Aix's museums and art centres

Culture

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).

Can't-miss experiences

  • 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

We love

  • 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)
  • Theme

    Culture

  • Duration

    1 day

  • Visited cities

  • Ideal for

    All year round

Discover other itineraries

Essential Aix-en-Provence

What can you do in a day in Aix-en-Provence? The answer is in this tour which combines history and Provençal art de vivre. A good place to start is the town's farmers market which sells nothing but fresh produce. Follow this with a tour of the charming old town with its atlantes and decorative wrought-iron before wandering along Cours Mirabeau and its fountains. After stopping for lunch at Mickael Féval's gourmet restaurant, anyone who loves art and architecture should head to the Mazarin district for its sumptuous mansions and the Granet Museum. After that, you'll be ready to escape to the peace and calm around Mount Sainte-Victoire. Let's go!Cruise lovers absolutely cannot miss this essential landmark just 30 minutes from Marseille!

Marseille Préfecture by Les Marseillaises

If you want to find the elegant, laid back atmosphere of Paris’s left bank, you should take the time to stroll through the "Antiquairer district", which stretches from the Préfecture (Administrative offices) to the rue Edmond Rostand and passes the rue Paradis. Tucked away from the crowds in the town’s main shopping area, you will no doubt find that perfect souvenir in the new shops and delicatessens.

Flavours of Provence

Gourmets and foodies from all over flock to Provence which has assembled all the ingredients for an exciting culinary journey. In this part of the world, the vineyards along the Cassis wine route graze the Mediterranean Sea. In Aix-en-Provence, the almond scent of calisson sweets mingles with the orange blossom of Navettes de Marseille biscuits. Rouille brings colour to bowls of bouillabaisse while olive oil made in the Alpilles is a staple on every table! Not to forget rice and meat from Camargue. A gourmet tour of Provence promises an epicurean feast.

Inspirations

The cicada

The cicada

The sun's rays are warming you through the pine trees, but you will not know if the summer is here until you hear THE CICADAS!

Figs

Figs

Francis lived happily close beside his tree...

Picked ripe from the tree, figs are simply to die for. They can also be scattered on trays and left to dry in the sun for 3 days: "That's the best way to keep your figs all winter – we serve figs at Christmas as one of Provence's famous 13 Desserts," smiles Jacqueline Honoré.

Lights, Camera, Action! Provence and the Movies

Lights, Camera, Action! Provence and the Movies

The history of cinema in Provence dates back many years. And similarly to the region's artistic hall of fame, it was inspired by light...

As you may know, the very first moving picture was screened by the Lumière brothers ('Lumière' meaning 'light') on September 21st, 1895 in La Ciotat.

La pétanque

La pétanque

This sport (yes, Pétanque is a sport, but we'll talk about that later) is an intrinsic part of life in Marseille and has been from generation to generation!

Every quarter has its own boules court and/or boules association, including, of course, a watering hole...