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 Opposite the Cathedral, on Place de l'Université, the former Faculty of Law (1409) has been replaced by the Institute of Political Studies (IEP).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

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  2. La Table du Pigonnet - semi-gastronomic restaurant

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  3. Le Contrepoint

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  4. Hôtel Rotonde

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Where to stay

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…

Campanile Aix Ouest - Jas de Bouffan
Hotel

Campanile Aix Ouest - Jas de Bouffan

Aix en Provence

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

Hôtel B&B Le Tholonet
Hotel

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…

Caravelle
Hotel

Caravelle

Aix en Provence

In Aix town centre welcome to the 2-star La Caravelle Hotel in the Mazarin district, a step or two away from the historic town centre, from Cours Mirabeau, the Granet Museum and the Caumont Art Centre. Our charm-filled hotel with its pure and simple decoration has 30 rooms and a light-filled…

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 Paillere
Holiday rental

La Paillere

Le Tholonet

Dans un cadre enchanteur, en bordure de l'exceptionnelle route Cézanne, au calme à seulement 3 km d'Aix en Provence : studios et T1 à louer (Meublé de tourisme 3 étoiles).

Hôtel en Ville
Hotel

Hôtel en Ville

Aix en Provence

This charming hotel offers ten modern & spacious rooms with open space, all air conditionned. The last renovated property of the hotels in Aix-en-Provence, with view on the old town, the cathedral and a public park just nearby. You are welcome in a lounge bar or brasserie where you can have a…

Hôtel du Globe
Hotel

Hôtel du Globe

Aix en Provence

This hotel is situated in the centre of the old town, near by the "Therms". The style is modern, it's a comfortable and charm hotel. There is a terrace on the roof. Private garage. You may ask for avalaibility. No smoking etablishment

[Closed until further notice] Hôtel des Augustins
Hotel

[Closed until further notice] Hôtel des Augustins

Aix en Provence

Just a few yards away from Cours Mirabeau, near the museums, theatres, shops and restaurants, the 3-star Hotel des Augustins is a site filled with history, combining modernity and serenity at the heart of Aix-en-Provence. The lobby (a converted 15th century chapel) and the 28 comfortable rooms…

Things to do

Aix & Co
Fashion / shopping

Aix & Co

Aix en Provence

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…

Calissoun
Greed, Greediness

Calissoun

Aix en Provence

Sale of calissons. The calisson is an exclusive speciality of Aix. Come and watch them being made, by appointment. We are at the Aix market every day except Sunday.

[ Closed until further notice ] Cezanne cinema
Cultural place

[ Closed until further notice ] Cezanne cinema

Aix en Provence

Cinéma Le Cézanne provides 1539 seats and 9 screens for the general public. Disabled facilities: all screens have induction loops for the hard of hearing and 3 screens (n° 3, 4 et 5) have wheelchair access via the lift. Films in French (VF) and original version (VO). Special screenings for…

Locbateau
Nautical leisure

Locbateau

Aix en Provence

Locbateau propose des balades en bateau privé avec skipper dans les iles et les calanques. Le départ peut se faire à partir du rond-point de la rotonde pour les personnes non véhiculées. Le bateau est équipé d'une glacière électrique et d'une sono bluetooth et il y a également la…

Maison Brémond 1830
Shopping gourmand

Maison Brémond 1830

Aix en Provence

Provencal products

Chez Mus
Bar / café

Chez Mus

Aix en Provence

The brasserie on Place de l'Hôtel de Ville has a lovely sun-soaked setting. Sports fans and rugby lovers flock here for pre-dinner drinks. Good times guaranteed! The chic décor creates a cosy feel: flat-screen TV, grey slate flooring, stone walls, cool bar stools and a bull's head. The bar…

Collectif les Coquettes
Fashion / shopping

Collectif les Coquettes

Aix en Provence

Le collectif les Coquettes est né de 3 créatrices aixoises dont le but commun est de valoriser la création locale, dynamiser le " fait-main " et faire découvrir de jeunes marques locales. Dans leur popupstore store, vous trouverez une multitude d'idées dans les domaines de la déco,…

[ Closed until further notice ] La Fontaine Obscure
Cultural place

[ Closed until further notice ] La Fontaine Obscure

Aix en Provence

La Fontaine Obscure is a place to get together, share and discuss photography. The voluntary organisation was founded in 1979 and provides photography lessons and courses all year round. La Fontaine Obscure hosts the annual Phot'Aix Festival. Opening exhibitions on the first Wednesday of every…

Corpace Joaillerie
Fashion / shopping

Corpace Joaillerie

Aix en Provence

Jewelry

Where to eat

Yamato
Food guide restaurant

Yamato

Aix en Provence

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…

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…

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…

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…

Fanny's
Cuisine de Provence

Fanny's

Aix en Provence

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,…

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…

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…

Lautraix Restaurant
Food guide restaurant

Lautraix Restaurant

Aix en Provence

The olive tree planted in the middle of the veranda says a lot about the authenticity of the olive oil-based cuisine (oil pressed at the Moulin d’Eguilles) served at this large establishment with garden, set in the town centre. With its lawn, flower beds and lush terrace, Lôtre Restaurant is a…

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.

Inspirations

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

La Provence

La Provence

Provence is more than a simple destination, it's a whole way of life!

The Calanques

The Calanques

Art de Vivre

The 'Calanques' – Genuine little corners of paradise!

The bouillabaisse of Marseille

The bouillabaisse of Marseille

Bouillabaisse, an ancient treasure and epic adventure...

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.