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Aix-en-Provence

Once the capital of Provence, the city lies around 30km to the north of Marseille and has a population of around 145,000. Contained with the department of Bouches-du-Rhone in the region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur it really is a spectacular place to visit.


It's a charming city, with wonderful architecture and amazing buildings to enjoy, especially when the Provencal sun shines down from a perfectly blue sky overhead.


But be wary, you are also in the realms of the Mistral, a strong wind that comes down off the mountains, so on some days looks can be deceptive and there can be a chill in the air.


However, you won't find the chill on the narrow streets of Aix-en-Provence with all the buildings and their eye-catching yellow walls.

the streets of Aix en Provence

Aix-en-Provence is a university city and whilst the architecture is old and quaint there is certainly an air of exuberance and excitement as you walk around its streets. It's certainly not just a place for old folk.


Yellow-clad walls adorn the buildings and some of the architecture and detail are quite amazing, especially when lined up alongside the cobbles and trees of the main square.

the streets of Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence was the birthplace of Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne and you can see why he loved the place, the light is almost perfect and he captured many scenes from the city.


He seemed to have a fascination for the white limestone mountain Sainte-Victoire which overlooks the city - painting this multiple times in different settings and times of the day.


Similar to the Catalan region in Spain, the Provencal people have a fierce feeling of identity, and lots of the street signs are shown in two sets of languages to help reinforce that.

the streets of Aix-en-Provence

You can explore the streets of Aix-en-Provence at your leisure. It was quiet in terms of traffic and people, despite being in the middle of the tourist season when we visited.


Lots of quaint shops and typical French shops line the roads, and you will find yourself ambling along and stopping as you find something of interest in one of the windows, quite often delicious food!

the streets of Aix en Provence

Modern city establishments such as pharmacies sit alongside great little places like the one below, all planned out with precision and care for the history and heritage of the place.

the streets of Aix-en-Provence

The above image also highlights one of the quirks of Aix-en-Provence, which dates back hundreds of years. If you look on the first floor you will notice a complete difference in the size of the windows.


The following image highlights it even more when you look at the top floor, not only are the windows smaller, but at the very end, two of them are bricked up.


It seemed strange to me until it was explained that back when the Royalists from Paris took over the region, they implemented a "window tax" as a means of collecting revenue.


The thought process was that the bigger the house you had, the more wealth you had, and the bigger the house, the more windows you had - so they operated a tax on the person directly relative to the size and number of windows they had on their property.


The Provencal people were having none of that - so they reduced the size of their windows and in some cases, simply bricked them up.

the streets of Aix-en-Provence

The city of Aix-en-Provence is a really interesting and relaxing place to visit, lots of cafes and restaurants adorn the squares and streets and the whole place feels very friendly and welcoming.


Take a trip and enjoy!


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