue forever.
Once you have had your fill of Cours Mirabeau and its shops and restaurants, sate your cultural appetite by visiting any or every of the town’s museums – including the Natural History Museum, Tapestry Museum, La Musée Paul Arbaud or La Musée Granet among many, many others. Another popular pastime of the locals is a visit to the riveting, stark and modern Ballet Preljocaj at the Pavillon Noir. Or plan your trip to Aix-de-Provence to coincide with one of the city’s two music festivals: Festival d’Aix-de-Provence, an opera festival in June and July, or Musique dans la Rue, a week of classical, jazz and popular concerts at venues all over town which coincides with World Music Day in June.
This town was originally built by the romans due to its thermal baths, and today these can be enjoyed by taking a relaxing spa break to Thermes Sextius.
If you wish to explore the town’s ancient heritage a bit more, then take a stroll to Cathédrale Saint Sauvier in the medieval Old Town and gaze at its 15th century artifacts, Gothic, Neo-Gothic and Roman elements and columns. The area surrounding the town is littered with stunning vistas from on high if you take a walk or drive to Montagne Sainte-Victoire, a limestone mountain ridge above the city with a complex network of paths to explore.
Renting holiday accommodation in Aix-de-Provence
With such a rich and varied cultural background, the best way to enjoy the town of Aix-de-Provence is most certainly from within your very own holiday rental. The architecture of its buildings changes so heavily depending on the suburb you choose for your stay that it is perfectly possible to create an authentic and tailor-made trip. If you visit the morning market at Place Richelme, make sure to buy jars of honey and fresh goat cheese to create a genuine Aix breakfast in your very own kitchen