Aix-en-Provence Old Town (Vieil Aix)
Aix-en-Provence Old Town (Vieil Aix) is the city’s ancient heart, where people have lived and worked since Roman times. The area is home to some of the city’s grandest buildings, as well as reminders of previous eras. It’s one of the city’s most vibrant quarters home to shops, restaurants, and museums.
The charming cobbled streets of Aix-en-Provence’s old town bring visitors back in time to the Medieval era when the winding streets of the city were protected by defensive walls. The remains of these ramparts are still visible on rue Jacques de la Roque. Other historic ruins in the area include the former Roman pool, next to the entrance of the modern-day thermal baths.
Along with tall, narrow buildings you’ll find several grand buildings in the Old Town, from the Cathedral (dating in part to the 12th century and built on the site of the Roman forum), the Town Hall, and the old belfry with its working astronomical clock, built in the 1500s on top of Roman foundations. Three times a week the Old Town comes alive with market stalls selling everything from fruit and vegetables to antiques. The Old Town is always a popular destination with guided tours, and visitors can opt to join a tour to learn more about the town and its history.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are market days in Aix.
- The old town is wheelchair accessible, but some streets are narrow and uneven.
- You’ll find many different bars and restaurants in the area.
- To see more than one Provence attraction on the same day consider a multi-stop tour.
How to Get There
Aix-en-Provence Old Town is the heart of the city. It’s a largely pedestrianized area, and best explored on foot. There is a mini-bus called the “Petit Train” that takes visitors to key points in the Old Town.
When to Get There
Aix has a mild climate that makes it an enjoyable destination all year round. The city comes to life on market days when locals and tourists pour into the city center to enjoy the bustling atmosphere and pick up groceries or shop for unique gifts and souvenirs.
Visit Aix-en-Provence’s many fountains
An enjoyable way to see the city on foot is to follow the trail of the many fountains in the city, which is known colloquially as the City of a Thousand Fountains. Start on the Cours Mirabeau, home to the impressive Fontaine de la Rotonde built in 1860. There are three more fountains as you walk up the street, including the moss-covered Fontaine Eau Chaude whose thermal waters are thought to have health benefits. After this you can wander at leisure, keeping an eye out for the many other water features in the city.
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- Cours Mirabeau
- Aix Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint Sauveur)
- Cézanne's Studio (Atelier Cézanne)
- Sainte-Victoire Mountain (Montagne Sainte-Victoire)
- La Barben Zoo (Zoo de la Barben)
- Valensole Plateau (Plateau De Valensole)
- Lake of Sainte-Croix (Lac de Sainte-Croix)
- Les Saintes Maries de la Mer