Aix en Provence

City of a thousand fountains, Aix is a fantastic place to stay for a few days. Explore the bustling old town with its markets and arty boutiques or simply sit watching the world go by at a pavement café on the elegant Cours Mirabeau.

Definitely my favourite restaurant is Villa Gallici on avenue de la violette. Although it’s got two Michelin stars it’s not stuffy and the food is absolutely delicious. It sits in its own gardens slightly outside the city centre, so is a very calm and tranquil spot for lunch.

For less formal eating, the Forum des Cardeurs off the place de l’hotel de ville has a great selection of restaurants serving everything from Moroccan specialities to seafood.

Aix has a wide selection of boutiques selling everything from handicrafts to designer bags. Some of my favourites are La Victoire on place Richelme which sells a good range of Provencal fabrics, Ginkgo on rue Chabrier for interesting home furnishings and Robert Clergerie on rue Marius Reinaud for designer shoes. And of course there’s the big market on Wednesdays and Saturdays choc-a-bloc with stalls selling everything from pottery and baskets to artisan foods.

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