Water fountain at Aix-en-Provence in the evening.
Photo by: Ben Bowes, Creative Commons

In southern France, north of Marseille, lies the city of Aix-en-Provence in the region of Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur.It is renowned for being home to Cezanne who was a famous painter. The city is said to be one of the richest cities in France with its abundance of historic buildings and fountains. Aix-en-Provence is one of the top travel destinations in France. The city has a warm climate and the best time to visit is between the months of April to September.

The major attractions in Aix-en-Provence are:

The Cours Mirabeau is a wide thoroughfare that divides the city into two; the Quartier Mazarin, also known as the ‘new’ town, and Ville Comtale which is the old town. It is 440 meters long and is lined by numerous cafes and restaurants. It has many fountains including the spectacular La Rotonde which is so large that it makes up a roundabout at one end of the street.

The Granet Museum is a restored museum house that contains an impressive collection of over six-hundred works of art by Granet, Ingres, Preti, Rembrandt, Rigaud and Rubens. It also features exquisite artworks by local painters. The Museum can be found in the Quartier Mazarin and also offers access to the gardens.

The Atelier Cezanne or Cezanne’s studio is another popular attraction in Aix-en-Provence. It is situated in the Lauves hill with a breathtaking view of the Sainte Victoire Mountain. The studio was designed by Cezzane himself and it is said that he personally ordered how his works should be arranged.

The Vendome Pavilion is a sight to behold because it features an 18th century mansion that was built in 1665. It was said to have been the illicit rendezvous retreat for Cardinal Duc de Vendome and his mistress, Madame de Rascas. The gardens of the mansion have intimate and hidden spots where the Cardinal and his lover spent most of their time.

The Cathedrale St. Sauveur d’Aix is said to stand on sacred grounds. It was first a pagan temple, which then became a Roman temple and is now a Christian Church. The construction of the church was often interrupted by wars, plagues and other disasters which is why it was only finally completed during the 15th century even though construction originally began in the 5th century. During the French Revolution, the panel above the doors was lost and up to this day, remains an empty space. The statues inside the church were also robbed of their heads and the heads they are now sporting are only replacements.

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