Having lived in Aix (pronounced ex) for a combined total of a year, I have seen it through all seasons and can safely say I know the city.
Aix en Provence is located in the south of France in the PACA region (Provence – Alpes- Côte d’Azur). It’s about half an hour from Marseille and two hours from Nice. As cities go its small, about the same size as Galway in Ireland. It’s size makes it perfect for a weekend trip, 2 days is enough time to explore and more importantly, taste, all that the city has to offer.
I spent my erasmus year in Aix and returned this summer for over 3 months. If you’re planning on doing an erasmus here… I’m jealous, it’s the perfect study abroad city.
So for some practicalities:
When to go? Preferably summer but anytime between April and October you should get some good weather.
How to get there? You can fly to Marseille from Dublin with aer lingus (its seasonal though). Another option to fly to Nice with Ryanair and get a Flixbus or Oui bus to Aix.
Where to stay? Aix hotels can be pricey so check out airbnb for some cheaper options.
Where to visit? This city is a place to explore and soak up the French atmosphere. While there are one or two museums to really get the most of the city make sure to try the food and walk the streets.
Not to miss?
– Place Vendome is truly stunning, one of my favourite parts of Aix.
– The Cours Mirabeau is the main people watching street, try the petit déjeuner in La Bastide.
– La Rotonde, you literally won’t be able to miss this stunning fountain at the end of the cours mirabeau. Speaking of fountains rumour has it that Aix has a thousand of them, although I have yet to find them all. Another must see fountains is le quatre dauphins- the 4 dolphins.
Where to eat?
Breakfast – Petit Déjeuner: La Bastide, Cours Mirabeau. This is the perfect petit déj with mini pain au chocolat, croissant and baguette you get it all. Along with a coffee and an orange juice all while having the perfect seat to watch the world go by.
Crêpes – crêpes à gogo is where the locals… Gogo ! This crêperie is hidden away in a underground passage way beside the apple store. It may not be the fanciest place but it is the best.
Ice cream – nothing beats gelato from giovanis on the cours mirabeau. Honestly nothing beats it.
Callisons – these local sweets are worth a try, although not to everyones taste they are a speciality of the city and I’m personally a fan.
Pain au chocolat and Croissants- Jacobs, any of the four in Aix do a pretty good pain au chocolat but the best? Au Pavé de Roi, i have yet to find a bakery better than this gem.
Dinner – there is a restaurant to suit every taste and budget in Aix. Place des Cardeurs has a wide selection as well as all the side streets in the centre ville.
Where to drink? Aix is a student city so there’s no shortage of good bars. If you’re looking for a place to grab a cheap drink with friends la curieuse in place des Cardeurs has you covered, as do many of the bars in that area.
There are also a number of bars beside the hotel de village and of course along the cours mirabeau.
Aix is only a small part of provence and there really is so much to explore in the area… But I’ll save that for another post.