Aix-en-Provence, located about 470 miles south of Paris and about 20 north of Marseilles and the Mediterranean coast, has a different look and vibe than Paris. It’s tile roofs, stucco walls and narrow winding streets – any of which are for foot traffic only – announce its Mediterranean roots. The center of Aix clearly caters to tourists, with its many boutiques and high end departments stores. But tucked in to every street and alley, you can find amazing local artisans, restaurants and markets that have interesting and exquisite wares for sale. Every street and plaza has a fountain, statue or tower commemorating a saint, event or great personage. We loved our stay in Aix-en-Provence!

Fun fact: Trash and glass for recycling from our lodging were dropped off at receptacles that looked similar to postal boxes. You opened the door, dropped your bags of trash or bottles in the bin, and when you closed the door, they dropped down a shoot into an underground vault. The collection truck came through about 6 a.m. each morning (noisily) to collect the contents.

Good King Rene, who, among other good works, brought grapes/wine to Aix.
Hotel de Ville, Aix-en-Provence.
Memorial outside Hotel de Ville in honor of the victims of the June 12, 2016, Orlando nightclub shooting.
The Belfry, or bell tower, in Place de l’Hotel de Ville, is next to the City Hall. It was built in 1510, and the astronomic clock was added in 1661. The base of the tower is composed of white limestone blocks, believed to be taken from an ancient Roman edifice. See,
Plaque in the archway of the Belfry honoring the U.S. Infantry’s efforts, in coordination with the French Resistance, to liberate the city on August 21,1944.
Sign in a back street in Aix for the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, serving the poor and disadvantaged.
Locally produced jams for sale at the open-air market.
Meats and cheeses for sale at the open-air market.
Savory salsa and pesto offered in the open air market.
Jazz in the afternoon for the grand opening of a new vine bar.
Colorful evening at one of many small restaurants tucked into every conceivable nook and cranny.
Apologies for the poor photo quality, but look in the background – there is a crush of young people in the alley late on a Saturday night.
Even the alley behind our rented apartment was lovely and full of life.