Jul 27th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors Enjoy Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence is a mecca for me. Aix, pronounced “ex” like the letter “X” is located in southern France just north of Marseilles. It is a city that rises above almost all others for me in France except of course…Paris.  Each year Money Magazine selects the most popular city in America chosen by its readers. In France the same occurs and each year Aix (meaning water in latin) is selected again and again.   Aix must be experienced, personally, and senior visitors will know very soon why is it so well received by not only the French, but by visitors from all over the world.

Located in Provence or the Bouche du Rhone department,  the temperature varies very little and the sun shines year round.  Famous for its superb preservation of architecture, it is home to the upper-class and surrounded by magnificent monuments.

Le Cours Mirabeau is the main street in Aix and is lined with  trees that provide shade to the entire avenue. The Cours Mirabeau is a wide thoroughfare, planted with double rows of plane-trees, bordered by fine houses and decorated by fountains. It follows the line of the old city wall and divides the town into two sections. The new town extends to the south and west; the old town, with its wide but irregular streets and its old mansions dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, lies to the north. Along this avenue, which is lined on one side with banks and on the other with cafés, is Les Deux Garçons, the most famous brasserie in Aix.

Aix-en-Provence is a classically Provençal town, famous for being home to Paul Cézanne.  The addition of the TGV, high-speed train station, has brought lots of vacationers from the north, and Aix has turned into a shopping town with high variety and representation considering its small size. Three universities and several French-language schools for international students produce a very strong student presence.

Aix has always been a rich city. There is a high contrast between Marseille (only 30 km and half an hour to the south). Whereas Marseille is one the poorest French cities (but still a unique and not to be missed town), Aix is perhaps one of the richest and has been frequented by the likes of Paul Cézanne, Émile Zola and Ernest Hemingway.

Calissons d’Aix, in the shape of a small boat, have been made and sold in Aix-en-Provence since the 17th century. They are delicate almond-shaped paste candies and are the specialty of Aix. Let me recommend some of the Specialités de la Région.  And then let me help you find some good restaurants where senior travelers can find these specialités. Provence-Hideaways offers a great selection of restaurants in Aix.

Rich and alive with a heritage hundreds of years old, the Capital of Provence combines elements from all times. In a region where water is scarce and precious, Aix has been supplied by its many springs. The center of Aix is the old town (vieille ville), ringed by a circle of boulevards and squares. It’s a small-enough area to explore by foot, but there’s way too much for senior visitors to see in one or two days. The medieval Aix was protected by a wall with 39 towers. Today only the 14th century “Tourreluquo” tower remains, at the northwest corner of the town.

There is Much for Seniors To See and Do in Aix

The old town of Aix is packed with shops, markets, museums, religious and architectural sites and historical sites.  Do take in the Main Market on Mon, Tue, Thur, Sat. next to the Palais de Justice and you will find a big affair of fresh produce and food, bric-à-brac and flea-market. In one word..”outstanding.”  Aix is famous for its “santons”,  small figurines.

For more travel information and lists of attractions and activities this site has just about all you will need to convince you that a visit here will be well worth your time. Plan on three days in Aix to really feel the flavor and the laid-back attitudes. If you are in a rental car check out more nearby sites that are each well worth a visit. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there.  Just take my word for it, seniors…Aix is well worth a visit. jeb

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