France commune

How to Honeymoon in Aix-en-Provence, France

Aix-ex-Provence – or simply Aix, as the cool kids call it – is probably one of the most charming towns in the south of France. The Provençal city-commune is an essential destination for honeymooners passing through Provence or those looking for a more relaxed weekend away from the City of Light. Birthplace of Paul Cézanne, the father of modern art, you’ll find art galleries, quaint markets and beautiful gardens in this historic city. It’s kind of relaxed, but also buzzing with energy at night thanks to the local student population.

Newlyweds can start their day with a coffee and a croissant at one of the city’s many sidewalk cafes before taking a slow stroll through the narrow, sunny streets. The afternoons, in our opinion, are best spent relaxing in one of Aix’s wonderful spas before ending the day with a good meal and a glass of Côtes de Provence wine.

How to get there

Aix is ​​20 miles north of Marseille and Marseille Provence airport. A 30 minute shuttle journey will cost you just under €9 each way. A dozen trains also make the Paris-Aix journey daily, with the high-speed option taking less than three hours. Book ahead as the itinerary tends to book up quickly and gets more and more expensive, especially in the summer.

What to do

Remedies

The natural thermal baths of Aix date back several centuries. Sextius Baths is a modern spa built above an old Roman bath in downtown Hotel Aquabella. The Package “They love each other”which includes a massage, scrub, and all-day spa access, can fill an entire day when you and bae are just looking to relax.

Spend the rest of your time together in Aix exploring the Granet Museum, an impressive museum – and one of the first in France – which houses works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse and, of course, local celebrity Cézanne. The post-impressionist painter’s studio is small but also worth a visit. Then, walk past the bustling shops of the Old Town until you reach Richelme Roastery, a one-of-a-kind place that any coffee lover will admire. Here, you can watch the roasting process and experience the best of French coffee culture by sitting outside and trying one of their 20 excellent coffee varieties.

If you’re feeling adventurous, hire a car to explore the surrounding countryside and, if you’re lucky enough to be there in June, to snap a coveted photo in one of the area’s many lavender fields. One of our favorites is at the front of the Abbey of Our Lady of Senanquea 12th century abbey, which is also worth budgeting in time to visit.

Where to stay

Philippe Dignon

Housed in an 18th century country estate, Pigonnet has been a hotel for 90 years. You will love the location – within walking distance of the center of Aix – and the beautiful gardens. It’s as if a French fairy tale had come to life here, built on four acres of flower gardens, flower arches, chestnut trees, pergolas and fountains. The romantic property has 49 rooms and suites of varying styles and sizes. Priced at around $168 a night, guests love the service and the mix of modern luxury and old-fashioned charm. Warning: you may not want to leave the property.

Named after the most famous son of Aix, the boutique Hotel Cezanne is a cheaper option, with rooms starting around $130 a night. Right in the center of Aix, the location of the Cézanne is the main attraction of the hotel. Some of the hotel’s 55 rooms are a little on the small side (this is Europe after all), but the price and top-notch service make up for what the rooms lack in size.

Where to eat

Dan Kody

Chef Ronan Kernan uses the best ingredients Aix’s local markets have to offer for the creative and feisty cuisine found at Courtyard side. Fresh, seasonal dishes are accompanied by a wide selection of wines in a modern setting, complete with an intimate courtyard. Think: foie gras, pancakes (of course), nut-crusted lamb and sea bass tenderloin.

Without sounding too cliché, the words ‘hidden’ and ‘gem’ certainly come to mind when thinking about how to describe The Caves Henri IV by the Formal. Jean-Luc Le Formal’s secluded restaurant is tucked away in a 15th-century cellar on Rue Espariat in the city center. Our advice: opt for the seven-course tasting menu.