Aix-en-Provence - Cultural place
During your stay in Aix en Provence you will be invited to travel in time. Your steps will take you to an outstanding architectural and cultural heritage. Keep your eyes open: the city's treasures can be seen at every crossroads.
To the north of the city, Bourg Saint Sauveur occupies the site of the ancient Roman city. It extends from the Cathedral to the Clock Tower (Town Hall). A few streets have kept evocative names, such as rue Esquicho Coudo, a narrow passageway dating from the Middle Ages.
The remains of the mediaeval ramparts are visible, at the top of rue Jacques de la Roque (to the right of rue des Guerriers). Further down, on the site of the Roman Sextius Baths, excavations have revealed a Roman thermal pool which you can see at the entrance to the hydrotherapy spa. Opposite the Cathedral, on Place de l'Université, the former Faculty of Law (1409) has been replaced by the Institute of Political Studies (IEP). The Palais de l'Université, rebuilt by Georges Vallon in 1734, proudly announces its official function.
Adjoining the Cathedral, the former palace of the archbishops of Aix en Provence encloses the square created in the mid-18th century (now Place des Martyrs de la Résistance). With their ecclesiastical and political power, these princes of the Church wanted a residence worthy of their rank. The present buildings were constructed between 1650 and 1730, and the gate is attributed to the sculptor Toro.
On the first floor is the Tapestry Museum. Since 1948, the court of the Archbishop's Palace has hosted the main events of the Festival of Lyric Art, held during July.
Rue Gaston de Saporta goes down to the town hall and the belfry. Hôtel Maynier d'Oppède, at No.23, belonged to a famous Parliamentary family. Rebuilt in 1730 by the architect Georges Vallon and the sculptor Chastel, it is now the Institute of French Studies for Foreign Students. Its courtyard is used for concerts in June and July every year.
At No.19 is Hôtel de Châteaurenard, built in 1650. Famous as the house where the young Louis XIV stayed during his visit to Provence in 1660, it has a magnificent staircase, decorated with trompe-l'oeil paintings by Jean Daret.
At No.17 Rue Gaston de Saporta, in Hôtel d’Estienne de Saint Jean built by Vallon (1652-1724), the Museum of Old Aix contains reminders of Aix's past. Further down, past the belfry, you are in the former City of the Counts. The Episcopal City and the City of the Counts were in fact separated by ramparts in the Middle Ages. This is the oldest part of the centre of Aix. The streets are now pedestrian and full of shops, the perfect place for a stroll.
The city's old belfry, the symbol of civic power, straddles the street on Roman bases. It was raised in 1510, and contains an astronomical clock (1661) whose four wooden statues can still be seen: they symbolise the seasons, and appear in turn.
On the square, created in the 18th century, the fountain built by the sculptor Chastel is topped with a Roman column at its centre. It is overlooked by the Town Hall (1655-1670) with its Italian-style frontage, carved wooden doors, and the inner courtyard, whas stood since the 14th century at the foot of the Clock Tower, the city's old belfry with its astronomical clock (1661) on which statues representing the four seasons appear in turn.
On the same square the Corn Exchange, built by the architects Vallon in the 18th century (1759-1761), recalls the importance of the wheat trade at the time. The north frontage is crowned with an allegorical pediment by Chastel, representing the sources of farming prosperity in Provence: the Rhône and Durance rivers. The south side, giving on to Place Richelme, has a wealth of decorative motifs related to the function of the building: fruit, grain and olives. The fountain, also by Chastel, is topped with a Roman column. A fruit and vegetable market is held here every morning.
Behind the town hall is Place des Cardeurs. It was created in 1963 on the site of an insalubrious area, which was the Jewish quarter in the Middle Ages, and is now dotted with the terraces of cafes and restaurants. It is lined with fine, renovated period houses, and enhanced with a fountain created in 1977 by the Aix artist Jean Amado.
Leaving the Town Hall and going down towards Place d’Albertas, you will see Hôtel d'Arbaud (1670) in rue du Maréchal Foch, with its door supported by two Atlases, a frequent theme in the Aix decoration of the 17th and 18th centuries. Further down, at No.13 rue Aude, Hôtel de Peyroneti (1625) with its embossed decor looks just like a palace of the Italian Renaissance.
