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The din of cicadas, the southern French accent, a glass of Pastis at a table outside a café: this is Aix-en-Provence, one of France’s most delightful towns. Aix has long been the capital of Provence. This can be seen in its architecture, the wealth of its private mansions, and the ever-present traces of its flourishing past.
The city of the painter Cézanne, Aix is a fascinating city dominated by the iconic Sainte-Victoire mountain, which culminates at 1011 metres. Here is some practical information to help you plan your visit to Aix-en-Provence!

 

 

What about Aix-en-Provence?

Jokingly, Aix-en-Provence is a French city which people love to hate! In the heart of the historic region of Provence, it has all the advantages of a small town in spite of its size. Indeed, Aix has about 150 000 inhabitants, which is very few for a French “sous-préfecture”. Very close to Marseille, the huge French harbour metropolis, Aix-en-Provence has managed to keep its personality and its charm. Cobbled streets, an old city inaccessible by car, water fountains everywhere… Without a doubt, Aix is an extraordinary city known for water and art, and it keeps its promise.

Aix-en-Provence Situation Map

A high rate of residents, called Aixois(e) or Aquisextain(e)s, are retired people or students.

Retired people come to Aix for its laid-back way of life. This city has every asset to seduce people, including the climate. It is very hot in the region during the summer, but the famous wind called the “Mistral” moderates the climate.

Cours Mirabeau Aix-en-Provence © French Moments
Cours Mirabeau, Aix-en-Provence © French Moments

Aix-en-Provence is part of the largest education authority in France (in French “académie”) ahead of Paris! In 2012, there were 41,000 students living in Aix. With the merger of the 3 universities “Aix-Marseille” (Provence University, Mediterranean University and Paul Cézanne University), there are no fewer than 75,000 students in the académie of Aix-Marseille.

Apart from the sun and the “dolce vita”, Aix-en-Provence holds many secrets. To discover them, you have to get off the beaten track. Then, around the bend in a road, you might come upon the house of a famous painter, a luxurious townhouse, or one of the 140 sites listed as “Historic Monuments”. Take a look, and you will be amazed!

The fountain of King René, Aix © French Moments
The fountain of King René © French Moments

 

Where to stay in Aix-en-Provence?

You can choose from a great range of accommodation in Aix-en-Provence, from hotels to B&B and campings! My recommendation is to book your accommodation near the city centre. Although it’s a more pricey option, you’ll save time on transportation and can access most of the 10 things to see within walking distance.

Also, when possible, don’t wait until the last minute to book as finding hotel rooms can be a problem, especially on weekdays.

To book your accommodation in Aix, click on this affiliate link which will redirect you to our partner booking.com… or use the interactive map below:



Booking.com

 

Things to do in Aix

Looking for activities and things to do in Aix and its surroundings? Check out the offers from our partner Get Your Guide:

 

 

The major events in Aix

Aix-en-Provence is a vibrant city… there will certainly be an event organised during your visit!

Place de l'Hôtel de Ville Aix-en-Provence © French Moments
Place de l’Hôtel de Ville Aix-en-Provence © French Moments

 

Festival international d’art lyrique

The most important cultural event in the city is undoubtedly the International Festival of Lyric Art.

Its programme is regularly broadcast by several national television stations. It is an opera and classical music festival created in 1948 and held every summer. It is one of the great European opera festivals, with a particular affinity for the operas of Mozart.

The performances are now spread over several sites: the courtyard of the former archbishop’s palace, the Théâtre de l’Archevêché, the Grand Théâtre de Provence, the Théâtre du Jeu de Paume and the Hôtel Maynier d’Oppède.

 

Other festivals and cultural events

Other notable cultural events include:

  • the Easter Festival,
  • the Festival de la Chanson Française du Pays d’Aix,
  • the literary festival “Le Printemps des lettres méditerranéennes”,
  • the Zic Zac Festival and
  • the Rencontres du neuvième art, devoted to comic strips and organised annually since 2004.

 

How to get there

La Rotonde, Aix © French Moments
La Rotonde © French Moments

 

By car

Aix-en-Provence is easily accessible by car from Paris, Lyon and Marseille, via the A5, A6, A7 and A51 autoroutes (French for motorways).

For your parking convenience, there are park-and-ride facilities (€2.20/day + free bus) all around the city. Find out more here.

 

By air

The closest airport is the Aéroport International Marseille-Provence which is 25 km from the city centre of Aix with a shuttle bus every 30 minutes.

If you travel from America or Australia, you might prefer to take a flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle. Then, travel by TGV from the airport station straight to Aix-en-Provence. There you can catch a shuttle bus downtown (18km).

 

By train

The Aix TGV station is 15 km from the city centre. It reaches Paris in less than 3 hours and Lyon in 1 hr. Shuttle bus every 30 minutes.

The town also has a train station in the city centre which serves Marseille, Gardanne, Manosque, and Sisteron.

 

Pin it for later!

Aix-en-Provence Pinterest © French Moments

Aix-en-Provence Pinterest © French Moments

Aix-en-Provence Pinterest © French Moments

 

Aix-en-Provence: Find out more!

All our pages about Aix-en-Provence on the blog:

 

More info about Aix-en-Provence:

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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  1. Southern accent? Smiles and legendary hospitality? I would definitely not go in Aix to find those!
    Those aixois are just an impersonation of parisians. Just as unfriendly and always speaking “pointu” (i.e. a posh and mannered northern accent).
    The city is not ugly though, with an obvious display of money (compared to the striking poverty of Marseille), and you’ll find some cultural events.
    But it’s not the place to go if you’re looking for authenticity.

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