Aix-en-Provence had 444 restaurants at the last official count and here’s the best of the cheaper, local ones that offer something different or better to the usual fast food chains that you’ll find everywhere else.
You’ll be sure to find all the usual fast food chains and cheap eats in Aix as well as a new explosion of bagel restaurants that are dotted around town, but here are the ones where only the locals go – that offer great value using local ingredients.
Ever since it opened 18 months ago, Mana Espresso has been flying the flag for good coffee in Aix, and most people (by a mile) think it’s the best in town. It also does vegan cakes and very reasonable tartines (an open sandwich coated with yummy vegetables, like avocados for example). It’s called Mana after the Mana Pools National Park along the Zambezi river, where the owners, Alex and Ben, spent an extraordinary camping holiday. They have all the Harry Potter books to read while you hang out and it’s one of the few coffee shops open all day on Sundays, and it has WiFi. Check out Facebook for daily specials.
The library in Aix is one of the nicest places to work, for free. Tucked away to the side, outside, is its restaurant, the Bistro Méjanes. If you sit down to eat, it’s about the same price as most other brasseries in town, but you can also order very cheap sandwiches to take away for €3. They don’t list them on the menu so you’ll need to ask at the bar, but they’re always very fresh and the service is friendly.
Open a few years ago, Via Italia is regarded as one of the best value Italian places in town. What’s more, you can get a piadina (an Italian folded crepe, stuffed with vegetables and pesto) for under €5. It’s cosy, with a few tables inside and a few outside, where you can watch the owners prepare the fresh pasta (with daily sauce choices) or cooking the piadinas. The staff are very friendly and the Italian desserts to die for. Check out Facebook for up-to-date menus and news.
The Italian restaurant, Piacere, has raving fans because of its high quality Italian food (fresh pasta and piadinas) but also because of the affordable prices. Try a piadina for €5 or a tasty fresh pasta menu for €6.50. It’s in the centre of Aix with upstairs, downstairs and outside seating. The clientele are hip and the waiters young and friendly.
This little restaurant isn’t much bigger than a hole in the wall but it does have about four seats inside and 20 or so outside. It’s fast food but one of the best in Aix, which you’ll be able to tell during term time when you see the queues of students at lunchtime. The menu is €6 for a burger or falafel with fries or €6.50 with a drink. The owner is very friendly and will happily cook your meal exactly the way that you like it (no pickles, extra mustard, no sauce, etc.) which isn’t always true in the south of France. A firm favourite for no-nonsense fast food.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.