7am. Merchants set up their stalls in a beautiful square, surrounded by old high trees and sparkling fountains. Locals are sitting at the nearby café sipping an espresso and enjoying the cool morning breeze. It is not long before the square is filled with a crowd eager to discover the colours and flavours of Provence.
This scene is not a cliché. Welcome to Aix-en-Provence!
Aix-en-Provence (or Aquae Sextiae as the Romans called it after its thermal springs) is a beautiful city in the South of France. Well-famous for its elegance and high-culture, it has been home to many intellectuals and artists, such as the painter Paul Cézanne.
Colourful narrow streets, grand squares, gardens “à la française”, fountains, bars and restaurants… Aix (as the locals call it) owns a rich architectural heritage.
Only an hour away from our village of Cotignac, Aix is a great place to go shopping / eating / sightseeing. Today, we are taking you in some of our favourite spots in this beautiful city!
Bastide is a house of beauty and wellbeing, selling luxuriously natural beauty and lifestyle products that celebrate the extraordinary artisans and terroir of Aix-en-Provence.
Their shop in the heart of the city is a gem and their products (fragrances, candles, soaps…) are of extremely high quality.
our coup de cœur… their “Figue d’été” wax candle, which reminds us of those wonderful summer days in Cotignac
Sezane is a not only a wonderful clothing brand with beautiful boutiques (called “Appartements”), it is also a whole social and environmental concept. Their beautiful clothes are designed in France, and made from the very best materials. They limit any form of waste and their recycling activities support concrete actions.
our coup de cœur… their charity programme Demain, which ensures education and culture for children. Each month, a special piece is released and all profits go to the programme
For those of you who have a sweet-tooth, look no further! This salon de thé is an institution in Aix. We could spend hours admiring the beautiful and delicious cakes in the vitrine. From the traditional Flan pâtissier or Millefeuille to the mini tea cakes, there is something for everyone.
our coup de cœur… their “Aixois” cake: calisson mousse, vine peach and roasted apricots cream, macaron
This restaurant is located on a small square with a lovely fountain. The chef uses seasonal and local products, with daily ‘plats du jour’ depending on its market findings. This is the perfect spot to reload during your shopping trip.
our coup de cœur… their outside tree-shaded terrace on the square
Hôtel de Caumont
The Hôtel de Caumont is a 18th century hôtel particulier (private mansion), located just a few steps from the cours Mirabeau. It is now a renowned art center and hosts wonderful temporary exhibitions. The next one “Chagall, from black and white to colour” will begin November 1st 2018, and we have no doubt it is going to be fabulous.
our coup de cœur… the terrace of the café Caumont is overlooking the beautiful French gardens. It is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing break away from the hustle and bustle of the city
3 rue Joseph Cabassol, 13100 Aix-en-Provence (see on the map)
Glaces Philippe Faur
Philippe Faur is known for his exclusive use of local and natural products.
His shop might not be the prettiest of the street (it is very modern and lacks a bit of charm) but don’t let this stop you: his ice creams and sorbets are to die for. If you’re feeling adventurous, try his moutarde ice cream!
our coup de cœur… the lychee sorbet. It is very hard to pick a favourite flavour, but we tasted this one recently and it was a wonderful surprise!
Not far from Philippe Faur’s ice creams shop is the pâtisserie Bechard, famous for its calissons. This is a key venue in Aix. The old shop is charming, and you can find a wide range of cakes and pastries.
our coup de cœur… the calisson – a speciality of the city: a candied fruit and almond candy, with flavours of oranges and melon. Calissons are sold everywhere in Aix, and these ones are so good!