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 Opposite the Cathedral, on Place de l'Université, the former Faculty of Law (1409) has been replaced by the Institute of Political Studies (IEP).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

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    Essential Aix-en-Provence

Nearby

  1. Résidence Odalys City Les Floridianes

    Resort

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  2. La Table du Pigonnet - semi-gastronomic restaurant

    Food guide restaurant

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  3. Novotel Aix Beaumanoir

    Hotel

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  4. Hôtel Olympe - A.D.I.J.

    Hotel

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Where to stay

Le Prieuré
Hotel

Le Prieuré

Aix en Provence

Quiet hotel near the city center (2km) with cosy rooms. Free parking.

Appart'hôtel Odalys Atrium
Resort

Appart'hôtel Odalys Atrium

Aix en Provence

Located in an important and dynamic part of the town, near the conference centre and the pedestrian streets of the town centre, this residence welcomes you to its charming and typical Provencal surroundings. A large lobby, breakfast room, meeting room and solarium are here to satisfy the…

Hôtel Le Pigonnet
Hotel

Hôtel 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…

Novotel Aix-en-Provence Pont de l'Arc Fenouillères
Hotel

Novotel Aix-en-Provence Pont de l'Arc Fenouillères

Aix en Provence

Located in a very green area, alongside the Arc river, at the Novotel Aix en Provence, you are in the heart of Provence. The hotel is located 5 km away from the town centre. for business or pleasure, Novotel priorities are your comfort and well being. Garden, swimming-pool, terrace... Private &…

Negrecoste Hotel & Spa
Hotel

Negrecoste Hotel & Spa

Aix en Provence

Located in the city center, in the middle of the famous Cours Mirabeau, the Negrecoste hotel offers 35 air-conditioned rooms with private and secure parking. The rooms are equipped with double glazing, bathroom, television, mini bar, safe, with free WiFi access and NUXE products available. Some…

Ibis Aix en Provence
Hotel

Ibis Aix en Provence

Aix en Provence

Just 1.2 mi (2 km) from Aix-en-Provence city center and 12.4 mi (20 km) from Aix TGV train station, the ibis Aix en Provence hotel is ideally located for tourism, business and sporting trips. It features a Nomad restaurant, opened in April 2015, and offers 124 rooms with Sweet Bed by ibis…

Opéra Rotonde
Holiday rental

Opéra Rotonde

Aix en Provence

The luxury building is ideally located in the heart of Aix-en-Provence, close to the Rotonde and Cours Mirabeau. This location allows to enjoy the charm of the city, its markets, its shops, dynamism of Les Allées Provençales and the Grand Theatre de Provence. Apartment of 45 m2 with a terrace…

Jardin De Marie
B&B

Jardin De Marie

Aix en Provence

The guest house "Le Jardin de Marie" is situated in the Mazarin district, right in the heart of the enchanting town of Aix en Provence well-known and appreciated worldwide for its cultural activities, its shaded streets, its plane-trees and its fountains. The Mediterranean coast and some of the…

La Maison de Sylvianne
Holiday rental

La Maison de Sylvianne

Aix en Provence

In the countryside of Aix-en-Provence, face to fields, but only 5km from the city center, in a quiet environment, the House of Sylvianne is an architect's house with private pool and garden. The gite is adjacent to the owner's house. Qualitative Provencal decoration. On one level, the gîte opens…

Things to do

Granet XXe, collection Jean Planque
Cultural place

Granet XXe, collection Jean Planque

Aix en Provence

The modern art collection at the Granet Museum was considerably expanded in 2010 when the Jean and Suzanne Planque Foundation made a 15-year donation of the Jean Planque collection, named after the Swiss painter and collector, who died in 1998. The collection includes some 300 paintings, drawings…

Expressions - Mr Gertz
Clay - Pottery - Ceramic

Expressions - Mr Gertz

Aix en Provence

Handmade, poteries and paintings, a pretty little shop.

MIA Provence
Craftsman

MIA Provence

Aix en Provence

The first MIA PROVENCE jewellery was created in spring 2016. To begin with the micro-macrame was a means of occupying the mind and hands, but little by little the designer's own models and style began to take shape. Her jewellery is brimming with sun and colours, evoking the colours of…

Fromagerie André Savelli
Shopping gourmand

Fromagerie André Savelli

Aix en Provence

The Savelli cheese shop is located in the heart of Aix en Provence, facing the Richelme Plaza and offers more than a hundred different kinds of cheese, sour cream, fresh eggs ... It is also the only cheese maturing cellar in the city (80 m²).

