Old Town is a must-visit for wandering the streets; it’s where you’ll find the best selection of shops and cafés/bars. If you get lost in the old part of town, always head downhill and you’ll end up on the Cours Mirabeau at the fountain La Rotonde.
Head to the daily market in Place Richelme and then grab a drink at the Duplex or L’Horloge bars in the same square to watch the world go by. Then potter the independent fashion boutiques and macaron shops. At night, this is the main heart of Aix too, particularly for dinner at one of the restaurants on Place des Cardeurs.
The Mazarin is the largely residential district of the oldest part of Aix (rue Mazarine is at its centre). It’s full of beautiful houses that don’t look like much from the outside but enter a small garage door and you’ll find a swimming pool and old townhouse on the other side. The area is great for roaming about. Have a drink at A Casa or a meal at the La Dolce Italia on the rue d’Italie. Both are beloved by locals. If you’re looking for culture, head to the Musée Granet for Cézanne’s work or you’ll find new exhibitions of photographs or sculptures in the Hôtel de Gallifet art centre. If you’re looking to read some English books, Book In Bar lets you sit for hours over the latest English language newspapers. The Hôtel Caumont is the new trendy museum/art gallery opposite; the entry fee is pretty pricey but the gardens are a great place to read or hang out once you’ve paid for your ticket.
When you’ve had enough of city life, head to the Parc de la Torse, which unsurprisingly follows the Torse river along its course. It’s where locals meet on Sundays to picnic or where people go jogging or take fitness classes outdoors. There are no shops of any kind to find food or drink so make sure you’ve bought provisions beforehand for your picnic.
La Rotonde/Les Allées Provençales
Les Allées Provençales is the new part of town, built as an extension of the shops in Old Town, when the bus station was relocated to a purpose built site. This is where you’ll find all the major international chains like H&M, Zara and cosmetics giant, Sephora. The square, Place François Villon has a good café to watch the world go by. If you walk on ten minutes you’ll get to the Conservatoire (which boasts the largest water fountain in Europe) or the bus station which has the largest green wall in the region. Neither are worth going to just to see them individually but they’re impressive when you see them as you pass.