Private Aix En Provence Introduction
After meeting your driver/guide on the pier in Marseille, your private group of no more than eight guests will drive from the coast to the charming city of Aix en Provence, (Aix) approximately 50 minutes drive away. Along the way, your driver/guide will give you information about the area and the town you will be visiting. Aix was founded in 123 BC by the Romans, is the former medieval capital of Provence, and boasts elegant 16 - 18th century architecture, wide tree-lined boulevards, charming cafes, and shopping opportunities. You will soon see why it was a place of inspiration for artists such as Cezanne and writers including Hemingway.
Upon arrival, you will be dropped off next to the Rotonde Square, where the "Rotunda Fountain" erected in 1860 and the largest in the city, is located. From here, it is a short walk to the Cours Mirabeau, the city's "Main" street. You will have approximately 2 hours of free time during which you will be able to stroll through the Old Town and see such sites as the stunning 12th-century cathedral Saint-Sauveur, with architecture styles from the 5th to 17th century. The Hotel de Ville, a classical style building from the middle of the 17th century, overlooks the place de l'Hotel de Ville square, a wonderful place for watching the locals. At its side rises a clock-tower first built in 1510. Other buildings of note include the ornately decorated former Corn Exchange (17th century), the 1705 spa built near the remains of the ancient Roman baths of Sextius.
South of the Cours Mirabeau is the Quartier Mazarin. This residential district was constructed for the gentry of Aix in the last half of the 17th century and contains several notable grand townhouses. Here you can also find the church of Saint-Jean-de-Malte (13th century) and the Musee Granet, devoted to European painting and sculpture. Nestled in between all this charming architecture are the markets, galleries, antique emporiums and cafes.
Aix is often referred to as the city of a thousand fountains, as you will begin to see as you walk down the Cours Mirabeau. During your stroll you may see the 17th century Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins (Fountain of the Four Dolphins) in the Quartier Mazarin, as well as other fountains of note in the Place d'Albertas and the Place des Trois-Ormeaux. Some date back to the Romans.
At the appointed time, you will meet your driver / guide for the drive back to the cruise pier.
Please Note: Vehicles available for this tour accommodate groups of up to 8 passengers maximum. Please take this information into consideration and divide your group as necessary if you have more than 8 passengers in your group.
Aix En Provence is such a cute town. Just didn't have enough time to explore. It's a long, but scenic drive to and from the ship, though, and we enjoyed seeing the countryside.