Aix's museums and art centres
No cultural tour of Aix-en-Provence would be complete without a visit to the Granet Museum in the Mazarin district. A little further along, step through the doors of the Hôtel de Gallifet to spot fresh talents on the contemporary art scene. In between art museums, enjoy a feast for the eyes and the palate at Mickaël Féval, a real treat for the senses! Your lunch break over, mix the old and the new by visiting the Caumont Arts Centre followed by the Fondation Vasarely.
Day 2 – Masterpieces for your eyes only at the Granet
Place Saint Jean de Malte 13100 Aix-en-Provence
A visit to the Granet is a great way to start your second day in Aix-en-Provence. It occupies the Palais de Malte, a magnificent building dating from the 17th century. Arranged over 400 sq.m, the museum exhibits works going back to the very start of the history of art including an impressive collection from the Renaissance period. Just five minutes from there, don't miss the 'Granet XXe' exhibition, a show of the Planque collection in the Pénitents Blancs Chapel. If you'd like to learn more about the artists and their works, consider getting the audio guide for just €3.
Day 2 – Hôtel de Gallifet, the perfect blend of the past and present
52 Rue Cardinale 13100 Aix-en-Provence
To quench your thirst for the arts even more you only need to go 200 metres further to the Hôtel de Gallifet recognisable from its huge white Persian blinds. Located in the chic Mazarin district, the arts centre occupies a stunning 18th century town house made of Bibemus stone. The classic exterior is a bold contrast to the modern artworks shown at the temporary exhibitions held there. Stop for a tea break beneath the leafy canopy of hundred-year-old trees.
Day 2 –A lunchtime treat at Le Formal
32 Rue Espariat 13100 Aix-en-Provence
How does dining in a 15th century vaulted cellar take your fancy? Hidden away on Rue Espariat, Le Formal is the go-to destination for fine gourmets with a penchant for creative cuisine. The chef Jean-Luc Le Formal has fun pairing different flavours and creating unexpected tastes and textures. Endorsed by some of the best restaurant guides out there (Gault & Millau, Michelin, Tables 13), delicacies include scrambled eggs with truffle on toast or turbot served with turmeric-spiced vegetables. A true culinary experience!
Day 2 – Fine arts and art de vivre at the Caumont
3 Rue Joseph Cabassol 13100 Aix-en-Provence
Lunch break over, make your way to the Caumont Arts Centre not far from Cours Mirabeau. The 18th century building is a work of art in itself surrounded by a courtyard and a typically Parisian garden. The centre is devoted to the fine arts in the broadest sense and its salons offer a fascinating tour of period decoration. If you have time, watch the film about Cézanne in the auditorium and check out the temporary exhibitions. The centre has a beautiful tea room where you can sit and contemplate the exquisite gardens.
Day 2 – The Fondation Vasarely, Aix's architectonics centre
1 Avenue Marcel Pagnol CS 50490 13096 Aix-en-Provence
Bring your tour of Aix to a flourishing conclusion by heading to the Fondation Vasarely (take the no. 2 but to La Rotonde), which was opened in 1976. As with the previous sites, the building itself is a work of art, a mind-boggling collection of 16 hexagonal modular structures whose reflective façade produces a mesmerising light show (guided tours at the weekend). Inside, you can attend concerts, look around the monumental artworks or visit temporary exhibitions (check the programme).
- Catching a show or concert at the Grand Théâtre de Provence or contemporary ballet at the Pavillon Noir
- Stopping for a breather in the courtyard at the Hôtel de Gallifet
- Soaking up the tranquil luxury of the Mazarin district
- 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)
- Visited cities
All year round
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