Aix-en-Provence, cultural city break
Cézanne's studio is your first window into this weekend before you head off to take a tour of the more iconic sites in Aix such as the Pavillon Vendôme and the tapestry museum. There's a wonderful mix of the old and new as you alternate between the Fondation Vasarely, the sumptuous town houses in the Mazarin district (Caumont, Granet, Gallifet) and the peace and calm around the fountain on Place d'Albertas. In between art museums, enjoy a feast for the eyes and the palate at Mickaël Féval, a real treat for the senses!
Day 1 – Culture in the heart of Aix-en-Provence
Begin your cultural tour of Aix-en-Provence at Cézanne's studio. This visit should take you through to lunchtime when we recommend a table at Fanny's for local, reasonably priced cuisine. Then head to Place d'Albertas and its fountain to relax until your meal goes down. Next on the list is the Musée des Tapisseries, the tapestry museum set inside the Palais de l’Archevêché. Continue your cultural tour at Aix Cathedral. Bring a lovely day to a close by visiting the historic pavilion where the Duke of Vendôme used to take his lover La Belle du Cannet.
Day 2 - Aix's museums and art centres
Your second day in Aix-en-Provence starts with a visit to the Granet Museum. To quench your thirst for the arts even more you only need to go 200 metres further to the Hôtel de Gallifet. Hidden away on Rue Espariat, Le Formal is your destination for lunch which will appeal to lovers of creative fine dining. Lunch break over, make your way to the Caumont Arts Centre not far from Cours Mirabeau. A perfect end to your weekend tour of Aix is the Fondation Vasarely, one of the most striking landmarks of your entire visit!
- Devouring calisson sweets, an Aix speciality made from almond and candied melon
- Catching a show or concert at the Grand Théâtre de Provence or contemporary ballet at the Pavillon Noir
- Visiting places that once inspired the 'great' Paul Cézanne
- Seeing the sun reflecting on the Fondation Vasarely, an extraordinary light show on a building worthy of a sci-fi film
The best time to visit
- In summer for the opera festival at the Palais de l’Archevêché (around 1,300 seats) or the international classical music festival, the Nuits Pianistiques
- Early September for the Mistral Festival at Parc Jourdan (aioli tastings, folk band, traditional dancing)
- Towards the end of the year for the famous Christmas market, the '13 Desserts' market and nativity scenes with santons (figurines)
Aix en Provence
All year round
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Marseille le Panier by Les Marseillaises
It may be the oldest district in Marseille but le Panier has lost none of its charm. In fact, the area has seen a remarkable rebound since the arrival of the MuCEM and the renovation of la Joliette, without mentioning the historical monuments alongside the artists’ workshops hidden in the narrow streets.
Marseille, cultural city break – city centre
Since 2013, Marseille has focused its attention on promoting culture. One of the key cultural spots in the city is the Old Port with a rich mix of museums and other cultural attractions. Start at Fort Saint-Jean and onwards from there to the MuCEM. Then walk past the Villa Méditerranée to get to the Regards de Provence museum set in a former maritime health clinic. Opposite take a few moments to contemplate Marseille Cathedral. After lunch in the Joliette quarter, in the throes of redevelopment, the Vieille Charité cultural complex makes a fascinating visit. Your tour of Marseille concludes at the Friche Belle de Mai, a forum of culture and interaction. An ideal tour for a day in the city.
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