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Planning to spend one day in Aix-en-Provence? In this guide, we’re sharing a one-day itinerary with the best things to do and our top tips for visiting our favorite city in Provence.
Aix-en-Provence, also known simply as Aix, is one of the dreamiest cities in the south of France. With its pastel-colored buildings, medieval charm, daily market, and wonderful museums, it’s no surprise that Aix is on everyone’s Provence itinerary.
We stayed in Aix-en-Provence for two weeks and fell in love with this idyllic city. While we always prefer taking it slow and spending a few days in one place, you will have enough time to get a feel for Aix in one day.
Keep reading to discover a perfect one day in Aix-en-Provence itinerary.
Is one day enough in Aix-en-Provence?
Yes, one day in Aix-en-Provence is enough time to see most of the major sights. If you are wanting to explore the Luberon valley, spend time at the Mediterranean beaches, and get a taste of the eastern side of Provence, then we suggest making Aix-en-Provence your home base.
There are many fantastic day trips from Aix-en-Provence within an hour or two that make it an ideal spot to call home for a few days.
While one day is enough to see the city, we suggest spending 2 days in Aix if you have the time on your trip. Simply wandering the streets and living like a local for a day after seeing all of the sights is the best way to enjoy the city and all of its hidden gems.
Aix-en-Provence is famous for its market and many people visit the city solely to experience one of the best Provencal markets. If you only have one day in Aix-en-Provence, you should plan your visit around the big market days.
The big market is held three times per week on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings from 8:30am – 1:00pm. Here you’ll find everything from local produce, clothing, antiques, ready-made meals, local honey and jams, and so much more. It truly is an experience not to be missed.
Of course, if you can’t visit on these days, then you can always visit the daily food and flower market, which we will touch more on in the itinerary below.
One Day in Aix-en-Provence Itinerary
Visit the Atelier Cezanne
Start your day off with a visit to Cézanne’s former art studio. The Atelier Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence is the former workshop of the renowned post-impressionist artist, Paul Cézanne. Located on the hills overlooking Aix, his former studio offers visitors a unique glimpse into the artist’s life and creative process.
Purchased by Paul Cézanne in 1901, the studio became his primary residence and workspace for the last years of his life until his death in 1906.
It was in this studio that he created some of his most iconic pieces of art, especially those of Mont Sainte Victoire, which he had a view of directly from his workshop.
The atelier remains exactly how it was when Paul Cézanne lived and painted there. Original items, including his furniture, unique objects and personal belongings are scattered around the space.
If you are familiar with his work, then you will recognize many objects from his paintings, such as the three skulls, the green pot, and the infamous fruit bowl.
The Atelier Cézanne is open everyday between the months of April and September, opening at 9:30am. The hours vary throughout the year, so it’s best to check times on the website before your visit.
Tickets cost €6.50 per adult. Book your tickets online in advance to ensure you get an early time slot.
Stroll through the market
The market in Aix-en-Provence is one of the best in the region. All of the streets transform as local vendors set up their stalls with local goods and food to sell.
The main market is every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and is sprawled across the city along main streets like the Cours Mirabeau and squares.
If you can’t visit on any of those days, then you can still shop from the daily food markets. Place Richelme, a charming square surrounded by trees and cafes, hosts the daily food market. Here you’ll find seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Looking to experience Aix-en-Provence with an expert guide? Check out Gourmet Walking Tour where you will taste your way through the market.
Visit the flower market at the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
After a visit to the main market, head to the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville and check out the daily flower market. Every day the square transforms into a burst of color with stalls brimming with fresh blooms ranging from classic roses to regional wildflowers.
Even if you aren’t shopping for flowers, it’s still worth stopping by.
Grab a madeleine from Madeleines De Christophe
In France, it’s okay to eat dessert be for lunch. Make your way to the small shop called Madeleines De Christophe for some delicious, freshly-made madeleines. They sell a variety of flavors – from almond and lemon. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
The minimum amount you can buy is 6 madeleines, but it’s okay because you can snack on them all day.
Wander along Cours Mirabeau
The Cours Mirabeau is one of the town’s most iconic boulevards, renowned for its stately plane trees, historic fountains, and designer shops.
If you visit the main market in Aix-en-Provence, you’ll mostly likely make your way down this street where vendors are selling clothing, French baskets, and other items like shoes and soaps.
Have lunch at a local restaurant
Whether you’re looking for a fancy French meal or something light and refreshing to get you through the rest of your afternoon, Aix is full of plenty of options.
Grenache is another fabulous French restaurant that is a good spot for lunch. Make sure to reserve ahead online. Restaurants book up quickly in Aix!
Check out the Hôtel de Caumont Art Exhibitions
The Hotel de Caumont is a must-visit during your day in Provence. This 18th century mansion doubles as a gorgeous house museum and incredible art museum.
It hosts different art exhibitions each year featuring widely known artists like Chagall. During your visit through the exhibition, you’ll also have a chance to wander through some of the stately rooms.
Don’t forget to check out the manicured gardens after a visit to the museum. There is a lovely fountain and a nice lawn that is perfect for a little stroll on a summer’s day.
We also suggest stopping by for some tea or coffee at the cafe. The room is covered in a gorgeous pink wall covering and features beautiful tableware and decor.
Booking in advance is suggested. Book tickets online at official website.
Visit the Musee Granet
The Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence is one of the best museums in town. With hundreds of artworks spanning from the Renaissance to modern art. You’ll find artists like by greats such as Rembrandt, Cézanne, and Picasso.
Over the years, significant renovations and extensions, like the addition of the Jean Planque collection, have enriched its offerings. Today, you can immerse yourself in over 12,000 pieces of art.
It doesn’t take long to visit, but we highly recommend visiting if you are an art lover.
