“Provence appeals to so many because the region offers something for everyone.
From sea to sky, from mountains to meadows,
from history to contemporary, it is an endless canvas.”
Esteemed writer, Carolyne Kauser-Abbott’s, perspectives about Provence. Visit the stunning city of Aix-en-Provence with her here…..
Carolyne is the author of three wonderful blogs; Perfectly Provence being my particular favourite. Carolyne grew up in Montreal and describes herself as someone who has France in her soul. Early in her career, as a fluent French speaker, she spent five months in Paris but left knowing she was destined to return. In 2003 she first visited Provence, biking in the Luberon and the Alpilles and was smitten! So in 2010, with her husband and black Lab, Jade, she moved to France for six months. Six months became thirteen, it’s no surprise that they now return every year, who wouldn’t?!
As an avid follower of Perfectly Provence, I knew that Carolyne could offer some excellent travel advice about one of Provence’s most delightful cities, Aix-en-Provence. Aix’s location makes it a great base for exploring Provence, especially if it’s your first visit; it’s within an hour’s drive from the coast, the Luberon, Avignon and Marseille. Aix-en-Provence is a vibrant, sun-drenched university city, one of the jewels of the Bouches-du-Rhône region of Provence. Home to artists and writers, enthused over by a never ending stream of delighted visitors, whatever the time of year!
It’s a city Carolyne knows well although initially it was not quite ‘love at first sight’; “This was the city I should be in love with and I was not, but that is because Aix needs to warm up to you.”(you can read her initial impressions here) and it did, as you will see from Carolyne’s recommendations below!
What to see in Aix-en-Provence
“There is so much to do in Aix itself you might find it hard to leave town. The beauty of Aix is the windy streets and hidden gems. The old Roman and medieval town is very manageable on foot and intriguing enough to invite exploration. The fashionable 17th century, Quartier Mazarin, is a wonderful place to stroll and admire the grand city homes that were build for the wealthy families.
It would be almost criminal to not spend a bit of time on the Cours Mirabeau, at minimum a drink or meal in a café. After all, the Cours Mirabeau has welcomed many famous people over the years from Cézanne to M.K. Fisher. Not to be missed along the way; the fountains in this “City of Water” and the Hotel de Ville and Place de Cardeurs.
Other “must visit” sites in the city are Musée Granet and Hotel de Caumont.
The markets of Aix-en-Provence
Dining in Aix-en-Provence
Crepes Cidre et Co is owned and run by Delphine, who lives in Provence with her family, but brings her Brittany roots to work everyday. Delphine’s crepes are made with love, fresh and sometimes sinful ingredients and always served with a smile.
Villa Gallici is a short stroll or cab ride from the old town. It is also a bit of a splurge, but the top quality menu and relaxing view of the gardens and glimpse of Aix, will be a trip highlight.
Restaurant L’Epicurien in Place des Cardeurs, you will feel like you have arrived in an Italian piazza. They offer a short and delicious menu.
I have to admit we loved Aix for the daily market and the ability to choose our dinner fresh from the stands, so we ended up cooking a lot. Here are two of our favourites when we do go out!
Villa Gallici for pure indulgence with the menu created and by Christophe Gavot and his team.
Poivre d’Ane in Place des Cardeurs for a tasty evening under the stars.
Or simply have a rosé and plat de jour in any restaurant that looks inviting.”
A big ‘merci beaucoup’ to Carolyn, I know she will be sharing more of her wonderful perspectives with us.
Carolyne’s final tip if you are planning a visit to Provence is to “Relax and do not try to do it all. Provence is best enjoyed in the “slow-lane,” sit in a café, drink some rosé, savour the light. Visit a vineyard, a Roman ruin a perched village and of course a market”