You now reach Place d’Albertas. This enchanting square was created in 1745 by the Marquis Jean Baptiste d'Albertas, who had the houses opposite his mansion demolished. The vast mansion, altered in 1724, and the square with its Rococo decor, are the work of the Vallons (father and son) who used as their inspiration the style of the royal squares in Paris. In the centre, the fountain with its cast-iron basin dates from 1912.
Next to it is Hôtel Boyer d’Eguilles, built of stone from the Bibémus quarries near Sainte-Victoire mountain. The Natural History Museum is now on the first floor of the building.
You have now reached the Law Courts (Palais de Justice). Formerly the home of the sovereigns of Provence, the Parliament, the Treasury and the Court of Auditors, the old courts were demolished at the close of the 18th century, at the same time as the surrounding district. The architect Ledoux designed a new complex to replace them, but the Revolution prevented its construction. Between 1825 and 1832, Penchaud built the Law Courts and the prison on Ledoux’ foundations. The former prison was converted in 1998 and is an integral part of the new legal centre it now houses the Court of Appeal, the present Palais Monclar.
Just next to it is the Church of La Madeleine, formerly the Preachers' Monastery (Dominicans), which was set up as early as 1274 and entirely rebuilt between 1691 and 1703 by Laurent Vallon who named it the Church of La Madeleine. Within its 19th-century walls this church-museum contains many works by artists who lived in Aix.
Information provided by OT Aix en Provence
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Where to stay
This attractive guest establishment teeming with Provençal charm, oleander, terraces and parasols, is an open invitation to extend summer and holidays. With its ideal location in town, Le Mozart is the perfect starting point to set out on a discovery tour of Old Aix (free outside parking,…
Economic hotel very well located, at 50m from the old city nearby Opera Festival, market and the Thermes. A shaded garden for your leisure, where you can have your breakfast during summertime. Public car park "pasteur" 50 metres away. Free parking for motocycles. No pets. Free WIFI, and TV in…
Le Juvenal - N° 4015
Logement temporaire : transition professionnelle, formation, tourisme ... Appartement situé à 5 minutes de la Rotonde et à 3 minutes à pied des Allées Provençales connues pour leurs boutiques. Ce logement propose une cuisine ouverte, rénovée et équipée (lave-vaisselle, four à…
Aix En Provence
Le bien est composé d'un salon et d'un coin cuisine équipée : plaque induction, micro-ondes, réfrigérateur, four, lave-vaisselle, lave linge, hotte, bouilloire Nespresso, vaisselle. Egalement d'une chambre, 1 salle d'eau avec WC et douche italienne, 1 canapé lit en 140 dans le salon, draps…
Domaine de Saint Clair
City of water and arts, Aix-en-Provence beautifully showcases the world-renowned Provençal way of life. The Property is ideally placed, offering you the peace of the countryside of Aix together with a view of the magnificent landscapes immortalised by Cezanne, Picasso... and close to the…
GITE DE LA MARGUERITE - N° 2494
Dans la campagne aixoise, à 4 km du centre ville et de ses attraits touristiques, maison indépendante de plain-pied de 50 m² climatisée à la décoration soignée et agréable. Grand séjour/salon avec 1 canapé convertible/2 pers. Cuisine américaine équipée. 1 CH avec 1 lit/2 pers.…
Right in full heart of the old Aix-en-Provence, at the feet of the old city, Sextius thermal baths and the Fitness center. medieval fortifications. Attached to the This modern establishment consists of 108 rooms Provence oriented decoration. Bathroom equipped with a bath-tub, independent toilets,…
In an heaven of peace, enjoy the sweetness of life at 2 km of the town center. A park of 8 hectares located in Aix en Provence in the heart of Provence. Equipped with swimming pool, bowling pitch, beach volley, ping pong table, playground for kids, restaurant / snack, laundry / TV room, WIFI…
Hôtel de France
In the heart of Aix en Provence, the "Hotel de France" will offer you all the enjoyments of an old charming place ideally located in the historic center of the city. At less than 50 meters of the famous Rotunda's fountain, in a parrallel street of the famous "Cours Mirabeau", you will be able…