Wander around the fountains in old town
Aix-en-Provence, often dubbed the “City of a Thousand Fountains,” is renowned for its myriad water features that punctuate its streets and squares. These fountains, ranging from grandiose masterpieces to modest trickling springs, have played an integral role in the city’s history and identity since Roman times.
A few fountains in the old town that you can’t miss are:
- Fontaine de la Rotonde
- Fontaine Moussue
- Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins
- Fontaine des Neuf-Canons
Grab a pre-dinner cocktail at Céleste
Céleste is known for its inventive cocktails and is the perfect spot to grab a table and relax over drinks before dinner on their outside terrace.
Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant
After a busy day, settle in for a delicious Provencal style dinner. You’ll need to make reservations in advance because most tend to book up quickly.
Here are a few of our recommendations:
- Sauvage – Enjoy an intimate dining experience at this restaurant featuring fresh and in-season ingredients.
- Les Vieilles Canailles – With an ever-changing menu, this restaurant creates fantastic dishes with fresh ingredients alongside local wines.
- La Petite Ferme – This farm-to-table restaurant takes you through the many flavors of Provence with a modern twist.
Map of Aix-en-Provence
To help you best navigate your way around for your one day in Aix-en-Provence, here is a map of all of the sights and restaurants listed in this itinerary.
To save the map to Google Maps on your phone or computer, click on the star next to the title. Once you do this, you’ll be able to find the map in your “saved maps” list on your phone.
To see a list of all the items on the map, click the box with arrow on the left. To enlarge the map, click the box on the right.
Where to stay in Aix-en-Provence
If you are planning to spend the night in Aix-en-Provence, then we suggest staying close to the city center to make the most of your day. There are plenty of hotels in the city to choose from, but we’ve created a curated a list of our favorites to help you pick.
Here are a few of our recommendations:
Luxury hotel: Villa Saint-Ange
Boutique hotel: Hotel Particulier le 28 by Les Collectionneurs
Affordable hotel: Aquabella Hôtel & Spa
Getting around Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence is small and compact, which means everything is within walking distance of each other. Most of the attractions on this itinerary are within a 10-15 minute walk of each other.
If you are planning to visit the Atelier Cézanne, it is about a 20-minute walk from the city center. We recommend visiting this first, so you don’t have to go back and forth from the center during the middle of the day.
Getting to Aix-en-Provence
Whether you are arriving by car, train, or bus, there are several ways to get to Aix-en-Provence.
Getting to Aix-en-Provence by car
Driving to Aix-en-Provence is a great option if you want more flexibility during your day trip. If you are planning to visit several cities in Provence, then renting a car is the best and most convenient way to get around the region.
Parking in Aix is fairly simple. There are several parking garages located near the old town, just a short walk from the center. Just search for “parking Aix-en-Provence” in Google Maps and plenty of options will show up.
We parked in the parking pasteur lot located near the Atelier Cézanne and would recommend parking here if you’re starting your day off at the museum.
You can easily book your car through Discover Cars, our go-to site for rental cars in Europe.
Getting to Aix-en-Provence by train
Trains in France are reliable and easy to navigate. We would recommend taking the train to Aix-en-Provence if you are arriving from another major city in the area, like Marseille or Nice.
There are two train stations in Aix-en-Provence
- Gare d’Aix-en-Provence
- Aix-en-Provence TGV
Make sure to book your ticket to arrive at the Gare d’Aix-en-Provence, as this is the station that is closest to the city center. The TGV station is the high-speed rail station, and it is located 16km southwest of the city.
You can either book your tickets at the train station or online at SNCF. We recommend booking your tickets online at least 3 weeks in advance to get the best prices.
Getting to Aix-en-Provence by bus
FlixBus is a great option to use if you’re traveling on a budget. It has a few routes that go to Aix-en-Provence from some of the larger cities like Nice, Lyon, and Paris.
This is the least convenient option, and we’d only recommend this if you’re trying to save money, as the train is the best public transport option.
One Day in Aix-en-Provence FAQ
Is it worth visiting Aix-en-Provence?
Yes, Aix-en-Provence is most definitely worth visiting! It is one of the most beautiful towns in southern France with plenty of sights to explore within the city.
Can you walk around Aix-en-Provence?
Yes, Aix-en-Provence is a small and walkable city. Most sights are within 15-minutes walking distance from each other, so there is no need to rent a car if you are only visiting Aix.
What is the best village base in Provence?
Aix-en-Provence is one of the best places to base yourself in Provence. We spent two weeks in Aix while visiting the Luberon Valley and the towns on the French Riviera. Its close proximity to many different attractions makes it an ideal place to stay while exploring the area.
More information for your Provence, France Trip
ARLES: Planning to visit Arles? Check out our post on How to Spend One Day in Arles
AVIGNON: Looking to discover the region near Avignon? Read about the best Day Trips from Avignon
FRANCE TRAVEL PLANNING GUIDE
France Travel Insurance – Should you get travel insurance for France? YES! We always purchase travel insurance before all of our trips just in case anything happens. Check out Safety Wing to find the best plan for you.
France Rental Cars – Is it safe to rent a car in France? Yes! We’ve rented a car in France too many times to count, and it’s definitely the most convenient way to get around the countryside. We rented our car through Discover Cars (our go-to rental agency), which helps you find the best rates no matter where you are traveling.
France Phone Plans – If your phone plan does not offer free coverage in France, then we suggest getting an eSIM. We used Airalo during our trip to France, and we had fantastic coverage the entire time. It’s easy to download and you can even top up via the app if needed.
France Hotels – Wondering where to book your accommodations for France? We’ve been reserving all of our hotels through Booking for years. Their messaging tool makes it easy to communicate with the hotels, and there are endless options to choose from