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Aix en provence

Did not like aix at all.nothing like RS description.I saw one small vege matket after finding a carpark that was a struggle to traverse in a medium size car.the so called pedestrian friendly alleys were sloping frequented by service vehicles and noisy motorbikes and the ever present dog droppings urine.the mirabeau was a classic tourist trap like a small version of champs elysees. And not much else.the climb up the hill to cezannes workshop was rewarded by no access or 2 hour wait to get in.not impressed with the town or nearby region .i was not there in lavender season but may was rainy cold overcast.surprising for spring.

Posted by
2277 posts

Welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear you did not like Aix. It’s not one of my favorite places in Provence but I did like it. I found it boring but pleasant but I went in June. I think Rick does say there is not much to see there and that it is more a place to visit for the feel of it. Weather in early May in unpredictable. I try not to comment on typos but really a space after a period would not kill you and would make your post more readable.

Posted by
8102 posts

We stayed with friends in Aix one year, for a few days. We found it a bit dull but not awful, as the OP did, who has not one positive thing to report. I hope elsewhere in France was more pleasing to him and that the dogs were more mannerly.

Posted by
799 posts

Well, a rainy and overcast day in Aix is indeed not ideal... Most of the appeal of going to Aix is to amble in the lively streets, preferably on a big market day (three times a week, but can't remember the days), so the rain would put a "dampener" on this. Hope you enjoy(ed) the rest of your holiday!

Posted by
3486 posts

We enjoyed our visit to Aix - we've actually been twice, but the first time it was during a thunderstorm, so it was a bit of a bummer.

Our trip last July was beautiful and hot (too hot, honestly) - I enjoyed dipping my feet into the fountains to cool off. We popped into the Aix Cathedral and were able to have a tour of the Cloisters with a docent (it was my husband and I and one other lady who had to leave early because she was with a tour group, so basically a lovely private guided tour). We sat on the main drag under a tree, listening to a guy play the saxophone whilst eating a delicious dessert. Had an amazing pizza alfresco and bought some chocolate goodies. Wandered the streets admiring the beautiful doors. Got there early enough to wander the outdoor food market and had some local raspberries (so good we ate them all and went and bought more) and got a yummy cheese and bacon baguette.

There was some construction going on, but otherwise...sorry you didn't enjoy it.

Posted by
2158 posts

Sorry you didn’t like Aix en Provence on your cool, rainy day trip. We spent a month in a village about 10k from Aix and went into the city several times a week. We really enjoyed the variety of restaurants, the lovely plane trees shading the streets, the fountains, the fabulously colorful markets, the Cezanne artifacts. Many of the table linens we use daily were purchased at the markets in Aix.

I really think weather and time of year can make an impression and larger cities aren’t to some people’s liking so I understand your negativity in that regard. I do hope this report doesn’t discourage others from visiting Aix, especially on one of its many market days. You’ll see the largest displays of linens, flowers, fruit and vegetables, olives and on some days antiques displayed in several several plazas.

Posted by
2429 posts

We stayed in Aix one night, and definitely enjoyed it. I didn't find it wonderful, and don't pine to return, but it's worth visiting if you're in the area. And it's probably a great place to live.

Posted by
254 posts

Well, I must say that I disagree with the OP. I love Aix. We have been fortunate to visit Aix several times because our daughter lived there for 2 years. I agree that bad weather can influence a person's opinion of a place, but we certainly never saw the dog droppings he/she mentions. And we did have nice weather every time we visited, so that does make a difference.

Aix is not a city with a huge amount of important sites to visit. Rather, it is a beautiful city, with its gorgeous old town, tons of fountains, many lovely squares, and beautiful architecture, that is meant for leisurely wandering and relaxing at cafes sipping rose wine. I love seeing bottles of rose chilling in the fountains! Aix has lots of great restaurants and cafes. Of course, we had the luxury of our daughter living there, so she knew which restaurants were good.

When we visited, we always had good luck buying stuff at the market in Place Richelme. There was tons of fruits, vegetables, food, lavender products, linens, etc. We enjoyed a visit to Saint Sauveur Cathedral, and happened to be there when there was a choir rehearsal going on! We also liked the Musee Granet, an interesting, medium size art museum. And we like Cezanne's studio. Had no trouble getting in when we were there. Place d' Albertas is one of my favorite squares with its beautiful architecture and lovely fountain.

I wish you could have been there on a sunny day. I think you might have a different opinion. Or maybe not. Everyone is different.

Posted by
2966 posts

We are slow travelers.

We spent 8 nights in Aix-en-Provence in a rented apartment (from an American owner). It was on the 3rd floor, not air conditioned and it was hot, but there were fans in the apartment. Our time there included the Fête de la Musique. We did all the things the OP lists and enjoyed them. I love the olives and cicadas tablecloth I bought at the market.

In town we walked everywhere. We took the bus to Cezanne's atelier. I dont remember having to wait for the English language tour. Maybe we had advance tickets. From there we walked up the hill to the spot where he painted so many versions of Mont Sainte-Victoire. I loved seeing something close to what he saw. We walked down a bit and caught the bus back to town.

We had a rental car that we used to drive around the area. We love to drive. Our wanderings included the the Camargue, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, the Pont du Gard and Saint-Tropez, to mention a few.

Enroute east one day, my husband did a big U-turn to get to a go-kart track so he could get a little track time in. We'd seen lots of go-kart tracks and he swore that the next one we saw, he'd stop and drive. He said the French karts were much more powerful than those you rent in the States.

We rented the street car in Reims and returned it in Aix-en-Provence. I've seen others on the forum complain about parking in Aix-en-Provence. Before arriving we learned where the underground garages were and what the entrances looked like. We also had a medium size car because, due to limited availability, they upgraded us at no charge from the much smaller and cheaper one we reserved. My husband had no problems with parking it in either of the underground garages we used.

So our experience was totally different. We had time to learn a bit about the city and the area. The weather was good, if hot.

I can see how one day under less than optimum weather conditions could be a bummer. On our first trip to Venice together, the one full day we had was cold and rainy. My husband's griped about Venice ever since.

Posted by
828 posts

That Cours Mirabeau promenade is covered with pigeon droppings!

But, I had a decent morning there--nice self-guided walking tour with map, and I liked the neat passageways.

Info guy/guide brain-deadness prevented me from getting a tour of the cloister at Cathédrale Saint Sauveur, however.

I skipped musee Granet (Cezanne) because it wasn't open yet, and I decided to go to Camp des Milles in the afternoon instead.

But there was a huge market right in the center of town, so not sure what you're talking about there.

And a way cool Latin inscription at la fontaine du Roi René.