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6 Best things to see & do in Aix-en-Provence

  • Aix-en-Provence, Provence, France

Last updated: 28 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros
  • Aix-en-Provence, Provence, France

The interior of Cezanne's studio, with art implements and still life objects.

Bucket List Experience

Cezanne’s Studio

Cezanne’s studio on Les Lauves hill was designed by the artist himself in 1902, although he only used it when it was too cold to paint outdoors (he died in 1906, after getting caught in the rain while painting his beloved Mont Sainte-Victoire). Over the decades it has been maintained as he left it – a must-see for any Cezanne fan, the one place in Aix where his presence is tangible.

If you continue another kilometre or so north from the studio, along Avenue Paul Cezanne, you’ll come to Les Lauves, the Terrain des Peintures viewpoint – where Cezanne often planted his easel to paint Mont Sainte-Victoire.

Adult price: £6

Good for age: 18+

  • Aix-en-Provence, Provence, France

The audience of an opera performance on stage, sat in tiered open-air seating

Bucket List Experience

Aix-en-Provence Festival

Founded in 1948, this international festival of lyrical arts, dedicated to opera and classical music in particular, is one of the most prestigious in France.

Each year it attracts top singers, as well as the likes of Les Arts Florissants, the Berlin Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra – although more contemporary works are performed as well, some specially commissioned for the festival.

Concerts, along with an elite array of masterclasses, take place in beautiful historic venues in and around Aix-en-Provence.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 1 month

When: July

Freq: annually

  • Aix-en-Provence, Provence, France

The exterior of Saint Saveur gothic cathedral seen from the ground on a sunny day

Bucket List Experience

Aix Cathedral

Aix’s medieval cathedral is packed with treasures. Foremost among these is its recently restored masterpiece, the intricately detailed triptych of The Burning Bush (1476), painted by Nicolas Froment for Provence’s King Rene. It also contains a striking 6th-century baptistery and a tiny but exquisite 12th-century cloister, as well as beautifully sculpted doors.

The adjacent archbishop’s residence contains a fascinating tapestry museum, containing 17th- and 18th-century tapestries hidden there during the French Revolution, and only rediscovered in the 1840s.

The cathedral is a national monument, with architectural elements stretching back to the original Roman Forum of Aix, on which the cathedral was built. Later renovations include Romanesque and Gothic elements. The elegant columns in the baptistery, which was built in the 6th century, were probably from an ancient Roman temple that stood on the same site. The famous 16th-century walnut doors, sculpted with sibyls and fantastical beasts, are protected by wooden panels, which may be removed by request. Ask one of the volunteer guides.

Good for age: 18+

  • Aix-en-Provence, Provence, France

Exterior of the Granet Museum, a low stone building with steps leading up to a red door.

Experience

Granet Museum

A must for any art lover, the Granet Museum has a fascinating archaeological collection (including a reconstructed Celtic ‘head cult’ temple from nearby Entremont) and a remarkable array of works by Rubens, Rembrandt and Ingres.

Its 10 Cezanne paintings include a portrait of Emile Zola, the artist’s boyhood friend in Aix. From the 20th century come works by Giacometti, Mondrian, Balthus and Morandi and the excellent Collection Planque, with paintings by Degas, Picasso, de Stael, Braque and Klee.

Adult price: £5

Good for age: 18+

Place Richelme Food Market

  • Aix-en-Provence, Provence, France

pretty town square with market stalls selling food

Experience

Each morning, Aix hosts one of Provence’s best markets, overflowing with the freshest fruit, vegetables, herbs, meats, seafood and cheeses from local producers. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, it expands tenfold and includes a massive flower market.

Good for age: 18+

Caumont Centre d’Art

  • Aix-en-Provence, Provence, France

External view of the beautiful golden stone building

Experience

This magnificent townhouse (1715), a beautifully restored hôtel particulier, features lavishly furnished period rooms, an exquisite garden, a film on Cezanne and temporary art exhibitions; a good stop for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner too.

Adult price: £12

Good for age: 18+