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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in aix-en-provence
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Aix-en-Provence (usually simply called Aix) is a small, classically Provençal town, famous for being home to Cezanne; 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. The Université de Provence also has several schools there, and adding that to several French-language schools for international students produces 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). Whereas Marseille is one the poorest french cities (but still a unique and not to be missed town), Aix is perhaps one the richest ! People seeking for budget or popular places should continue to Marseille... Still, Aix has a lot to offer. It is quiet, clean and comfortable city. The city center is mostly pedestrian and, though it is quite small (you can cross the center in 15 minutes by feet), offers long hours of nice walks. As all provençal towns the city center consists of narrows streets but unlike other towns, it has several examples of architectural jewels, from 17th century hotels to paved plazas. Place d'Albertas, close to cours Mirabeau is one of the most beautiful plazas in Aix and is a must-see.
If you come from anywhere up north you will most likely use the A7 motorway (Route du Soleil) that runs from Lyon to Marseille (whether you come from Switzerland or from the UK via Paris). At exit 27, take A8 (La Provencale) to Aix. From Spain, you'll take A9 (La Languedocienne), then turn onto A54 through the city of Arles (you might consider stopping there), then turn onto A7 and A8 respectively, as described above. From Italy, just take A8 passing Nice and all the posh Côte d'Azur resorts.
Avoiding toll roads can be slow but highly pleasurable, many of the routes nationales offer wonderful scenery that motorways can't deliver (save maybe some parts of the A8 east of Nice).
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). Avoid restaurants and bars on the Cours Mirabeau. They are quite expensive and kind of "tourist traps".
"Chez Charlotte" on rue des Bernardines is a very good restaurant very famous for locals. It proposes simple and reasonably cheap French food in a friendly atmosphere. Around 15 euros for a usual menu.
Like restaurants there are plenty of bars, pubs, night-clubs, etc... in Aix. A nice and cheap place to have a drink is the Bar de La Mairie on Place de la Mairie.