Aix-en-Provence has many places to have breakfast and brunch, ranging from reputed European chains and bars in grand squares to cafés with great coffee and a delivery firm that brings you brunch in bed.
Le Pain Quotidien is a Belgian chain that is very well known throughout Europe and has many branches in the U.S. It literally means “the daily bread” which is what it provides to its customers in droves. The one in Aix is situated in Place Richelme, where the daily market is held, and queues for seats can be long—it’s best to put your name down, leave one unfortunate person from your group there to wait, and potter around the market. It does brunch, tartines (open sandwiches), salads, and eggs but its specialty is the Belgian waffles, which come complete with in-house chocolate spreads of varying kinds. The managers are friendly and the staff attentive. What more could you want?
Locals love the Belgian waffles and hanging out watching the market with great coffee and wine |Courtesy of Le Pain Quotidien, Aix-en-Provence
Mana Espresso has some of the best coffee in Aix—locals find it hard to say otherwise. For the past 18 months or so, owners Alex and Ben have been welcoming people into their cozy café to serve tartines (open sandwiches), vegan-friendly cakes, and brunch. The vibe is relaxed, the service friendly and the food is of great value and delicious. It can be hard to get a table so best to book for a guaranteed reservation. Check out Facebook for daily specials.
Maison Nosh is a concept restaurant, where they’ve taken the classic hot dog idea and evolved it into chic, gourmet heaven. They sell two kinds of hot dog, a classic with cheddar cheese or a daily special. Try one of their English Muffins with salmon, tuna, chicken, or eggs, or opt for their breakfast menu of pancakes or chakchouka (the deliciously spicy, Lebanese tomato, and egg breakfast dish). The décor is clean, simple, and relaxed. They have two restaurants in town, so there are tw brunch options. The one on Cours Sextius is €23, and has two sittings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The one on Cours Mirabeau is €18 and starts from 11 a.m. onwards. The menus are slightly different. It’s the new darling of Aix’s fast-casual restaurant scene and well worth checking out.
The Café Le Verdun is a bit of a chameleon, changing color depending on the time of day. First thing in the morning, you’ll find people sitting happily by themselves, enjoying a croissant, a coffee, and reading the paper. By midday, lunch will bring in office workers or groups of friends who later make way for the apéro crowd (pre-dinner drinks). They don’t have a particular brunch menu but you can choose something off their normal menu (a salad niçoise or a burger) or just have some warm croissants in the morning. It’s situated in the Place des Precheurs, opposite the elegant law courts, which at the time of writing is being completely pedestrianized to encourage a greater café culture.
O’Bagel in Aix is one of a number of bagel restaurants that have sprung up into an ever competitive lunch scene. It is one of the oldest though, and lots of residents think it’s the best. It has a few indoor and outdoor tables, and the menu contains a dozen bagels. They come with chips and salad if you want and of course, the obligatory dessert—carrot cake or chocolate brownies. Delicious.
Papilles by Laurane is a lunchtime café with a twist. When you enter, you order a number of small rolls with the fillings you want by marking them down on a sheet. There’s a huge array of choice, from hams and cheeses to salads and vegetables, in a variety of combinations. Both the inside and outside tables are always popular, as are the desserts.
La Fromagerie opened a few years ago but has become an institution in a very short period of time. It’s a cheese shop and a wine shop rolled into one that also does amazing meats. Upstairs, you’ll find the restaurant where—every Sunday—you can have brunch between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for €28. The menu is heavily influenced by cheese and wine, as you’d expect for its grand reputation in both things.
BigBrod is an open-canteen style affair selling tartines—what it calls the street food of Aix. Tartines are open sandwiches, served with either hot or cold ingredients, like mozzarella and freshly-made cream cheese or chicken and rocket. There are a few outside tables or a long, shared table inside. Check out their Facebook page for details.
Maybe you don’t want to go out to brunch? If you’re in Aix or the surrounding area, you can call Brunch Me Up’ and they’ll deliver brunch to your door, home-made and fresh. They use seasonal and local ingredients. Prices start at €8 for a pastry or jam tartine with a drink but you can also order bagels, salads, yogurts, and other desserts. This is a perfect way to begin a lazy morning, without having to move at all.
You can order a wide range of yummy breakfast and brunch items within a 15 km radius of Aix-en-Provence |Courtesy of Brunch Me Up’
Bagelstein is just one of many bagel restaurants to open in the last couple of years in Aix. This is fast-food breakfast when you don’t have much time and need a reliable bagel to keep you going til lunch that is reasonably healthy. French bagels are much different than the traditional bagels you find in New York or London; they’re more like baguette bread but bagel-shaped.