Updated: Jun 29
My name is Virginie Van Der Wees. I am a French teacher for non-French speakers. I live in Aix-en-Provence. Every morning, it's a pleasure to wake up and tell myself that I live at the foot of the Sainte-Victoire mountain, 25 minutes from Aix-en-Provence.
Aix-en Provence, a daily pleasure
I love coming for a walk in Aix-en-Provence during mid-season (fall or spring) when the streets are quieter.
There is often a musician on the Cours Mirabeau: a pianist, an accordionist, etc.
Markets are held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning.
I often stop to shop: buy pottery, Provencal tablecloths or even soaps.
On the Cours Mirabeau, there is a market for clothes, tablecloths, soaps, etc.
On the Place du Palais de Justice, you can find pottery, fruits and vegetables.
Other fruit and vegetable stalls can be found on Place Richelme, next to the Post Office, which is located in the old grain market.
A flower market also takes place three times a week on the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville.
Every minute at the market is a joy for the eyes, ears and nose.
Aix-en Provence, city of history
Aix-en-Provence is a city full of charm which attracts many tourists every year.
The latter like to stroll in the alleys, enjoy the terraces and shop.
But these tourists don't come just for that.
Aix-en-Provence is also a city of history.
In the old city, you can find monuments along the alleys such as the Cathedral Saint-Sauveur.
Built on the site of a Roman Forum, this cathedral bears witness to several centuries of history and therefore contains several architectural styles.
Its baptistery was built at the end of the 5th century, beginning of the 6th. It is one of the last to be used in France.
There are still many other chapels, churches and museums to discover.
It is best to take advantage of an immersion in Provence to see it for yourself.
Aix-en-Provence, a tourist city but not only
Aix is also a university town. I don't know very well because I studied there for three years.
Aix-en-Provence has had a universtity for 600 years.
Originally, the students studied theology and law there.
Today AMU (Aix-Marseille-University) is the largest French-speaking university in France.
Aix-en-Provence, city of art
Cézanne was born in Aix in 1839. He lived there most of his life and died there in 1906.
He is one of the most famous French impressionist painters.
He is even considered to be the precursor of post-impressionism and cubism.
Picasso said of him: "the father of us all!"
He was a friend of Emile Zola until 1886, when the latter's novel called L’Oeuvre was published in which Paul Cézanne recognized himself and felt humiliated.
Long misunderstood, Cézanne will meet with success belatedly.
Aix is the city that inspired Cézanne.
Cézanne et moi! :-)
And for good reason, he will paint more than 80 canvases of the Sainte-Victoire Mountain.
Moreover, his workshop still exists on the Lauves hill.
It is possible to visit it all year round.
Aix-en-Provence, city of a thousand fountains
Aix-en-Provence is often called "the city of a thousand fountains".
Founded in 122 BC by the Roman consul Gaius Sextius Calvinus C, Aix en Provence has the old name Aquae Sextiae.
Aquae Sectiae means city of water.
It is nicknamed the city of 1000 water fountains.
Yet there are only about forty. Aix is a very famous spa town.
In the 1st century Aquae Sextiae began to draw water from aqueducts.
At that time, the water fountains, built by Roman engineers, were used mainly to supply drinking water to the population.
In the 17th century, the water fountains of Aix became decorative and architectural elements.
Some are even declared as historical monuments such as the water fountain of the Town Hall in 1905.
The Rotonde water fountain is undoubtedly the most famous. Created in 1860, Théophile de Tournadre, it marks the entrance to Cours Mirabeau.
At its top are three statues representing justice, agriculture and the fine arts, the three main activities of the city.
The total circumference of the monument is 43m and the height of the water jets is 12m.
The basin is surrounded by four groups of two lions. Inside, cherubs ride swans.
Long called the Three Graces, this water fountain is fed by water from the Verdon.
The most atypical is certainly the Moussue fountain.
Its hot water (18 °) comes from the Bagnier spring.
This fountain is the work of the architect Fossé in 1667.
It is impossible today to know exactly the ornament of this water fountain because a thick foam covers all of it.
Aix is my favorite city. That’s why I always have a lot of fun receiving students in immersion course and sharing my love for this city and its region with them.
If you come to my place for an immersion stay in Provence, I will make you discover the different aspects of Provence: the landscapes and the scents, but also the culture, the gastronomy... while helping you to improve your French. See you soon in Provence!
Virginie In Provence