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Aix en Provence Mini Guide
Aix en Provence is in the south east of France and situated inland from Marseille
. The Provencal town of Aix was where the famous French artist Cezanne lived and it has a reputation for being one of the wealthier and more expensive cities in France - not a backpacker’s destination by any means. This includes the fantastic restaurants of Aix en Provence which are upmarket in price as well as menu, though there are quite a few options to eat cheaper fast food.
This charming town is home to many farmer's markets and three universities making it a picturesque yet lively place to go on holiday. Market day in the town is a vibrant affair and you can pick up many foodie gifts to take home. Everywhere you turn you will be confronted with magnificent fountains and the largest of these is on the main avenue through town – known as the Cours Mirabeau.
Two things which you must see in Aix en Provence are the Place de l'Hotel de Ville where the colourful flower market is held on Saturdays and the Place Richelme where the main food market is located. If you want to really fit in with the locals then boule is the popular French game played in this quiet town. A game of billiards in one of the pubs is also great fun.
Because of the position of Aix en Provence you can drive to and from there from neighbouring Spain on the A9 road. The route is especially beautiful though if you come from Italy as you will pass Nice
and the French Riviera affording you some stunning views. This is one of the only toll routes where the scenery is still great. Otherwise save yourself the money and avoid the motorways for an altogether more pleasurable journey.
To get to Aix en Provence from Lyon take the A7 motorway via Marseille, joining the A8 at junction 27. It is possible to drive quickly to Aix en Provence from Marseille as it is only half an hour away. As the city centre is quite small you may want to park up and stroll around to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the clean and comfortable city. This will save you the trouble of having to find somewhere to park in the centre which can get crowded. You will also get more of a chance to appreciate the fine architecture which includes the wrought iron bell towers which were built to allow strong Mistral winds to blow through them without causing damage.
- The region around Aix features prominently in the works of Paul Cezanne. The local tourist information centre organises walking tours of the places Cezanne featured in his work and the tours can be booked online at www.aixprovencetourism.com