Aix-en-Provence is a city in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in the south of France, about 30 km (20 mi) north of Marseille. The city center is mostly pedestrian and, though it is quite small (you can cross the center in 15 minutes by foot). As in all Provencal towns, the city center consists of narrow streets, lined with interesting buildings from 17th century.
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The Cours Mirabeau (map) is a wide thoroughfare, planted with double rows of plane trees, bordered by fine houses and decorated by fountains. It follows the line of the old city wall, and divides the town into two sections. The new town extends to the south and west; the old town, with its narrow, irregular streets, and its old mansions dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, lies to the north.
The Cathedral of the Holy Saviour (Aix Cathedral, map) is situated to the north in the medieval part of Aix. Built on the site of a former Roman forum and an adjacent basilica, it contains a mixture of all styles from the 5th to the 17th century, including a richly decorated portal in the Gothic style with doors elaborately carved in walnut.
The Aix-en-Provence Town Hall (Hôtel de Ville, map), a building in the classical style of the middle of the 17th century, looks onto a picturesque square (Place de l’Hôtel de Ville). It contains some fine woodwork and tapestries. At its side rises a handsome clock-tower, erected in 1510.
Le Musée du Vieil Aix (Museum of Old Aix, map), housed in two period “hôtels particuliers” and devoted to the history and provencal heritage of Aix.
Le Musée Granet (map), a museum devoted to painting, sculpture and the archeology of Aix. The collection contains over 300 works of art, including paintings and drawings by Degas, Renoir. Gauguin, Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Klee, Fernand Léger, Giacometti and Dubuffet.
L’atelier Cézanne (map), the former studio of Paul Cézanne, now a museum, located in the northern outskirts of Aix. It has been preserved as it was at the time of the painter’s death and contains many of his personal items and props used in his paintings.
To the east of Aix rises Montagne Sainte-Victoire (1,011 metres or 3,317 feet, map), one of the landmarks of the Pays d’Aix. It is accessible from the centre of Aix by road or on foot, taking the wooded footpath of Escrachou Pevou to the plateau of Bibemus.
The city market runs multiple days a week, but the largest and most colorful is the Saturday market which includes a flower market at the Place de l’Hotel de Ville (map) and the main food market is at Place Richelme (map).