aix-en-provence

Aix-en-Provence in One Day

It’s surprising to me that when people come to Provence their tours are often so short. Traveling from the Côte d’ Azur to Marseilles, to Aix-en-Provence, to Montpelier, to St. Rémy, to the Luberon, to Avignon, and all the quaint villages in between is a pretty tall order.

One destination that seems to be on everyone’s travel list is Aix-en-Provence. Simply known as “Aix,” the city has a bit of everything that makes Provence special: history, art, amazing architecture and charming Provençal markets.

Aix in one day

What if you had only one day in Aix-en-Provence? That was our challenge when planning this year’s South of France Memories Tour.

Aix in One Day: The Market

Market days in Aix-en-Provence are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Our Memories Tour visited Aix on a Saturday. The market, as expected, was packed. Fortunately, the wide avenue that cuts through Aix, Le Cours Mirabeau, easily accommodates large crowds of tourists, vendors and traffic. It’s seen more than its share since the seventeenth century road was built where the medieval ramparts once lay.

Aix in one day

Food markets, flower stalls and vendors with traditional and new Provençal merchandise filled popular downtown streets and plazas.

Aix in one day

The day we visited, the area was more congested than usual due to road construction. Torn up streets are not uncommon in cities with a growing population like Aix. Whenever roads are ripped up for repair or expansion, often ancient ruins are unearthed. All construction work stops until special teams of archeologists come in to access the findings. After all, a Roman city once stood and prospered here two thousand years ago.

Aix in One Day: Cézanne

Aix in one day

A “must” for a one day visit to Aix-en-Provence is a stroll through town along the footsteps of Cézanne. Square metal medallions literally mark the way.

A two-hour tour along the marked path with our brilliant guide Jennifer gave us an overview of the life of Paul Cézanne: the places he frequented around town: his father’s millinery store, his favorite cafe; and the neighborhood where he lived.

Aix in one day

Cézanne’s work spanned more than forty years, from roughly 1860 to 1906. He produced more than 900 paintings and 400 watercolors, some which were never finished.

Picasso said of Cézanne, “he’s the father of us all.

Interestingly, there are only a few of Cézanne’s art works in Aix. Or anywhere else in France for that matter. Cézanne was rejected personally and artistically by the art communities in Paris and in Aix. Towards the end of his life he was “discovered” by the Germans and Americans. Most of his work can be found in the great museums and galleries in those countries.

Aix in one day

Obsessed with Montagne Sainte-Victoire. Cézanne painted the mountain near Aix more than eighty times.

Cézanne is said to have inspired cubism.

Aix in one day

Two hours is hardly enough to explore all the life of Cézanne in Aix, but it was a start. Another day, another reason to visit …

Aix in One Day: Tourist Train

As the Barefoot Blogger suggests for first-time visits to a city, a hop-on-hop-off bus or tour train is a great way to get an overview.

It’s an especially good idea in Aix where landmarks can be obscure and far away from each other.

Aix in one day

During our one day visit to Aix, Memories Tour co-leader Patricia Sands and I carved out time to do what we love most: shop, eat and drink! I must come back, indeed.

Aix in one day

Aix in one day

10 replies »

  1. Aix is my favorite town in France! The last time I was there, I spent 10 days there. I never ran out of things to do. I think I could live there. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • I’m excited about spending some time in Aix this winter. There’s a two-week intensive French course I’ll be taking. Can’t wait to get back there to explore.

  2. Deborah a wonderful blog about Aix. It is truly a wonderful place to visit and so much to see. It is special with the University there provides lots of young vitality to the town and energizes its cafe’s and restaurants. Get well and get out more blogs of your trip but omit Aique Mortes and the fall. We did enjoy our visit there and the festival was in full swing but the running of the bulls was very subdued after the death of the lady even though it was her own fault.

    • Thank you Rich. I’ve been to Aix several times now and I like it more each time. Need to go for the summer music festival.

  3. Ah Deborah…I hope by the cheerful sound of your Barefoot Blogger voice that you are healing well and that you are on the back end of recovery! I think of you and that divine Memories trip often. Still miss you…I must come ack to France for another. Bisous!

  4. These wonderful adventures are awe inspiring and with each read I wonder how I can jump on board? are these journeys exclusive to your friends or may strangers (soon to become friends) join in? I’m ready…….

    • Kathryn, we will be planning a tour for next year and would love for you to join us. Please send me a note at deborah@bfblogger.com and I’ll keep you posted. Thank you for your kind comment. Thanks for following😘

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.