Aix en Provence, quintessential Provence
The bright skies, the golden stone facades, the babbling green fountains, the shade of the plane trees and the gentle way of life are all available to you during a visit to Provence. Aix en Provence is an open-air history book. You just have to take a walk to discover its exceptional architectural and cultural heritage. The old town, the Cours Mirabeau, the Mazarin neighbourhood all boast fountains, townhouses, gardens and museums. At the terrace of a cafe or a restaurant, or at the colourful markets, enjoy a taste of the Provencal way of life. Here, you will be able enjoy a leisurely stroll while window shopping.
Departing from Aix, you will be able to continue your visit in the Pays d’Aix, a typical Provencal region, dotted with cypresses, vineyards and olive groves. It is just like travelling through the landscapes of Cézanne, his hilltop villages and his historical sites. Many discovery trails and gourmet excursions are also available offering you the opportunity to taste the regional produce.
Not to miss in Aix
Cézanne’s three sites: 1- The artist’s workshop
It is here that you can feel the artist’s presence the most. Discover his painting equipment, and the objects most dear to him that he used for his last still lifes.
2- The family house in Jas de Bouffan
The Cézanne family's property for 40 years, the Bastide du Jas de Bouffan was a source of inspiration for Paul Cézanne. He painted his first large youthful works directly on the walls of the large lounge on the ground floor, then installed his easel in the gardens in front of the house, the farm, the pond, and the alley lined with horse chestnuts to paint a total of 36 oils and 17 watercolours that depict his family environment.
3- The Bibémus quarries
By the time Cézanne set up his easel in the middle of the quarry, they had not been in use for several decades. Between 1895 and 1904, in this chaotic landscape abandoned by humans, Cézanne painted 11 oils and 16 watercolours, including the famous “red rock,” now on display at the Orangerie Museum in Paris.
Le Musée Granet (Granet Museum) Built in 1676, the Palais de Malte was a Commandery before becoming the present-day Granet Museum. It is one of the most beautiful regional museums in France. The permanent collections will transport you from the 14th to the 20th century: French, Flemish, Dutch and Italian works are exhibited, with pieces by Rembrandt, Rubens, Ingres, David, Granet, the Cézanne school, the Cézanne room, etc. Do not miss two exceptional collections: “from Cézanne to Giacometti,” an overview of 20th century art with 19 works by Giacometti, paintings by Léger, Mondrian, Klee, de Staël, Picasso, Tal Coat... and the "Jean Planque collection."
The cours Mirabeau and its cafe terraces Created in 1650, the "Cours à Carrosses" continues to be heart of the city. It is a verdant tunnel dotted with fountains and lined with sumptuous townhouses with 17th and 18th century facades. The noblest families had elegant residences built, some of which reflect their success with great ostentation. The most famous cafe terraces in the town succeed one another for the great joy of visitors and local residents.
The fountains Many magnificent fountains decorate the town. A source of life, captured and distributed since Antiquity, water is at the heart of the life and history of Aix en Provence. In a region where water is rare, Aix has been able to count on its many springs. However, it was not until the second half of the 19th century that water flowed freely in the fountains’ basins, thanks to the construction of the Verdon Canal and the Zola Dam. After drinking from the fountains, recharge yourself at the Thermes Sextius. Its water, renowned for its magical virtues, will take care of you and help you to live in harmony with the environment.
Saint-Sauveur Cathedral This cathedral was built between the 5th and 18th century. The resulting architectural variety is immediately visible on its facade: the Romanesque portal sits alongside a Roman wall, and the richly sculpted Gothic portal is crowned by a clock tower erected between 1323 and 1425. Inside, the baptistry rests on elements from the 5th century. The 12th century cloister is a model of tranquillity and elegance.
“Les allées provençales” Opened in 2007, this new neighbourhood has increased the town’s shopping potential, cafe terraces, and the number of cultural events. It attracts many visitors as much in the daytime, for its beautiful stores and cafes, as in the evening for the shows at the Grand Théâtre de Provence or performances by the Ballet Preljocaj at the CCN Pavillon Noir. Soon, right next to the CCN, the town will be inaugurating its new conservatoire. It is also in the "allées provençales" that you will find the new Tourist Office, opposite the old one.
Specialities Local specialties include calissons, santon figurines, wines from AOC Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire, Provence wines and Palette wines. Aix has many delicious treats to offer, starting with the calisson, the town’s speciality prepared with ground almonds. Many factories are open to visitors and offer tastings; santon figurine makers, wine estates, and olive farms open their doors to the public. Wines and olive oils and their by-products, such as olive tapenade paste, may also be bought at markets. The local farmers’ market may be found every morning all year round on Place Richelme.
Spa Thermes Sextius, spa and mineral water thalassotherapy.
The history of Aquae Sextiae (the former name of Aix en Provence) is that of a spring which has flowed freely for more than 10,000 years from the depths of the rocks of Mont Sainte Victoire. Naturally hot and filled with mineral elements, its valuable water restores your natural serenity, vitality and taste for life.
Casino Property of the PARTOUCHE group, in Aix, the casino is called Pasino and is the perfect place for a game of roulette, blackjack, 30/40, slot machines, etc. You can also enjoy a delicious meal at one of its three restaurants, or enjoy a show or concert.
Festival Tous Courts – first week in December
International short film festival
Christmas in Aix and the Pays d'Aix - end of November
Christmas in Provence has many traditions and boasts speciality dishes, offering a unique experience
Rencontres du 9ème Art (cartoon festival) - March and April
A grand cartoon festival featuring book signings, exhibitions, round tables, special events, and more
Flâneries d'Art (art exhibitions) – over a weekend in June
Follow a route art exhibitions and discover top new artists; you can also explore the gardens and studios in the town centre that are rarely open to the public during this period.www.aix-en-oeuvres.com
Festival d'Art Lyrique (Lyric Art Festival) – each year in July
This festival brings in young talents from around the world - it has done so for more than 60 years
Bénédiction des calissons (Blessing of the Calissons) – first Sunday in September
The sweetest Provencal tradition will delight you as much for its almond confectionery as for its ancient customs: mass in Provencal, costume parade, dancing to the sound of the fife and the tambourin.
Aix en Provence is a hub of activity all year round and benefits from a beautiful climate – it is quintessential Provence – come enjoy it for yourself!
Visiting the town All year round, guided tours are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10 am, exploring the charms of the town, the elegance of its townhouses, and the beauty of its architecture and its monuments. From April through October, one visit is held per day at 10 am – focusing on a different theme every morning.
AIX AND PAYS D'AIX PASS - €2
Valid all year, when presenting your PASS, you will be able to benefit from a reduced rate at partner sites - the full list is available at the Tourist Office.
PASS FOR THE 3 SITES OF CEZANNE - 12 €
To visit the places where Paul Cézanne lived and painted: Cézanne's studio, Jas de Bouffan house, Bibemus quarries.
For more information on the town visits or the PASS, call T + 33 4 42 16 11 61 or www.aixenprovencetourism.com
Getting to Aix
SNCF: town centre station and Aix-en-Provence-TGV station: 3 hours from Paris
International airport: Marseille-Provence
Shuttle bus service between the town centre - AIX TGV station and Marseille-Provence airport
Motorways: A7, A8, A51, A56 (800 km from Paris)
Contact and useful links
Aix en Provence Tourist Office
300 avenue Giuseppe Verdi
13605 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 1
Tel: +33 (0)4 42 16 11 61
Fax: +33 (0)4 42 16 11 62
Our Central Reservations and Information Service
- book online
- or contact our multilingual team by telephone or e-mail on 33 4 42 16 11 84/85
or by email