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Chic, beautiful, and tinged with an air of sophistication, Aix-en-Provence is a hub for French culture and the arts. The scenic city, often referred to as the "City of a Thousand Fountains," was the former capital of the Provence region and is dotted with splendid fountains and mansions dating centuries back. Aix served as part of Marseille-Provence 2013, when the region was named a European Capital of Culture, and enjoys a relaxed atmosphere befitting of its status as a university town. World-class cuisine and nearby vineyards make the city a foodie destination, while Gothic architecture and medieval ruins draw sightseers and history lovers from afar. Discover an abundance of things to do in Aix-en-Provence and the rest of scenic Provence, soaking in the unique character of the commune during your stay.
Outside of the city of Aix-en-Provence, the region of Provence is dotted with diverse landscapes and historic towns. Aix-en-Provence itself serves as a jumping point for many of the area's coastal and inland tourist stops, while holding its own as a relaxing and fascinating destination.
Cours Mirabeau - The wide thoroughfare of Cours Mirabeau is one of the most scenic and popular places in town. The street, which divides Aix-en-Provence into the new town of Quartier Mazarin and old town of Ville Comtale, is decorated with fountains, the most famous of which is the Fontaine de la Rotonde. Take a stroll along the avenue and visit the Deux Garçon, a
restaurant previously frequented by the likes of Paul Cézanne, Emilie Zola, and Ernest Hemingway.
Montagne Sainte-Victoire - Montagne Sainte-Victoire is a limestone mountain ridge that can be seen from Aix-en-Provence. The massif is a popular hiking, climbing, and paragliding destination, and acted as inspiration for works by Cézanne and Pablo Picasso. To the north of the mountain is the Chateau of Vauvenargues, a historic monument once owned by Picasso himself.
Luberon - The Luberon massif is located to the northwest of Aix-en-Provence and is composed of 3 mountain ranges. The area is famous for its unique perched villages and fragrant lavender fields that paint the landscape in rich purple hues during the summer.
Aix-en-Provence isn't called the City of a Thousand Fountains for nothing. Just walking around will introduce you to the fountains, many of which date back as far back as the 17 th and 18 th centuries. Find the most famous ones, including the Fontaine des Prêcheurs in Place des Prêcheurs, Fontaine des Quatre-Dauphins in the Mazarin Quarter, and the Fontaine de al Rotonde on Cours Mirabeau. Aside from its fountains, Aix is full of sights to explore, including the Musée Granet, which houses the art collection of Jean Planque as well as works by Rembrandt, Paul Cézanne, and Jean-Dominique Ingres.
Day trips out to other towns in beautiful Provence are an easy journey from Aix-en-Provence. The seaside cities of Cassis and Marseille make for a refreshing excursion out to the Mediterranean coast. For an adventure closer to Aix, indulge with a trip to Coteaux d'Aix by Montagne Sainte-Victoire to taste delectable wines. Aix, with its abundance of mouthwatering southern French cuisine, is also a paradise for foodies and gourmands, and nearby olive groves offer a delectable experience in the countryside. Celebrate local arts by visiting during the Festival International d'Art Lyrique d'Aix-en-Provence, which highlights opera alongside orchestral, chamber, and vocal music. The annual Fête de la Musique, or Music Day, promotes bot amateur and professional musicians, and has grown to be celebrated in 120 countries around the world. Aix is home to a number of historic landmarks that contribute to the cultured character of the city, including the 17 th -century mansion of Le Pavillon de Vendôme and L'atelier Cézanne, the former studio of painter Paul Cézanne.
They say the best things in life are free. Make sure you visit the following around Aix-en-Provence:
Musee des Tapisseries - Approach the friendly staff and find out about the collections on display here.
Hôtel de Caumont - Centre d'Art - This is a wonderful place to get your culture hit and learn more about the region's artistic side.
Paul Cezanne University - Admire the originality and design of this impressive example of modernistic architecture.
La Rotonde - Place General Charles De Gaulle - If you're eager to explore the history of the region through its landmarks, include this one on your to-do list.
Place des Precheurs - This buzzing area is a favorite of both locals and visitors.
Chapelle Penitents-gris (Chapelle des Bourras) - Stop for some quiet contemplation and find out a thing or two about this site's religious importance.
Parc Jourdan - No matter if you can tell your apple trees from azaleas, you'll no doubt find beauty in this spectacular display.
If you're chasing fun under the sun, check out these outdoor adventures:
If you want to experience the best of this destination, slot these attractions into your schedule:
Your time away in Aix-en-Provence won't cost a fortune with free attractions like these to discover: