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A Pleasant, Inexpensive Hotel in Aix-en-Provence - but it's not for everyone

After our recent Best of Eastern France tour ended in Aix-en-Provence, my DH and I moved from the business class tour hotel to the smaller, funkier, and much quieter Hôtel Paul, 10 Avenue Pasteur. The room was about 2 1/2 to 3 times the size of our tour room, with a double bed, a desk and chair, an easy chair, and lots of floor space. It was obvious the room was designed to hold two double beds, as well as a desk and chair. There was a small wardrobe hidden behind the room door, and a medium sized bathroom, with sink, toilet, and shower. There was a dresser with three good-sized drawers in the bathroom, as well. There were no towels when we checked in, but evidently the housekeepers hadn't quite finished yet; we just left the door ajar until they showed up with an armload of towels.

We paid a few extra euros to have a room that faced the garden, rather than the noisier street side. From our room, we also had a view of a neighboring statue garden, a memorial to someone from Revolutionary times.

The small, enclosed garden is where breakfast is served. (There is a breakfast room inside, for those that want it.) Breakfast was trés francais: a pot of coffee or tea, and for each person a croissant, a slice of cake, a madeleine, several slices of baguette, a container of yogurt, a pat of butter, and a glass of orange juice. I did see some people get refills of coffee, but the pot (with a pitcher of hot milk) was plenty for the two of us.

The room cost about €93 per night; that included breakfast and the garden view. The hotel is just north of the Cathedral about one block. Cross the ring road at the light, and head up about 1/2 a block.

Why not for everyone? No elevator, and no a/c. We were on the first floor up, and although the weather was very warm, the room was comfortable with the big window open. I noticed that the staff had the doors to the garden open, including the door to the garden staircase from our floor, which meant there was a breeze circulating through the building much of the day. And there was a fan tucked away in the wardrobe, but we never needed it.

In addition, with the window open the cathedral bells might bother some. They don't ring all night; I think they quit around dark, and started up again about 30 minutes before the first morning Mass.

It's a short walk from the hotel to any of the sights in the old town (inside the ring road), with lots of restaurants, shopping, museums, and historical sights.

There is also a bus stop just across the street from the hotel, which gets you to the main bus station in about 12 minutes. From there, you can get a shuttle to the TGV station or the Marseilles airport.

We definitely preferred the Paul to the tour hotel (Hôtel St-Christophe.) The St-Christophe had a beautiful, busy, and plush public area (with bar and restaurant,) but the room was very tiny with a minuscule bathroom and no storage, and would have cost us as much as €150 had we stayed there after the tour. The Paul struck us as a more typical "Rick Steves" type hotel, which suits us just fine.

Posted by
8248 posts

Thank you Jane!

I'll be in Aix in October and will meet up with a Road Scholar program that begins there. The tour hotel is the Adagio Apart-hotel which doesn't sound like it has much charm so I'll take a look at your recommendation. I am going down from Paris one day ahead of the tour start so not sure if I want to move for 1 night - then the program stays there 6 nights.

Looking forward to Aix!

Posted by
2880 posts

Good review Jane. It really does sound like a find. I’ll keep this one in mind for the next time we visit lovely Aix. I’m amazed that you didn’t even need to get the fan out of the wardrobe! Those Oklahoma summers do tend to temper us though.

Posted by
4601 posts

No screens, but didn't notice any bugs. We were there in mid June, from the 15th to the 17th.

Posted by
4601 posts

Hi, Mona! I think the hotel's being on a tree-lined street on one side, with a cool garden on the other, helped as well. We were never uncomfortable there, although I suppose we might have been in mid-afternoon.

Pam, tell us more about your Road Scholar tour.

We did love Aix, and that surprised me a bit. But there are lovely museums, lots of markets, and good restaurants. Lots of little back lanes to explore, as well, and some surprisingly good street musicians. We had planned to stay three nights after our tour ended, but decided to head back to Paris the night before our flight out. I think it was a good decision; we weren't nearly as tired on flying home day.

Posted by
7922 posts

Wow Jane, an actual review in the Review Section... 😂
Thank you for taking the time to post this recommendation, it’s very helpful! Sounds like a hotel i’d really like.

Posted by
4601 posts

Susan, I thought I'd try to start a trend. :-)

Posted by
7922 posts

Jane, i hope you do start a trend... 😂
And a Trip Report. And yes, Bookmarked! Thanks, such a great tip.

Posted by
25768 posts

It sounds like a wonderful find of a hotel. Everything I love, and little to worry about on the other side. I prefer fresh air.

Posted by
4601 posts

I had planned to do a tour report, but didn't get to it. I do think I will, though; it was a wonderful tour. Let's see how this wek goes - it looks like I may have a little more time. After all, I finally got the last load of laundry done this morning!

Posted by
1939 posts

It sounds like a wonderful place to stay, Jane. I look forward to a trip report whenever you have time to create one! This is a tour I haven't taken but it is high on my list of "would like to.....". Thank you for this recommendation and I also am bookmarking!

Posted by
630 posts

Jane, I remember your earlier post when you had just found Hotel Paul, and were wondering about it. So thanks for the great report back. Having spent a lot of time in Aix en Provence over the years, I’m glad to hear that you liked the town, too.

Posted by
4601 posts

Wow, Barbara, I had forgotten about that. Yes, I trolled the internet for cheaper, more "interesting" hotels in Aix. I vacillated for a while between the Paul and another one, and finally opted for the Paul, I think based on location. And we were absolutely delighted with it. If we ever get back to Aix, that's where we're staying.

Posted by
7922 posts

Jane, Hotel Paul will be booked up when you return... we’ll all be there!

Posted by
8248 posts

Jane! Don't you know the "rule" is TR before laundry? You can do the TR wearing your ratty at home unders, hahahah!! No time limit though - would love to hear about both your tours!

The Road Scholar trip I think will be fun and interesting. Six nights in Aix and 5 in Arles with day trips out of each base. It will be my 11th Road Scholar trip, the 6th one in Europe. Trying to stay "even" with the number of Rick's tours I've taken, hahaha. Got #11 of his in in April.

https://www.roadscholar.org/find-an-adventure/3729/provence-the-art-of-living

While I love Rick's tours I will do a Road Scholar program particularly if it's not an itinerary that Rick does. I've been doing Road Scholar tours that cover a smaller geographical area than some of Rick's - this Provence one, Cornwall as well as Brittany and Normandy. I like doing a deeper dive into an area sometimes.

Posted by
7922 posts

Pam, your Road Scholar tour sounds fantastic. My mom, and my sister more recently, have done many and loved them all. The in-depth aspect and their style really appeals to me. Would love a trip report on your trip too!

Posted by
4601 posts

Maybe we can all meet up in Aix!

I'm mostly kidding, but it is fun to meet Forum friends in real life. We met Mona and her DH in Haarlem last year, and had a great time. We had a beer or two... or three... or.... And we met up with another Forum friend (Jeannette from California) on the Eastern France tour!

And yes, I will start on a trip report tonight. It will probably be delivered piecemeal, unless I get truly inspired and DH doesn't need his computer. I'll try to post the first installment tonight. And yes, I will chain them on the same thread, so nobody has to jump around to find all the parts.

First I have to post our next Travel Group meeting, then I'll get to work.

And Pam, that Road Scholar tour looks great. I'm going to check them out; I've heard great things about them, but haven't actually looked them up, at least, not in years, not since they were Elderhostel.

Posted by
8248 posts

Jane, the first one I did was with Elderhostel, the rest since they changed their name to Road Scholar. I enjoy them a lot and find their guides are generally the level of Rick's guides which is important to me. They used to do more "lectures" but have mostly stopped that and go with walking tours and a local guide or a talk on the bus on the way to a particular site.

In my experience as a solo traveler they are good way to tour, as are Rick's tours. Sometimes the tour members need a little more hand holding than on Rick's tours but that doesn't really get in my way. The group members are often similar as far as NPR/PBS fans etc.

Road Scholar will do your airfare for you if you want but I always manage mine myself and get myself to the starting point. Like you, I'm not a fan of arriving at a tour destination at the last minute. It always shocks me that most of the group arrives the day the tour starts. At least on my European tours figuring out public transport to the starting city is not difficult. On one of my first international tours with Road Scholar they routed everyone who lived in the West thru Dallas which was quite silly as it meant some people had 2 domestic flight legs before their international leg. I had done my own air arrangements that time and after I saw the result for the others I decided I would continue to do my own. I'm picky about layover times and airports.

I actually liked the Road Scholar Cornwall tour better than the Cornwall section of Rick's Villages of Southern England tour. The Road Scholar tour used a small 15 passenger bus so we could get in to some places that the RSE full sized bus could not. Thinking Chysauster Ancient Village for one location.

Anyway, take a look - they go all over including the US. I've done 5 US ones - hiking, 2 birding programs (Arizona and FL) and 2 genealogy programs (SLC Family History Library - fabulous).