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A Perfect Day in Aix-en-Provence

by Emilie Johnson

Aix-en-Provence is a pearl of towns in Southern France. Its cerulean skies, mossy fountains singing an intonation, crooked buildings bowing together under their age, its shutters - their classic pewter against golden walls, make for an all-senses feast. Aix’s size makes it special. The old town is pedestrian-only and one can traverse it from end to end with ease, or spend hours getting lost in its narrow passages and arteries. If you are coming to Aix by car, best to park it in one of the garages on the periphery of town (Parking Rotonde, for instance) and spend the day on foot.


9:00am
Breakfast at Maison Weibel
2 Rue Chabrier, 13100 Aix-en-Provence
http://www.maisonweibel.com/

Enjoy breakfast at Maison Weibel, where you can sit and watch the bustle of the morning market of Aix from the rattan bistro chairs, while drinking a café and indulging in some of Aix’s finest patisseries. The lineup of patisseries at Maison Weibel look like brightly-colored artwork. Taste the charlotte aux fruits rouges, a tartelette aux fruits or just a classic pain au chocolat. Divinity.


10:30am
Au Marché / To the Shops
Place Richelme

The market square facing your breakfast location, Place Richelme, is one of Aix’s daily markets. To me, it is the most visually charming. It is chock full of sundrunk fruits and vegetables, some still bearing evidence of where they were grown. After soaking in this charming square’s offerings, spend some time meandering through the streets of town drifting in and out of the shops.


Shop: Rose & Marius
3 Rue Thiers, 13100 Aix-en-Provence
https://www.roseetmarius.com/en/

Rose & Marius is a luxury aroma brand born from Provence. The South of France is the source of inspiration for everything they produce. They offer perfumes, soaps, candles, a dried flower bar and customized perfume workshops, where one can create a personalized signature scent (must reserve in advance).

 

Shop: L’Oiseau Bleu
20 Rue Granet, 13100 Aix-en-Provence
http://loiseaubleu-aix.fr/oiseaubleu/

The collection at L’Oiseau Bleu is a bohemian mix, a playful whirlwind of curiosities. The shop windows exhibit human-sized birds and rabbits donning lacy attire and leather belts, accented by à-la-mode jewelry pieces. A compelling and well-chosen thrift collection.

 

Shop: Aux Pâtes Fraîches
12 Rue Laurent Fauchier, 13100 Aix-en-Provence

Pop into this small épicerie (caterer/small grocery stand) to get a feel for how locals do their daily shopping. Full of freshly made pasta, tapenades and lovely cut flowers - each item a treat.


Shop: Mes Demoiselles
12 Rue Marius Reynaud, 13100 Aix-en-Provence
https://www.mesdemoisellesparis.com/en/cms/11/aix-en-provence

A bit of chic and prêt-à-porter feminine fashion in the south of France. Luminous collection full of uniquely French charm and refinement, inspired by the local color palette and sensibility. Each selection a unique creation.


Shop: Brocante & Antiquities
62 Place Richelme, 13100 Aix-en-Provence
https://antiquites.site-solocal.com/

Stop by a small and special antique shop in the heart of Aix. Travel back in time and discover a vast and curated selection of ancient objects and curiosities. They specialize in paintings and drawings - as well as beautiful vintage frames.


1:00pm
Lunch at Le Bistro Campra (reserve in advance)
5 Rue Campra, 13100 Aix-en-Provence | +33 (0)4 42 23 34 61

Tucked away down a sweet winding side street sits Le Bistro Campra. Very traditional French menu, including terrine/cornichon (wherein you are presented with a large jar of cornichons and wooden tongs). A truly French experience.

 

2:00pm
Museums!

Time for a bit of culture. 

 

Hôtel de Caumont
3 Rue Joseph Cabassol, 13100 Aix-en-Provence
https://www.caumont-centredart.com/en/home

The Caumont Art Center is set in a meticulously restored 18th century private mansion. Admire the monumental acanthus leaf staircase, the red tomette tiled floors and the geometric French gardens. Start with the screening, “Cezanne au pays d’Aix,” which depicts Cezanne’s forceful attachment to town and the Mount Sainte-Victoire. Exhibitions here rotate and are finely curated.


Musée Granet
Place Saint-Jean de Malte, 13100 Aix-en-Provence
http://www.museegranet-aixenprovence.fr/en/nc/home.html

A well-stocked collection of over 12,000 classic masterpieces. From 14th-18th century French and Italian painters to 19th century Provençale works, the museum is a locus of historically regional artists, particularly in sculpture.


5:00pm Afternoon Treat
Mana
12 Rue des Bernardines, 13100 Aix-en-Provence
https://mana-aix.com/

Mana is a little coffee shop, tucked away in the folds of Aix. Great stop for an afternoon noisette or café.

Pâtisserie Béchard
12 Cours Mirabeau
https://maisonbechard.fr/

A true institution in Aix since 1870, pastries and goodies here are as good as they get in France, which is to say, the best in the world.

Wander along the Cours Mirabeau and survey the beautiful, tree-lined center of town.

 

8:00pm Dinner
l’Incontournable (reserve in advance)
14 Rue de Montigny, 13100 Aix-en-Provence
https://m.facebook.com/lincontournable.aix/

End a fabulous day sitting tranquilly at the hem of a fountain for dinner at l’Incontournable. Summer tables are set in a very special square in Aix, where the dappled light makes for a magical moment. Excellent food with produce directly from the market stands. A lovely wine selection as well.




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