This astonishing and beautiful mountain rises up outside the village of Tholonet when one goes towards the Côte d'Azur. Most famously it appears in the paintings of Cézanne. The mountain dominates the Aix countryside, a great limestone barrier that refracts the light of the setting sun and perfumes the air with the scents from its wild scrubland and whose way-marked footpaths attract walkers from all over the world who come to marvel at the views over the Rhône and the Esterel.
In the heart of the pedestrian center lies Place des Quatre Dauphins (Plaza of the Four Dolphins) and the fountain of the same name, erected in 1667 and designed by Rambot. Four dolphins, each looking around a mysteriously inscribed obelisk, leap above a small circular pond filled with clear water. The romantic setting reminds one of those old cloak and dagger films. A stroll in this square under the shade of the plane trees to the sound of fresh running water is very pleasant indeed, particularly on sultry summer days.
The Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur embraces all architectural styles from the 5th to the 17th Century. It has been formally established that Christianity has existed in Aix-en-Provence since the 4th century. The main testimony to this is Saint-Mitre's white marble sarcophagus, which can be viewed in one of the three naves, erected in three different eras. The Roman nave, Provencal in style, dates from the 12th Century; the Gothic nave was built between 1285 and 1290 and shelters the famous triptych by Froment, and the "Buisson Ardent" ordered by King René, depicts Queen Jeanne. And lastly, the Baroque nave dating back to 1695 is an impressive display of architectural richness of sensibility.
The Granet Museum, in the heart of the historic Mazarin quarter of Aix-en-Provence, has an impressive permanent collection which includes Rembrandt, Cézanne, Ingres, Giacometti, Picasso, and Mondrian, along with changing special exhibitions. The museum offers guided tours with special consideration for those with disabilities. Special events include brunch in the garden, drawing sessions, and occasional evenings at the museum.
Built in 1745, this square is identical to the Parisian squares of that era. There has been a fountain here since 1912, which gives it an air of Commedia Dell Arte. The atmosphere is unbelievable; it is easy to imagine a carriage emerging from the Rue Espariat or a lady of the Court appearing on the balcony of one of these splendid palaces. Each summer during the Festival of Lyric Arts, the brightness of the moon floods this crowded square filled with party-goers costumed in 17th-century attire.
Head down to Le Parc des Labyrinthes Géants for a day of fun and adventure with the family. Spread over four hectares (9.8 acres) this park boasts one of the world's largest labyrinths. With tall, green hedges cut and shaped like one massive maze, this is the site of immense excitement not just for kids, but for adults as well. Make your way into the maze and choose your own path to the center and out through the other side, but be careful as you might just end up walking in circles. The park also features a myriad of other activities, from trampolines and zip line, to a play area for toddlers.
As the residents claim, it is a city alive with history and thousands of years old culture and the influence of ages can be seen clearly. Its main attractions, apart from many others, include the Cathedral Cloisters for the impressive architecture and the Music festivals organized yearly, namely, Festival international d'Art Lyrique - the opera and the Fête de la Musique, hosting jazz, piano and other concerts. Feel the old French charm and tickle your taste buds with the authentic cuisine of this region.
The military order of the Hospitaliers de St-Jean-de-Jérusalem (later of Malta), founded this command center in 1180. In 1272 and 1646 it underwent renovations and became a church. The stark façade's only openings are two rose windows. The arrow-shape of the bell-tower is in keeping with the architectural style of the Popes of Avignon. Inside, the central Gothic nave houses the tomb of the Counts of Provence. This splendid monument is to be found on the northern edge of the town between the Mazarin district and the Cours Mirabeau.
Enjoy a captivating tour of the stunning vistas of the Provence region of France with Discover Provence-Day Tours. The company organizes group tours, private tours as well as customized excursions of the region with a team of knowledgeable guides. It is highly acclaimed especially by ace TV personality and travel expert Rick Steves. You can choose from a range of walking tours, day trips and 3-day tours to get to know the area well.
This 493-seat theater was built in the space that once held the Royal tennis courts of Louis XIV, explaining its mysterious but descriptive name. The building has undergone several renovations since the beginning of its construction in 1756, when it was intended to uphold the most modern values as expressed in the work of Voltaire: it was to be a place where everyone in the audience could see and hear no matter their place. Today, it hosts a continuous line-up of theater in conjunction with the Théâtre du Gymnase in Marseille, under the management of the group ACTE. The Jeu de Paume shows the more political pieces of the two in their voluminous, intricately decorated space.
The Théâtre des Ateliers is one of Aix-en-Provence's small theaters devoted to new and experimental plays. The staff and cast strive to present new performances to the public each season, built upon their experimentation and research during the preceding months. Through this work in conjunction with lectures, meetings, and public workshops, they hope to foster public sensitivity to the performing arts and the playwrights or artists who work in this field.