This is Travel in Marseille Provence travel guide, a guide made by Marseille people for everyone. Here you will find out about Provence best places and travel tips. This page takes you on a journey to Aix-en-Provence, a city famous for its charming centre, its art life and local specialities.
Aix-en-Provence has a lot to offer, it could take you at least two weeks to discover everything in the city: a rich historic, cultural and culinary heritage. Discover its beautiful little streets, its majestic « Cours Mirabeau », its art and history spots, its craftmen and local products like the well-known « Calissons d’Aix».
Discover the city history with « le petit train »
« Le petit train d’Aix-en-Provence » (or little train) takes you through the city centre during 40 minutes. The train’s roof with its panoramic view allows you to see everything. Audioguides are offered so you can learn everything about Aix rich history.
Departing point: in front of Le Festival café at the Cours Mirabeau bottom.
Children: 3€ / Adults : 7€.
See Aix through the eyes of the painter Paul Cézanne
The famous painter Paul Cézanne, a cubism precursor, was born and died in Aix-en-Provence. His Provence landscapes paintings, well-known for their beauty, often take Aix countryside and la Sainte-Victoire mountain as subjects. As you will see, there is indeed something very special about the mountain and its luminosity…
From his home to Saint-Pierre cemetery, learn about Cézanne’s life and discover Aix-en-Provence through his eyes with the Tourist Office Cézanne tour. Other tours with different topics are also available.
Taste Aix specialities
If you have never heard about « le calisson », this sweet speciality from Aix-en-Provence, it’s time to try it! This is a “navette” shaped sweet made of a thin candied melon and almonds dough, glazed with « glace royale » and lying on an unleavened bread bed. The city and the county count no less than 20 « ateliers de calissons »! It is possible to visit some of them. If you prefer savoury food, you’ll be thrilled to know that Aix-en-Provence is the capital of olives trees since the 18th Century.
There are about 300 000 olive trees in le pays d’Aix and 2 000 farmers to take care of them! Olives, olive oils and tapenade are the favourite products of this agriculture.
Aix has also its wines, whites, reds and rosés, and its five AOP: Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, Côtes-de-Provence, AOP Sainte-Victoire, AOP Palette et AOP du Luberon.
Meet the Aixois artisans
In Aix-en-Provence and le Pays d’Aix there are many many craftspeople who work on wood, stone, clay etc. You can meet them in their studios, see their craft and learn about their passion and craftsmanship. The « Chambre des métiers et de l’artisanat des Bouches-du-Rhône » (Artisanat Chamber of the Bouches-du-Rhône) created a « Route des métiers d’arts et des Entreprises du Patrimoine Vivant » to promote these artisans and their craft.
Aix-en-Provence city has many museums, art galleries and artist studios. Art is one the city’s value. The Musée Granet in the Palais de Malte, a landmark of the 17th century, is a must-see.
The Fondation Vasarely is the architectonic centre of Aix-en-Provence classified as historic landmark and dedicated to the optical art world.
Visit the Mémorial des Milles
Between 1939 and 1942 the Camp des Milles was a « centre de déportation et d’internement » (concentration camp). It is now a museum and culture centre.
It is the only French concentration camp intact and still open to public. Its role is to prevent racism, antisemitism and any kind of fanaticism. Every year there are permanent exhibitions and cultural events but it’s also possible to see some of the 400 works of art made by the deportees. Art is used to fight persecution and dehumanisation, and this centre is a place of memory and a safeguard.
Open everyday from 10am to 7pm. Children : 7,50€ , adults : 9,50€.
Go hiking in the Sainte-Victoire
Along with the Mont Ventoux and la Sainte-Baume, la Sainte-Victoire belongs to Provence symbols and marks the entrance in the Pays d’Aix. You must take a walk in this gorgeous mountain if you are in Aix-en-Provence! Following different itineraries you will discover the religious heritage behind the Sainte-Victoire: its priory from the 17th Century, the Croix de Provence (Provence Cross) rising on the mountain Western summit or the Ermitage Saint-Ser, a small chapel built on a cave. Admiring the breathtaking panoramas, the unique colours of the stone and vegetation, you will understand Cézanne fascination for the mountain.