After spending a three days in Avignon in the spring of 2012, we continued on to Aix-en-Provence, about a 1-2 hour drive away. We decided to take the longer route and stop in a few places around the hill towns of Luberon. Unfortunately, none of us were super excited about the first town, so we decided to change our plans. We had also thought about overshooting Aix and seeing Marseille first, but as it turns out, we decided just to head straight to Aix. We planned to spend a single day and night there.
On arrival, we set out to explore the town. Unlike some of our previous places, this one did not have Roman ruins, but it did have a ton of charm. I loved it and was happy that we didn’t waste any extra time in getting here!
The boys were quite predictable in the things that they admired. Who wouldn’t like a fountain-statue of a warthog with glowing red eyes?
At lunch, our waiter surprised the boys with pre-lunch aperitifs. They were delighted with the layers of colors!
Simply sitting in the various squares and soaking in the atmosphere was what I enjoyed most.
Lots of fun!
The main thing to do in Aix is simply to wander the old town, and enjoy the ambiance. There is a cathedral you can pop into, but all the cute squares, fountains, boutiques, markets, and more make for a delightful day.
We had a flight leaving from nearby Marseille airport the following afternoon. Having explored Aix and other parts of Provence the past several days, we thought we would try to see Marseille’s city center before going to the airport.
Marseille has a bit of a mixed (gritty?) reputation, so we weren’t sure what to expect. The third largest city in France, Marseille is best know as a port city. It was built by the Greek in Ancient times and has always been a very strategic location.
That said, we followed the signs to the Marseille city center, parked our car in a garage, and wandered around the port and downtown area a bit. We ended up getting lunch there and had some pastries. In general, we were pleasantly surprised – I think the touristy part by the water is perfectly pleasant, and there are some museums to visit there as well (which we skipped with the preschool-aged kids). For us, a few hours of wandering seemed to be probably.
In any case, after a while, we headed off to the Marseille/Provence airport, which was convenient enough, and headed to our next destination.