Old Town

Aix en Provence - Site

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 Opposite the Cathedral, on Place de l'Université, the former Faculty of Law (1409) has been replaced by the Institute of Political Studies (IEP).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

Website
Bons Plans

Ne passez plus pour un touriste ! explorez les Bouches-du-Rhônes comme un local...

Discover

Nearby

  1. Naruto

    Food guide restaurant

    Read more
  2. Novotel Aix-en-Provence Pont de l'Arc Fenouillères

    Hotel

    Read more
  3. Concorde

    Hotel

    Read more
  4. Campanile Aix-en-Provence Sud - Pont de l'Arc - Gril

    Cuisine de Provence

    Read more

Where to stay

Villa Gallici
Hotel

Villa Gallici

Aix en Provence

This country house overlooking Aix is bathed in the soft Provençal light so often depicted by Cézanne. Set amidst an elegant Florentine garden, where cypress trees are reflected in a luxurious pool, it offers sumptuous rooms with terraces and private gardens. Linger over an aperitif in the…

Hôtel Cézanne
Hotel

Hôtel Cézanne

Aix en Provence

Ancient mansion fully renovated in 2008, first "boutique hotel" in Aix en Provence. The hotel is situated in the most enthralling part of the city center. Upon your arrival our team will welcome you with their great dynamism. As soon as your booking is confirmed our E-Concierge will contact you…

Hotel du Moulin de la Pioline
Hotel

Hotel du Moulin de la Pioline

Aix en Provence

Located in Les Milles, Hotel du Moulin de la Pioline is 5 km from the centre of Aix-en-Provence. All of the rooms feature a carpeted floor, a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a desk. Each room also includes a private bathroom with a shower and a bath.

Mme et M. LOUBIERE
B&B

Mme et M. LOUBIERE

Meyreuil

Villa Valbelle : An oasis of calm, only 3 km from the center of Aix-en-Provence. Situated at the edge of a pine forest, with magnificent views of Mount Sainte-Victoire, come and discover the charms of Villa Valbelle. The perfect place from which to visit Aix-en-Provence the city of Cézanne,…

Bastide Sainte-Marie
Holiday rental

Bastide Sainte-Marie

Aix en Provence

On the heights of Aix-en-Provence, with a magnificent view on the city of Aix-en-Provence and the surrounding hills, bastide of XVIIIth century on 4000 m² land. Private pool overlooking the mount Sainte Victoire.On the ground floor: dining room with high ceiling and stucco decorations.Fully…

Ibis Styles Aix-en-Provence Mas des Oliviers
Hotel

Ibis Styles Aix-en-Provence Mas des Oliviers

Aix en Provence

Located west Aix, 10mn drive to city center. Open 24h/24h. 63 air conditioned rooms with view on the garden. Free closed parking. The restaurant "Le Mas des Oliviers" is air conditioned and there is a shaded outside where you eat a good provençal meal. If you drink a bottle of wine, we offer…

Le Pigonnet
Hotel

Le Pigonnet

Aix en Provence

Le Pigonnet is a delightful upmarket hotel a step or two away from the centre of Aix-en-Provence. This elegant former Provençal bastide combines 18th century refinement with a contemporary style to provide guests with a relaxing experience in an environment of luxury and serenity. In a refined…

Kyriad Prestige
Hotel

Kyriad Prestige

Aix en Provence

The comfort of a 3-star hotel with restaurant with all the necessary amenities for work and leisure. The staff at Kyriad Prestige Aix en Provence welcomes you 24h/24, in French, English, Italian and Spanish Located at 5mn drive to the west of the cours Mirabeau, when entering you will immediately…

Hôtel des quatre Dauphins
Hotel

Hôtel des quatre Dauphins

Aix en Provence

The attractive privately-run Hôtel des Quatre Dauphins, a former private mansion, will be pleased to welcome you in a warm and peaceful atmosphere. Situated in the center of Aix-en Provence, in the Mazarin district, it is a mere stone's throw away from the four Dolphin Fountain and the famous…

Things to do

PcM Création
Craftsman

PcM Création

Aix en Provence

Lamps and decorative eco-design objects made of linen or burlap. Made in France by hand.

Saint-Jean de Malte Church
Monument

Saint-Jean de Malte Church

Aix en Provence

The fortified church owes its name to the Knights of Saint-John of Jerusalem. Built outside the ramparts in the 13th century, this was the first Gothic construction in Provence. It used to contain the graves of the Counts of Provence in its side chapels. Next to the church, palais de Malte,…

La Fibule
Craftsman

La Fibule

Aix en Provence

La Fibule is a studio-boutique opened in 2013 by Dominique Valdman, a former bricklayer who swapped his trowel for a sewing machine. Dominique Valdman makes leather belts before your eyes, as well as designer items such as bags, hats or gloves.

