City breaks to Aix-en-Provence showcase French chic at its finest, plus doses of history, style, café culture and student nightlife.

City breaks to Aix-en-Provence

Aix – pronounced like the letter X – is a university city in the south of France, just outside Marseille. But despite its educational ties, don’t expect a quiet, studious stay. L’art de vivre – the art of living – is everywhere in this stylish town, with sunny squares and Insta-worthy cafés around every corner. The pedestrian lanes are full of outdoor markets, glamorous boutiques and historic houses, while after dark, that student nightlife wakes up, with stylish bars and restaurants in the old town and beyond. Plus, there’s plenty of hype about the local wine scene. If that still feels a little suburban, the nearest beach, Plage des Catalans in Marseille, is just a 45-minute drive away and has sun and sand on tap.

Stroll the Cours Mirabeau

The main road through the city centre, Cours Maribeau, strikes a path from east to west, and is lined with grand, picturesque houses and patches of greenery. On the northern side of the street, you’ll find cute cafés with outdoor dining areas, while the southern side boasts better architecture, meaning you’ll need to wander in both directions to take it all in. The weekly markets on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays bring extra vendors of all types to the boulevard, too.

At a Glance

  • Sip espresso in one of the café-filled squares
  • Shop the weekly markets on the glamorous Cours Mirabeau
  • Admire the historic buildings in the old town of Vieil Aix