I’ve lived in Aix-en-Provence for the past two years and each day I love this little city more and more. Aix is a charming little town in Provence, in the South of France near Marseille. It is famous for its rich cultural heritage, as it has been renowned for its thermal baths since the Roman Empire. Aix is called the city with a hundred fountains. It is a touristic place and also an important center of teaching and research in Law, Literature and Humanities. The University of Aix was founded in 1409.
As a resident, there are many things I like here; places and activities that pace my everyday life. So here is my personal list of all the stuff I love doing in Aix-en-Provence:
Taking a walk in the Mazarin neighborhood
The Mazarin neighborhood is filled with mansions, beautiful old buildings and fountains. What I particularly like is taking an evening walk there in summer. I am the kind of girl who drags her boyfriend from the couch to go for a walk at 11 pm and this neighborhood is great for a romantic walk.
This part of the city is also absolutely lovely during the day. If you are looking for a place to stay in Aix, I would recommend this neighborhood. It’s in the city center, but it’s a calm, peaceful and beautiful place.
Having dinner at the Tapas Café
It was the first restaurant in Aix that I went to with my boyfriend. I remember the evening perfectly. We spent it enjoying the twilight, talking about our day and discussing our dreams and projects.
It’s probably at that moment that this restaurant turned into one of my favorite places. Since this day, we celebrate all the important events of our life there.
The place is very festive, the food is good and their sangria is outstanding. You can share your plates. It makes the experience friendlier and more fun. On Sunday, they serve a great brunch.
Enjoying the patio on the Cours Mirabeau
The Cours Mirabeau is the main avenue in Aix, where the famous “La Rotonde” fountain is located.
The street is full of restaurants, hotels and shops. We love having breakfast with croissants and “pains au chocolats” at the Bastide du Cours patio. There’s no better way for me to start my day than by having my morning coffee under the sun here.
In the afternoon we love having ice-cream on the same avenue. I can definitely recommend Giovanni Gelateria. They have a large selection of ice cream flavors and there is a terrace (which is quite rare for an ice cream parlor here) where you can take a break while enjoying your delicious snack. They also offer refreshing smoothies.
The happy hour at the Cardeur square
Having a drink with my colleagues after work is a more common occurrence than we would like to admit. Most of the time, we have a drink on the Cours Mirabeau because it’s closer to our work, but I far prefer enjoying a glass of wine on the Cardeur square. The square is packed with restaurants and bars where you can enjoy this very important moment of the day called “apéro.” I particularly like being there on late afternoons because it stays sunny until late.
We often go to the Cutback bar, the happy hour is great and they also serve charcuterie and cheese platters.
Relax at the Thermes Sextius
What I like about the therms is that I get that vacation feel ten minutes away from home.
The best time to go is on Sunday during the summer. This is because they serve an amazing brunch with a large selection of fresh food, from croissants to meat, from fruits to fish. During the summer, you can enjoy the brunch outside by the pool.
You can still visit the Spa in the wintertime. There is a Jacuzzi, a Hammam, a sauna and sensory showers. Try the tropical one: when you close your eyes, you will feel as if you are in the middle of the jungle.
It’s a perfect place for a girls’ night out or a romantic day with your significant other.
Spending time at the Apple Store
The Apple Store is a great place to catch up with the latest technology while taking a break. I love everything there: the design, the location and of course the store itself. As a huge Apple fan, I love having a store in my city.
I love admiring the sunset from the inside. You can see the vermilion colored light all over the store with a perfect view on La Rotonde.
Spending time in the store, enjoying the atmosphere, connecting with other people or apple fans is always a great experience. Now it will be even better with Today at apple.
Having a picnic at La Torse park
I enjoy jogging in this park with my boyfriend late afternoons. Sometimes, after our run, we stay for a dinner picnic. The park is quiet at this hour, which gives us a chance to enjoy the beautiful sunset.
From time to time, we also go there for lunch. The mood is much more lively, but it’s still very nice. Many people play, run, do yoga, or just lay on their towels to get a tan during these hours.
Most of all, I love this place because this park combines different landscapes: there are two large grassy areas; a cute river; a little lake with some ducks and carp; a path lined with bamboo trees that resembles a Japanese garden; and even a sports field. The park is near the city center, only ten minutes away from the famous cours Mirabeau.
Having a Starbucks drink in the modern neighborhood
If something is missing in this city, it’s definitely a Starbucks coffee shop. Hotel Renaissance does have a Starbucks corner, which helps.
The great thing is that the hotel is in the modern part of the city. This gives me an opportunity to enjoy modern architecture and sculptures while enjoying a beverage. I find this place beautiful and inspiring, but you can judge for yourself: