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Aix En Provence Hotels France

City of water springs, city of Art, Aix en Provence marvelously exemplifies the Provençal art of living so admired by the rest of the world. The boulevards shaded by majestic sycamores, the streets bordered by rich private residences, the discreet squares ornamented with beautiful fountains and garnished with welcoming sidewalk cafés, Aix inevitably seduces those who take the time to linger. Cultural capital, Aix en Provence welcomes many artists. Cezanne made it his city, and the surrounding countryside inspired some of his greatest impressionist masterpieces.

The beauty of Aix-en-Provence, city of art, reveals itself just by wandering about. As you walk about the famous Cours Mirabeau, shaded by an archway of sycamores, you can admire private mansions and public monuments - the Town Hall, the former Archbishops' Palace, Saint Sauveur Cathedral, the Vendome Pavilion. Squares, ornament by fountains, are also enchanting spots to discover as you stroll along. At the entrance to Aix, you will find the Vasarely Foundation, founded by the unequaled master of geometric abstract, inventor of optical art, who wanted to reconcile modern art with architecture and urbanism. Aix enjoys an exceptional geographic location and the picturesque charm of the surrounding villages will pleasantly surprise you, as well its magnificent landscape immortalized by painters such as Cezanne, Picasso and Kandinsky. You can't miss spotting the sharp summits of the Sainte-Victoire Mountain, paradise for hikers and climbers. In the heart of a nature reserve, from its summit you can behold a magnificent panoramic view of the whole region.

Aix En Provence Tourist Attractions

Archevêché (L')

The former Archbishops' Palace on what is now the Place des Martyrs-de-la-Résistance, adjoins St-Sauveur Cathedral. The building was built between 1650 and 1730 and has a beautiful Regency-style door attributed to the sculptor Toro. On the first floor is the Museum of Tapestry. The archbishopric involved both ecclesiastical and political honour for the archbishops and this splendid residence is suitably palatial.

Cloître (Le)

Serenity in the heart of the old town:
This cloister dates from the 12th century and although small has a rare elegance and lightness of touch. The serene atmosphere is enhanced by the decorative motifs drawn from the animal and plant world as well as from the Gospels. The light plays through the lines of columns and the vaulted arches.

Cours Mirabeau (Le)

The main street in town:
It was on the site of the destroyed former ramparts that, in 1651, the Provence Parliament decided to create a thoroughfare that would allow carriages to cross the town. The avenue owes its name to Mirabeau, the worthy champion of those who were persecuted in the town after the French Revolution of 1789. With a length of 440m and a width that varies between 38m and 44m, the dimensions of the Cours feel almost perfect. The plane trees, planted in 1830, and the incessant gushing of the fountains are like milestones along the route and give it a legendary atmosphere of freshness.

Eglise Saint-Jean-de-Malte

Christian heritage:
The military order of the Hospitaliers de St-Jean-de-Jérusalem (later of Malta), founded this command centre in 1180. In 1272 and 1646 it underwent alterations and became a church. The stark façade's only openings are two rose windows. The arrow-shape of the bell-tower is in keeping with the architectural style of the Popes of Avignon. Inside, the central Gothic nave houses the tomb of the Counts of Provence. This splendid monument is to be found on the northern edge of the town between the Mazarin district and the Cours Mirabeau.

Eglise de la Madeleine

Famous church in the historic center:
This former monastery originally lay outside the city walls in 1274. It was totally reconstructed between 1691 and 1703 and its façade features a monumental retable by the sculptor Revoi depicting the Annunciation. The interior is vast yet simple, reflecting the Dominican spirit. The church houses some art works of great importance like the exceptional retable of the Annunciation dating from 1443 and the statue on the altar of Notre-dame des Grâces, donated by Saint Bonaventura. Hangings, stained-glass windows and paintings can all be discovered in a peaceful atmosphere beneath the high vaulted ceilings.

Fontaine d'Eau Chaude

Strange fountain in the heart of town:
This mossy fountain (called the fountain of hot water) has stood in the centre of Cours Mirabeau since 1731. Its strange appearance with irregular shapes of moss and stone are reminiscent of some mysterious, miniature grotto. As soon as the weather gets cold, it starts to steam, the temperature of the water being higher than the air outside.

Fontaine de la Rotonde

A prestigious fountain:
Erected in 1860 at the entrance of the present Cours Mirabeau, this fountain is one of the distinctive features of this spa town. Recently renovated and cleaned after years of neglect, the bronze lions with their striking manes and the three pale and elegant statues all sparkle once again. Swans ridden by stone cherubs verse fresh water gently from their beaks. The water comes from the town's abundant underground source. At nightfall, this square is beautifully lit and allows both visitors and locals to enjoy its peace and beauty.

Fontaine des Quatre-Dauphins

An ode to nature:
In the heart of the pedestrian centre lies Place des Quatre Dauphins and the fountain of the same name, erected in 1667 and designed by Rambot. Four dolphins, each looking around a mysteriously inscribed obelisk, leap above a small circular pond filled with clear water. The romantic setting reminds one of those old cloak and dagger films. A stroll in this square under the shade of the plane trees to the sound of fresh running water is very pleasant indeed, particularly on sultry summer days.

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