Aix-en-Provence's spacious and charming Cours Mirabeau main street sports three fountains, this one is Fontaine d' Eau Chaude.
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A mere 25 kms (16 miles) from Marseilles, Aix is a world apart from that large and architecturally bereft port town, stuffed with the underprivileged, immigrants and not short of criminal endeavour. Aix-en-Provence is a small, comfortable and graceful town, full of affluent and well-dressed aesthetes, fine buildings and an intriguing artistic heritage, most notably Cezanne.
One of Aix's many interesting and ancient artifacts.
Aix does not offer the grand attractions of its neighbours Avignon (such as the Pope's palace) or Arles (Roman sights), it's more about experiencing a really delightful French ambience scattered with little jewels of style, art and history.
Aix main attractions
- fountains, as this is known as 'the city of a thousand fountains'.
- The Cathedral of the Holy Saviour (Cathédral Sainte Saveur), photo at bottom.
Deux Garcons brasserie, that has fed and watered celebrities ancient and modern, including Cézanne, Zola and Hemingway.
- Cours Mirabeau is the beating heart of Aix, laid down in 1649 and a lovely place to stroll.
- La Vielle Ville, the old town's 16th-18th century
- Hôtel de Ville, a magnificent 17th building that is now the Town Hall.
A typical Aix old town plaza, shaded by plane trees, home to elegant cafés and ringed by well-preserved old structures.
A classic French market in the Place de l'Hotel de Ville.
Tourists who imagine they can find rooms in any Hotel de Ville in France may be interested to know that a Hotel de Ville is always the Town Hall, not a hotel! The French, oh la la...they have unique logic pathways that are incomprehensible to the rest of the world.
Aix's Cathedrale St. Sauveur.
The Holy Saviour Cathedral hosts a mish-mash of styles stretching from Roman and Gothic to Renaissance and many fine interior artifacts inside and an interesting adjacent artist's market, visible in the photo above.
Best June - August, with low rainfall and average temperatures ranging from highs of 28C (83F) to lows of 16C (61F). The worst time to go there is probably September - November when rainfall is at its highest. Winters are generally warmish, with lows of 3C (38F), though when the famously violent Mistral wind roars down the Rhone valley the wind chill factor becomes deeply unpleasant.
Official website: Aix en Provence Tourism
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