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 Opposite the Cathedral, on Place de l'Université, the former Faculty of Law (1409) has been replaced by the Institute of Political Studies (IEP).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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    La vieille ville d'Aix-en-Provence, ses places et ses hôtels particuliers
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    Essential Aix-en-Provence

Nearby

  1. Hôtel de France

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  2. Le Vieux Moulin

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  3. Les caves Henri IV by Le Formal

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  4. Le Bar 1924 - Le Pigonnet

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Where to stay

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…

Château de la Pioline
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Château de la Pioline

Aix en Provence

Our hotel is surrounded by a green and shaded park of 4 acres, with a free private car-park, a 24/24 reception desk and concierge. The Castle building dates back of 16th century and has been fully renovated in 2011 and propose a full respect of the historic place but blended with a contemporary…

La Mule
Holiday rental

La Mule

Aix en Provence

Soyez les bienvenus au coeur du centre historique d'Aix-en-Provence. Vous êtes à moins d'une minute à pied du célèbre Cours Mirabeau, au calme absolu et pourtant dans un quartier très vivant avec ses cafés, ses restaurants, ses monuments et à quelques centaines de mètres du musée…

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…

Villa Gallici
Hotel

Villa Gallici

Aix en Provence

In Cezanne's homeland, the Villa Gallici Hotel is an 18th century Provençal residence that is part of the Relais & Châteaux network. There you will find a wide range of top-quality services, a gastronomic restaurant featured in all the main guides and a shaded 3-hectare garden with a pool where…

Aparthotel Adagio
Resort

Aparthotel Adagio

Aix en Provence

The beautiful residence which combines style and comfort has a privilege location in the heart of the city. Pierre & Vacances City is situated nearby the great fountain "la Rotonde" and the famous Cours Mirabeau. At your disposal : laundrette, indoor car park on charge. Bar and restaurant close by.

Boutique Hôtel Cézanne
Hotel

Boutique Hôtel Cézanne

Aix en Provence

At the heart of Aix-en-Provence, Le Cézanne is a charming 4-star boutique hotel with 55 rooms. Here we share the art of Provençal living with our guests. The light-filled rooms with their original decoration are real Mediterranean gems. They were renovated in 2019. You can choose between…

Lodge N°3 Le Verger
Holiday rental

Lodge N°3 Le Verger

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Villa de luxe, 3 chambres avec piscine privée.

Résidence Odalys City Les Floridianes
Resort

Résidence Odalys City Les Floridianes

Aix en Provence

The 4-star tourist residence Les Floridianes contains 4 apartments for 4 people and 58 studio flats for 2 people, all with air-conditioning. The residence has a private underground car park and an outdoor swimming pool (April to October). It is located 400 metres from the town centre. Les…

Things to do

Chewö Couture concept store
Fashion / shopping

Chewö Couture concept store

Aix en Provence

Chewö Couture concept store is more than just a shop, it is a way of life, an art of living, a real place to live. The store concept consists of several parts: - Point of sale of unique creations and limited series - Creation and manufacture of custom parts with workshops available on site. -…

The place of albertas
Site

The place of albertas

Aix en Provence

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…

[Closed until further notice ] Espace Jeunesse theater
Cultural place

[Closed until further notice ] Espace Jeunesse theater

Aix en Provence

Theatre specifically for young people – shows all year round. The theatre has 108 seats (formerly called Théâtre 108), 1 stage and 2 boxes.

