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 Opposite the Cathedral, on Place de l'Université, the former Faculty of Law (1409) has been replaced by the Institute of Political Studies (IEP).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

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Where to stay

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Located at the west of aix, near by the foundation Vasarely. 67 rooms with double bed or twin bed.

Hôtel B&B Le Tholonet
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Hôtel B&B Le Tholonet

Le Tholonet

A quelques minutes du centre d'Aix-en-Provence en voiture et proche du massif de la Montagne Sainte-Victoire, l'hôtel B&B Aix Le Tholonet se trouve à l'entrée de Palette. Juste à côté des commerces du Domaine de l'Escapade il offre bien-être et accueil personnalisé au meilleur prix, 24…

Les Lodges Sainte-Victoire
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Les Lodges Sainte-Victoire

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Au coeur d'un domaine privé de 5 hectares, entre vignes et oliviers, découvrez l'univers unique d'un hôtel proche d'Aix-en-Provence. A 5 minutes du centre-ville, L'hôtel Les Lodges Sainte-Victoire vous accueille au pied de la montagne Sainte-Victoire qui a tant inspirée Paul Cézanne, dans…

Les Années 50
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Les Années 50

Saint Marc Jaumegarde

Dans une belle bastide du XIXème à seulement 3,5 km d'Aix en Provence, maison proposant un gîte, 2 chambres et 2 suites qui mettent en scène des ambiances uniques, décorées par Cristel, l'artiste de la maison, qui vous fera voyager à travers ses toiles exposées dans toute la maison.…

Le Prieuré
Hotel

Le Prieuré

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

Le Vieux Moulin
Holiday rental

Le Vieux Moulin

Le Tholonet

A 3 km d'Aix en Provence, au Tholonet, T2 de 40m2 sur deux niveaux dans une maison du XVIII ème siècle sur une propriété de 7000m2. Endroit très calme et plein de charme, situé au bord de la rivière face aux vignobles de Château Simone (AOC Palette). La Maison est un ancien moulin à eau…

Rotonde
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Rotonde

Aix en Provence

The rotonde hotel has a very good location in the city centre of Aix en Provence , near the famous " cours Mirabeau" and the bus station. 41 air conditioned standard, comfort, de luxe and family rooms. Comfortable hotelbar and free parking.

Novotel Aix Beaumanoir
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Novotel Aix Beaumanoir

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In the town of the good King Rene, at the crossroads of Cezanne paths, the Novotel Aix en Provence Beaumanoir welcomes you for an overnight or a longer stay. The hotel is located 5 mn away (by car) from the town center. In the Novotel you will feel at home, the welcome and smiles of our team will…

Things to do

Sophie Bourgeix
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Sophie Bourgeix

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Specialised in studio portraits, Sophie Bourgeix welcomes you in the city centre in the Maison de la Photographie d'Aix-en-Provence. Call on Sophie's services for your family portraits, pregnancy or new-born baby photographs, keep a trace of the moments that count, and highlight what you love…

Aix & Co
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Aix & Co

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Aix & Co est une douce boutique remplie de bonnes ondes. Une boutique qui propose des produits made in France et très souvent made in Provence, où l'on peut s'y arrêter boire un thé, café ou jus de fruits détox et y dévorer de délicieuses gourmandises. Le concept store propose également…

13.80
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13.80

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13.80 est une marque de sacs, pochettes, cabas et autres accessoires de mode destinés à la femme moderne chic ou décontractée. La marque propose des articles de style tendance et décontracté, mais également une collection de cabas de ville ou de plage colorée. Création et fabrication…

Mademoiselle Socialite
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Mademoiselle Socialite

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Mademoiselle Socialite (Mélina Carbonaro) est fidèle à ce qu'elle est, exigeante et attachée aux valeurs de qualité, de confection soignée. Chaque modèle est dessiné à la main, le croquis est ensuite travaillé avec une modéliste. C'est un travail à l'ancienne : pas d'ordinateur…

Bijouterie Raynal (Cours Mirabeau)
Fashion / shopping

Bijouterie Raynal (Cours Mirabeau)

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Jewerly store

Maison28
Souvenirs shopping

Maison28

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Decorating shop.

Granet Museum
Cultural place

Granet Museum

Aix en Provence

First opened in 1838, the Granet Museum is one of the region's most important museums, with the "Museum of France” label. It is a real institution in the city of Aix-en-Provence. The museum with a surface area of over 4000 m² gives pride of place to painting and sculpture. Almost 750 works are…

Aix et Terra
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Aix et Terra

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Delicatessen, Food supply store. Jam, tapenade, olive oil, vinegar, wine, teas, truffle specialities and famous recipes from Provence.

Saint-Sauveur cathedral
Monument

Saint-Sauveur cathedral

Aix en Provence

The cathedral was built on the site of a temple to Apollo, so the legend goes, between the 5th to the 18th century. The variety of its architecture is immediately visible on its frontage: to the right, or south, the 12th-century Romanesque gate adjoins a Roman wall, while to the left (north),…

Where to eat

Naruto
Food guide restaurant

Naruto

Aix en Provence

Naruto restaurant serves many sushis, tempuras and yakitoris, prepared with care by our Japanese chef. You will also find okonomiyaki, donburi and ramen, and many original home-made desserts.

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…

Yamato
Food guide restaurant

Yamato

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Koji and Yuriko Someya welcome and introduce you to all the freshness and exceptional finesse of Japanese gastronomy at lunchtime and evenings. In a simple, chic setting, enjoy all the enchantment and magic of Japan. Taste the subtle and refined flavours of a cuisine known for its delicacy. Take…

Fanny's
Cuisine de Provence

Fanny's

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This little Aix restaurant paints a pretty picture, with its bold red front window and its two dashing young owners. One's first impressions are confirmed with a glance at the menu: simple produce (freshly baked bread, local vegetables from a favourite farmer), seasonal dishes, mixed salads,…

La Table du Pigonnet - semi-gastronomic restaurant
Food guide restaurant

La Table du Pigonnet - semi-gastronomic restaurant

Aix en Provence

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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…

Café Le Verdun
Food guide restaurant

Café Le Verdun

Aix en Provence

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Le Bar 1924 - Le Pigonnet
Cuisine de Provence

Le Bar 1924 - Le Pigonnet

Aix en Provence

The new Bar and Bistrot located in the Le Pigonnet hotel offers a cosy and intimate atmosphere, as well as a cognac and cigar lounge. Just step in and sample the cocktails and fine wines in a welcoming setting, with the Chef's generous dishes and conviviality and a menu which changes daily.…

La Tomate verte
Food guide restaurant

La Tomate verte

Aix en Provence

This is a bistro as it ought to be: quick midday deals for busy workers and a more elaborate evening menu for those who wish to truly savour their food. Everyone, however, can enjoy fresh, seasonal produce as part of a menu that changes according to the whims of the local market and which still…

Inspirations

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Lavender

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