Brûlerie Richelme
Fashion / shopping

Brûlerie Richelme

Aix en Provence

La brûlerie Richelme est plus qu'une boutique c'est un rendez vous, un rituel quotidien. Torréfaction du café sur place avec une carte qui offre 15 à 20 variétés, issues des meilleurs terroirs du monde, en origines pures. Le thé tient aussi une grande place dans ce lieu avec 140…

Elsa Barois
Craftsman

Elsa Barois

Aix en Provence

Elsa Barois is a designer of bespoke wedding gowns. Each dress is unique, to ensure it corresponds to the morphology and personality of each of her customers. All of her creations are made in her studio in Aix-en-Provence. A graduate of the ESMOD fashion school, she is also an image consultant.…

Les Savonneries du Soleil
Fashion / shopping

Les Savonneries du Soleil

Aix en Provence

Les Savonneries Du Soleil store is located in the old center of Aix-en-Provence a few steps from the Hotel de Ville's place. The brand offers traditional Marseille soap in all its forms and natural cosmetics.

Rose et Marius
Fashion / shopping

Rose et Marius

Aix en Provence

A stone's throw from Place Verdun, Place Prêcheurs and Place Madeleine, discover a unique place in Aix-en-Provence: the country house of Rose and Marius. Stroll around the winter garden where you can make up your bespoke box of engraved bars of soap, relax in the lounge or perfume salon to…

Librairie Jeunesse Oh ! Les Papilles
Fashion / shopping

Librairie Jeunesse Oh ! Les Papilles

Aix en Provence

Bookstore

Le temps des cerises
Fashion / shopping

Le temps des cerises

Aix en Provence

Ready-to-wear for men

Where to eat

Campanile Aix-en-Provence Sud - Pont de l'Arc - Gril
Cuisine de Provence

Campanile Aix-en-Provence Sud - Pont de l'Arc - Gril

Aix en Provence

Five minutes from the city centre, on the banks of the Arc river, enjoy the restaurant's tranquillity and traditional cuisine with unlimited buffets. The restaurant was renovated in March 2011.

Jacquou Le Croquant
Food guide restaurant

Jacquou Le Croquant

Aix en Provence

Step behind the mouth-watering, vintage window and dive into the rustic, arched stone cellars to take a bite out of south-wastern France! Antonia regales her guests with cassoulet, confits, magret and foie gras… And as all the local goose fans know, Antonia also sells a succulent range of…

Le Mas d'Entremont
Food guide restaurant

Le Mas d'Entremont

Aix en Provence

Nestled in 7,5 acres park with ponds and fountains, the Mas d'Entremont restaurant offers a cuisine always prepared with fresh, quality products coming from known producers. The use of seasonal products influences the types and preparation of dishes. The Marignane family and his team will…

Café Le Verdun
Food guide restaurant

Café Le Verdun

Aix en Provence

Traditional brasserie food with a Provençal flavour: Monkfish stew ("bourride"), meat stew, aioli, red mullet fillet with tapenade, leg of lamb, steak tartare.

Pierre Reboul
Food guide restaurant

Pierre Reboul

Aix en Provence

Michelin starred chef Pierre Reboul has left his gourmet restaurant in the center of Aix-en-Provence to open a new one in the heart of the Château La Pioline in a cozy and modern atmosphere. His peculiar cuisine and the best fresh seasonal products from the region and elsewhere.

Le Riad
Food guide restaurant

Le Riad

Aix en Provence

This Moroccan restaurant is in the historic centre of Aix-en-Provence, between the Town Hall and the Rotonde fountain, near Cours Mirabeau. It is inside the former Cordeliers Abbey, a listed historical monument, which adds its charm to the already refined, discreet oriental decor. In summer, eat…

Grenache
Food guide restaurant

Grenache

Aix en Provence

Situé aux abords du centre-ville, ce restaurant a été ouvert par le célèbre Pierre Chatelain, connu pour son premier restaurant "l'Alcôve" (lui aussi implanté à Aix-en-Provence). Outre sa salle, il possède une terrasse, qui en été, à l'ombre des platanes, sera certainement la…

Le Comptoir du Clos - Renaissance Aix-en-Provence Hôtel
Food guide restaurant

Le Comptoir du Clos - Renaissance Aix-en-Provence Hôtel

Aix en Provence

Le chef Arnaud Davin avait envie de "France" : de retour des îles, il arrivet en Provence pour reprendre la brasserie chic du tout nouveau cinq étoiles aixois, le Mariott Renaissance. Au « Comptoir », bistrot au décor chic - bois sombre, banquettes design et suspensions glamour -, des…

L'Epicurien
Food guide restaurant

L'Epicurien

Aix en Provence

Its one bad point? Too small! This raw and cosy bistro is where talented chef Ludovic Aillaud delivers up inspired dishes made with high-quality produce, ever-faithful to his philosophy of enjoying life to the full. This modest man has a nose for good food. The service is fast, the menu is lively…

Inspirations

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.

The MEDITERRANEAN SEA

The MEDITERRANEAN SEA

Lifestyle

When we talk about the South of France, what's the first thing we think of? The MEDITERRANEAN SEA! (and the sun of course – it's all part of the package).

The Feria

The Feria

Tradition

The Feria, more than just a bull fiesta!

Sardines

Sardines

Terroir

This summer fish is the stuff both legends and dishes are made of