Lively Aix-en-Provence, located in the sun-drenched South of France, is a university town filled with Baroque architecture, colorful markets, and restaurants serving Provencal cuisine. Take a seat at an outdoor cafe and observe the scene that inspired so many Impressionist painters, all while smelling the fragrance of lavender in the air.
What We Love
The Fountains: Aix-en-Provence earns its nickname the City of a Thousand Fountains. Four major monuments to dancing water including Fountain of the Nine Canons and the Fountain of the Four Dolphins are located along Cours Mirabeau. And you'll surely hear trickling sounds around every corner.
The Cézanne Route: Painter Paul Cézanne was born here and is buried in Saint-Pierre cemetery. Take a walk in his footsteps along a route marked with stamps of the letter “C.”
The Calissons: These almond-shaped confections — essentially marzipan flavored with melon or orange — are the city's traditional treat. They're so yummy, you won't be able to eat just one.
Best Known For
Sunny Skies: The city is notable for experiencing sunshine an average of 300 days each year. Tip: October is the rainiest month.
Baroque Architecture: Aix-en-Provence has the third-largest collection of Baroque architecture in France, after Paris and Versailles. The elaborate mansions of the Mazarin Quarter and the street known as Cours Mirabeau were developed from the mid-17th century onward.
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Who It's Best For
The Detail-Oriented: Anyone with an eye for the architectural little things will adore the doorways, cornices, and fountains of this city. Also notable: the Granet Museum, which houses more than 300 works of art in the former Palace of Malta.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Lavender Is Addictive: The calming herb is everywhere and in everything — soaps, sachets, candies, and even crème brulée. Its fresh aroma will seduce you. And before you know it, you've bought more little lavender sachets than you have drawers to put them in. They do make great gifts.
Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.