Edouard et Maëlle
Shopping gourmand

Edouard et Maëlle

Aix en Provence

Edward and Maelle, the ice cream vendors sell cones, sundaes, homemade whipped cream, warm brioche filled with ice cream to enjoy on site or take away. For home tasting or for a gift, Edward and Maelle provide ice creams in verrines and in liquid form (liter or half liter) with your choice of…

Melville
Souvenirs shopping

Melville

Aix en Provence

Melville est une boutique design située au coeur de la Provence qui s'adresse aux particuliers et aux professionnels. Melville propose une offre s'articulant autour de quatre univers : - Les icônes : style néoclassique inspireé par les designers des anneées 40 et 50 - La jeune création :…

Grand Théâtre de Provence
Cultural place

Grand Théâtre de Provence

Aix en 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 orchestra…

Atelier RVB
Craftsman

Atelier RVB

Aix en Provence

Photographer.

Cinéma Renoir
Cultural place

Cinéma Renoir

Aix en Provence

Cinéma Renoir has 3 screens (214, 139 and 87 seats). Disabled facilities: screens 1 and 3 have induction loops for the hard of hearing. Room hire on request. All foreign language films are subtitled in French. The 20 EUR Cinétoile card gives you access to all the town's cinemas and…

Where to eat

Mitch
Food guide restaurant

Mitch

Aix en Provence

Chef serves modern dishes made using fresh produce in Aix-en-Provence old town.

Les caves Henri IV by Le Formal
Food guide restaurant

Les caves Henri IV by Le Formal

Aix en Provence

Despite the extreme discretion of this very refined and hidden-away eatery in Rue Espariat, Jean-Luc Le Formal's reputation went beyond the 15th-century arches of this artist's studio many years back. A colourist of flavours and alchemist of sauces, Jean-Luc juggles cleverly with his produce and…

L'Alcôve
Food guide restaurant

L'Alcôve

Aix en Provence

L'Alcôve serves regional, honest and homely dishes. The menu is updated on a regular basis to bring in seasonal produce. L'Alcôve is housed in a traditional Provencal building in the heart of Aix's old town. The restaurant will win you over with its delicious and beautifully presented dishes…

Vintrépide
Food guide restaurant

Vintrépide

Aix en Provence

Market products and good wine.

Atmosph'R - Renaissance Aix-en-Provence Hôtel
Food guide restaurant

Atmosph'R - 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…

Molène - Mickaël Féval
Food guide restaurant

Molène - Mickaël Féval

Aix en Provence

Mickaël Féval is opening a new specialist fish restaurant. It stands on the site of the former Ze Bistro restaurant (Rue Manuel) at the heart of Aix-en-Provence. The chef is Julien Courtin, who was formerly sous-chef to Mickaël Féval. The restaurant is a homage to Brittany, with a sea- and…

Brasserie Léopold
Food guide restaurant

Brasserie Léopold

Aix en Provence

Discover the Léopold brasserie, with its Provençal specialities and brasserie food. On the ground floor of Hôtel Saint Christophe, the brasserie has meeting rooms and offers study day and conference formulas. Wifi and audiovisual equipment available for customers.

Le Novo
Table 13

Le Novo

Aix en Provence

Just pick a time… A typical French bistro in the morning, Italian-style brasserie at lunchtime and cocktail and tapas bar in the evening, Le Novo, with its high tables, counter, wine racks and club-style neon lighting, changes clothes three times a day as the temperature rises and the…

Les vieilles canailles
Food guide restaurant

Les vieilles canailles

Aix en Provence

Opened on a pedestrian street, this brand new restaurant in the heart of Aix-en-Provence is a den of epicureans. Authentic French bistro, Les Vieilles Canailles offers gourmet, simple and local cuisine, a rigorous selection of wines, all in a warm atmosphere. A true lover of the Product,…

Inspirations

Squash

Squash

The Gourmet's New Eldorado

It had all but disappeared from the markets, but then – perhaps as a result of Halloween arriving in France – squash made a big comeback on our stalls just over a decade ago

The accent

The accent

Art de vivre

The accent: our identity

Christmas in Provence and 'Santon' Figurines

Christmas in Provence and 'Santon' Figurines

Tradition

Christmas festivities, culture and tradition in the land of the 'Santon' figurine

The Cagole

The Cagole

Art de vivre

Translation our version of the Essex girl…

Serving tourism

Provence Tourisme est une association loi 1901. Sa mission, confiée par le Département : promouvoir le tourisme dans les Bouches-du-Rhône dans le respect de l’environnement et des habitants et garantir aux visiteurs un accueil de qualité.

The best of the destination

En accord avec les aspirations et les goûts de chacun, Provence Tourisme propose d’incontournables valeurs sûres comme des conseils pour sortir des sentiers battus, grâce à sa connaissance profonde du terrain et de par sa neutralité commerciale.