Aix'prit vélo
Outdoor leisure

Aix'prit vélo

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Aixprit Vélo provides mountain bikes, all-terrain bikes, electric bikes, road bikes (ultra-light carbon) and tandems for hire from 3 Euros per hour. Ages 8 and over (Kids Friendly). Delivery upon request. Organisation of group hikes and rides, mountain bike trails for all levels of expertise…

Poulette
Craftsman

Poulette

Aix en Provence

In France, Poulette is a term of endearment a woman may use for one of her girlfriends. The brand was created in 2014 with this idea in mind. Handmade jewellery in a minimal, understated universe, inspired by friendships established over the years. After having worked for 10 years in…

MIA Provence
Craftsman

MIA Provence

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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…

Théâtre Les Gazelles
Cultural place

Théâtre Les Gazelles

Aix en Provence

Théâtre Les Gazelles hosts an all-round schedule and free year-round workshops for students and beginners who want to experience the joys of acting and the stage and/or experienced visitors who want to expand their knowledge and stage work. Weekly workshops are available and run by theatre…

Le Petit Bistrot
Bar / café

Le Petit Bistrot

Aix en Provence

In the heart of the city, on Place des Augustins, Le Petit Bistrot is open every day serving a wide variety of open sandwiches, tarts, salads and traditional cuisine.

Maison Brémond 1830
Shopping gourmand

Maison Brémond 1830

Aix en Provence

Provencal products

Where to eat

Restaurant Les Inséparables
Food guide restaurant

Restaurant Les Inséparables

Aix en Provence

Christophe (Chef de cuisine/co-gérant) et Mathias (second de cuisine/associé) mettront tout en oeuvre pour régaler autant vos papilles que vos yeux avec une cuisine gastronomique de produits frais. Mathieu (Responsable de salle/co-gérant) quant à lui sera là pour vous accueillir et tout…

Bastide du Cours
Food guide restaurant

Bastide du Cours

Aix en Provence

Ideally located on Cours Mirabeau in the heart of Aix en Provence, La Bastide du Cours provides a wonderfully warm and relaxed setting. As for the food, our chef, Charly Valdez and his team invite you to travel....his creative cuisine is inspired by flavours from all over the world, blended with…

Pointe Noire
Food guide restaurant

Pointe Noire

Aix en Provence

Le Bar A Mets is a modern and social setting that has a brasserie, wine and tapas bar feel. The Mazzia brothers wanted to open a bar with local roots and direct links with local producers and artisans. Pointe-Noire, in tribute to their native town in the Congo, is a minimalist monochrome…

Mickaël Féval
Food guide restaurant

Mickaël Féval

Aix en Provence

Nouveau décor "très chic" pour nouveau départ : formé aux plus grandes maisons françaises (Loiseau, Oger, Plaza Athénée...), Mickaël Féval, 40 ans, a repris l'ancien repaire gourmand du chef étoilé Pierre Reboul, parti pour d'autres aventures. Le chef a vite trouvé ses marques : son…

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…

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…

Villa Gallici
Food guide restaurant

Villa Gallici

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A few minutes' walk from the historic centre, this luxury 18th-century Provençal house offers 17 bedrooms and 6 suites, all air-conditioned and individually decorated with LED TV, mini bar and safe. Gourmet restaurant, specialities: Provençal stuffed vegetables, courgette fritters in summer.…

Le Poivre d'Ane
Food guide restaurant

Le Poivre d'Ane

Aix en Provence

On Place des Cardeurs at the heart of the old town, in a dynamic and warm decor with a 1970s feel, the Le Poivre d'Ane restaurant provides diners with an inventive, daring cuisine. A lovely terrace bordered with bamboo awaits you in fine weather so you can make the most of the long summer evenings.

Le Garde Manger
Cuisine de Provence

Le Garde Manger

Aix en Provence

300m² café on the site of the long-defunct Bistrot Aixois. New York feel with a cosy first floor lounge. Available to hire for meetings or seminars. Le Garde-Manger serves cake and warm pastries for breakfast from 7.30am. It serves hot dishes and salads of the day for lunch that are made on…

Inspirations

Candied Fruit

Candied Fruit

A gourmet treat…

Provence has been famed for its candied fruit from time immemorial. In the early 16th century, the region was fairly impoverished. Fruit grew here in abundance, but much of it was lost every year.

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The herbs de Provence

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'Herbes de Provence', the perfume of our sun-baked hills...

The accent

The accent

Art de vivre

The accent: our identity