Aix’s main street, cours Mirabeau, is one of the most beautiful boulevards in Europe. A double row of plane trees shades it from the Provençal sun and throws dappled daylight onto its rococo fountains. Shops and sidewalk cafes line one side; 17th- and 18th-century sandstone hôtels particuliers (private mansions) take up the other. Stop into Brasserie Les Deux Garçons, 53 cours Mirabeau, for a coffee or a glass of rosé. The brasserie was founded in 1792 and frequented by the likes of Emile Zola, Cézanne, Picasso, and Sir Winston Churchill. Boulevard Carnot and cours Sextius circle the heart of the old quarter (Vieille Ville), which contains the pedestrian-only zone.
One fun way to check out the lay of the land is aboard an eco-friendly Diabline (www.la-diabline.fr; Mon–Sat 8:30am–7:30pm; 0.50€/ride). These vehicles operate three routes along cours Mirabeau and through most of the Old Town.
Aix’s Tourist Office organizes bilingual tours around Aix (tel. 04-42-16-11-61), including the year-round tour of the historic city center (Sat 10am and April–Oct Tues 10am; 2 hours; 8€, 4€ students and over 60s, free for children under 7), and “In the Steps of Cézanne” (April-Oct Thurs 10am; 2 hours; 8€, 4€ students and over 60s, free for children under 7).
Especially for Kids
L’Epi Vert, Lieu Dit Grand Pont, La Roque d'Antheron (www.labyrinthe-geant.fr; tel. 04-42-22-19-15), is a large outdoor fun park located northwest of Aix’s city center. Two giant themed labyrinths are flanked by jungle gyms, trampolines, and, in 2014, new pétanque grounds. Entrance (8€, free for children under 1 meter, or 3 ft 4 in) not only includes access to all areas of the park; each visitor is also given a free rosemary or lavender plant. (Perhaps not that practical, but a kind gift all the same!) L’Epi Vert is open from 10am until 9pm, daily during school holidays, and on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday the rest of the year.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.