Friday, 15 June 2012

France 5 - Aix en Provence - another great experience!

On Saturday, 9th June, my daughter and I set out to Aix en Provence, 45km inland.
The city is totally different from Marseille just 32km away, in fact it´s as if they were in two different countries. Aix is very upmarket and expensive, the buildings are just a few floors high, all in the traditional pastel colours of Provence, but a very clean and tidy city unlike Marseille.

We wanted to do a tourist bus tour of the town, but unfortunately on that day they weren´t working. So we did the next best thing - we had seen these tiny 7 passenger buses driving around the narrow inner city roads - and we hopped on one of them. They are even allowed on the pedestrian only lanes.
The tiny mini buses that have 3 routes around the town
We paid our 50cent fare, which entitles passengers to 1hour travel, and took  route A. The passengers are allowed to climb in and out anywhere along that route, the buses come along every 10 minutes, and this facilitates people doing their shopping and then being dropped close to their residence. Back in the city centre, as our ticket was still valid for another half an hour, we climbed on another mini-bus did route B. It was a way to see part of the city, without a tourist commentary though...

Beautiful wrought iron work atop this church tower
 On Saturdays they hold various markets in the historical centre and we visited 3 of them - flower market, fresh food market (fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat) and a clothing market.
The riot of smells and colours are amazing and you feel like buying the lot. The fruit was good and cheap and I found a great variety of flowers and plants, also very cheap, comparing to Australian prices of course.
Don´t you love the dotted colourful tablecloths?

Flower market

Apricots, strawberries and cherries everywhere!

Uhmm, the cheeses...

Spices galore, the smell was great!
Aix en Provence was the birthplace of Paul Cezanne, and where he lived after studying Fine arts in Paris. There are a few tours to visit his place of residence and art museums, but we were there just for a few hours, so had no time to do any of the cultural tours. 
The gardens around Aix are also very pretty and there are a lot of mansions with gardens that can be visited.


  1. It all looks immaculate. Glad you're having a good time.

  2. Don't you just love the markets in Provence! The smell and colours make your senses sing!

  3. I have been in Aix-en-Provence already, but I didn't see those WONDERFUL markets, nor the mini-buses.
    Thanks for sharing so useful information. I loved your photos of the markets. They seem so exotic!

  4. Thanks Joanne, I really enjoyed Aix.
    Carole - the colours and smells in the markets were wonderful, felt like buying it all!
    Sandra - I´m not sure, but I have the feeling the markets were on Saturday only. There was also a crafts market that we didn´t visit. Maybe the mini-buses were a recent addition, their main stop was near the big fountain in the centre.

  5. Hi Sami, have just enjoyed reading about your trip from the beginning until fabulous! Hope you have enjoyed the warm weather and are ready to face a Perth winter. It will be sad for you to say goodbye to your daughter, but how nice knowing that you can go and visit again.

  6. Hi Grace, yes it´s always sad to leave our kids and family behind, fortunately nowadays the distance is made shorter with modern technologies! Hope it´s not too cold by the time I get back...

  7. I love those mini buses! They sound really cute and useful. That market would have been amazing to see.


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