Protected by the Montagne Ste Victoire Aix is surrounded by a countryside full of vineyards and olive groves and traditional Provencal Houses and gardens. The name Aix comes from the source discovered when the city was founded in 123b.c. by the Romans. Aix was the capitol of Provence in the 15th century. Wealthy merchants and local dignitaries helped turn this city into the Florence of Provence as we know it today.
One can find all the beauty of the noble Provence of the 17th and 18th centuries: handsome houses of the upper class, private mansions, city squares bursting with flowers, ancient fountains and shaded narrow streets.
Aix was the inspiration to many of the greatest writers and painters - Guigou, Stendhal, Mistral, Zola, and Cézanne. There is even a special Cezanne tour which one can follow through the streets of Aix stopping at points marked with a C.
As a city of art and culture Aix possesses a wealth of superb architecture that has been carefully preserved and restored. Walking through the Cours Mirabeau and the Rue Gaston de Saporta one can admire the private mansions with their sculptured doors and windows and the intricate iron work on the balconies.
Aix is famous for its fountains. The largest and most famous is on the Cours Mirabeau, the main avenue through town, as well as a moss-covered fountain which draws its water from a hot spring.
The city market runs multiple days a week, but the largest and most colourful is the Saturday market which includes a flower market at the Place de l'Hotel de Ville and the main food market is at Place Richelme. Discerning shoppers can choose from the many elegant boutiques in the quartier Mazarin.
Aix has an incredible number of restaurants compared to its small size. Most of them are gathered in a small area in the old city, between Place des Cardeurs and the Rotonde (Cours Mirabeau)
Each summer Aix hosts International Festivals of Opera, Lyric Art, Music and Dance.