Things to do
The place of albertas
In the 18th century the Albertas were one of the city's leading families. In 1724, Henri Rainaud d'Albertas instructed Laurent Vallon to design the frontage and entrance of his private mansion. To create an open outlook, between 1735 and 1741 he bought the houses opposite and had them…
Atelier Polychrome provides a very wide range of picture frames in all styles - baroque, gold, silver, colourful, contemporary and modern, as well as gilding and patina work made in the workshop. We also provide a wide range of engravings, drawings and watercolours by a wide selection of…
La main, la tête et le coeur travaillent ensemble avec les quatre éléments naturels, pour donner naissance à des objets uniques. La terre est la matière première utilisée, on la gorge d'eau pour la travailler, puis l'air se charge de la faire sécher, avant qu'elle soit cuite au feu ou au…
La Corbeille d'Orient
La Corbeille d'Orient, a family firm in the city centre, organises a culinary journey based on good food and exotic flavours. Spice baskets, seeds and couscous will take you thousands of miles away from Aix-en-Provence. The store has a brand of tea called "Infinitytea" with over 70 varieties and…
Le Glam Lab propose une sélection pointue d'accessoires de jeunes créateurs. Les bijoux Miss Pompon, les robes, jupes et pulls Grace and Mila, les sacs en cuir recyclé Soruka ... De Amélie Blaise en passant par RAS, toutes les marques présentées dans la boutique reflètent la féminité.
Golf d'Aix-en-Provence - Set Club
A few minutes from the centre of Aix en Provence, Set Golf stands in one of the loveliest leafy sites of the Aix countryside. 18-hole course, green fee (9 and 18 holes), practice green, individual lessons and golf school (from age 6). Hire of caddies and carts. Architect Ronald Fream…
Bars - Hôtel le Pigonnet
A Lounge Club with a cosy atmosphere in the Le Pigonnet Hotel. In fine weather, come and enjoy the Le 5 lounge bar, at the heart of the hotel gardens, with a 320 m2 teak wood terrace, a central bar and six soundproofed tents. Original cocktails, a selection of Champagnes and tapas are served…
Grand Théâtre de Provence
The statement Grand Théâtre de Provence (GTP) designed by the architect Vittorio Gregotti is an icon of 21st century architecture. The habitable open-space is inhabited inside and has fuelled Aix-en-Provence's expansion: - a show room with modular capacity (1259-1366 seats) - an…
Where to eat
Prima Pasta restaurant has been treating clients to countless pasta dishes and homemade desserts since 1999. The owner Christophe Manzi would love you to sample his grandma's recipes that he still makes for the restaurant's patrons. The restaurant has a large terrace on Place des Cardeurs.
Le grenier de grand-mère
Le grenier de chez grand-mère serves Provencal home cooking using fresh produce in a warm and friendly setting just minutes from Cours Sextius, Les Allées and Cours Mirabeau. The menu features veal stew, tuna tartare, rabbit stew, pan-fried veal and hand-cut beef tartare. The restaurant also…
Le Patio is a lovely eatery serving Mediterranean dishes with honest flavours. An Italian courtyard, vintage feel, covered or al fresco dining, where the laundry has just dried...In the dining room, a social communal table or more private armchairs... On the walls, large blackboards present the…
Aux petits oignons
The "Petits Oignons" restaurant downtown offers authentic handmade Hamburger. Carnivore or Vegetarian, to everyone's liking. For dessert, find delicious cookies and cheesecake of incomparable taste. Meals cooked with love, using quality ingredients. Take out or stay on the terrace, enjoy an…
La Fromagerie du Passage
Food and wine pairing. Fromagerie du Passage offers a menu with ten cheese-based dishes, every lunchtime from Monday to Saturday between 12 noon and 3pm, and in the evening from 6pm to 9pm. Terrace upstairs with air-conditioned room. La Fromagerie du Passage has about 80 varieties of cheese…
Outlet serving fresh, homemade and vegetarian dishes. Falafel pitta speciality (sandwich served in a pitta bread with all sorts of fancy fillings: vegan falafels, a dozen types of vegetable sticks, houmous and a creamy sesame sauce). Meat-based dishes are also available. Wide range of…