For every country we all have this idea in our head what it looks like. What the real authentic parts are like. Let’s try it. I’ll name a few and you summon up the picture in your head.
You see! Now, let’s do that one more time:
For me France is romance, little – often steep – streets, cobblestones, drinking coffee on a bistro terrace, cosy old city centers, not too big but they keep you interested and discovering new places as you go.
It’s looking up and being amazed by all the flowers you see hanging from peoples windows and balconies
It’s rustic wooden window shutters that always look like they could use a fresh coat of paint, but you hope they don’t.
It’s fountains in the city, covered by moss and if you’re lucky you can find a dog in them, trying to escape the blazing summer sun. It’s little markets behind every corner, where locals shop fresh produce and visitors get some fruit to get them through the day while exploring the city.
Anyways.. I think you get the picture ;).
To me, the old city center of Aix en Provence is just that!
We got lost in the streets on a Tuesday. Which turns out to be market day!
Markets can be found all over the city, so I’ll just name a few:
- Cours mirabeau
- Place des pêcheurs
Also worth a visit is Place d’Albetras. Of all the fountains, it’s there you can find one of the prettiest ones in the city on a gorgeous little square. It was build in 1912 and with the decor or the surrounding houses, you really find yourself to be transported back in time.
As the night falls over the city, and you find yourself in search of a place to eat or drink, a visit to Place de Hotel de Ville and Place des Cardeurs, which are situated pretty much next to each other, is a good idea.
Here you can find a variety of bars and restaurants. When we arrived a lot of them were pretty busy already. So you might want to swing by this place earlier in the day already, look at the menus and see if you can book yourself a table for the night.
Also when it comes to shopping, this city has a lot to offer. From more well known brands to little boutiques. There will be plenty to explore.
One store you must visit though is the gorgeous L’Occitane en Provence boutique. A brand whose roots lie in the gorgeous Provence region, and whose products are made from local ingredients. The store front blends in perfectly with the old town charm and carries all the scents you are looking for in the south of France. The store can be found on Rue Espariat, not to far from the fountain on Place d’Albetras.
Below I’ll add some more images to give you an idea of the city. I truly enjoyed our stay there. I love the size of the city, because it gives you time to slow down, enjoy breakfast, coffee, lunch… and you still have enough time to see it all. I would say two days give you plenty of time to discover the city center and slow down at the same time.
We were located on 30mins walking distance from the old center. Basically because I based my hotel selection on lowest price range ;). There are busses you could take, which we didn’t, but it’s an option if you don’t want to walk 30mins to get to your location and still want to keep the price low.
In that case you do have to keep in mind that there are very limited street lights along your route, so the walk home is a pretty dark one, once the sun sets.
We did come across some very charming hotels in the city as well though, so it might just be worth considering to spend a few extra $/€.
Until next time!