One of the larger cities in Provence, Aix embodies everything there is to love about a culinary tour in the south of France. The colorful city is busy with festivals and traditions, and while it’s often seen as a place to depart from — to explore the stunning countryside – the offerings for The International Kitchen‘s culinary travelers are immense. Here are just five of the many reasons why we think it’s the perfect destination for a culinary vacation in Provence!
The City’s Vast History
Arriving in Aix is like stepping back in time and every place has its own story to tell. While the story of Aix starts in Roman times, it really grew in the early 1100s when it became the home of the Counts of Provence, and later in the early 1400s when the university — still in operation today — was founded by Louis II of Anjou. Today the historic center of the city, home to many old mansion houses, is an amazing confluence of architecture and religious history.
Fountains and Gardens Galore
Nicknamed the city of a thousand fountains, it feels like there’s a fountain wherever you turn. Many of the fountains were first built for practical reasons, like giving the herds a place to drink as well as to route the area’s hot springs through the city. A tour of the beautiful fountains also provides another insight into the town’s history, as there seems to be fountains from just about every century! With the plethora of fresh water, it’s also no surprise that the area around Aix is home to a numb of beautiful gardens.
Fresh, Seasonal Food
Just about anywhere you go for a Provence cooking vacation, you’ll be treated with seasonal produce. But in Aix, there’s markets galore. Stroll through the markets and pick up some fresh fruit, as well as cheese and olives. A special candy of the region can also be found here: caissons, which are made with almonds and, traditionally, candied melon and marzipan.
The region has inspired artists for centuries, but it was in Aix where one of the most famous of French artists was born: Paul Cezanne. Step into his private world with a tour of his studio, and see what inspired the Impressionist painter, and then head back outside to follow the route marked with a “C.” The path will lead to where Cezanne is buried in St. Jean cemetery.
While Aix is a thriving and busy city — in no small part due to the university — it’s also very much walkable. Stroll through the old town, go shopping at all the high end fashion designers, stop for a bite at a patisserie, and see the historic mansions and lavish residences of the Mazarin district.
Ready to explore Aix-en-Provence? Our Gastronomic Holiday in Aix-en-Provence cooking vacation features five nights accommodations at a centrally-located Aix hotel, two cooking classes, gourmet walking tour, and private tour of the Luberon (not far from Aix), and so much more.
Learn more about all of our culinary trips.
By Liz Hall
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