Staying in La Ciotat for a few days, I discovered that I could get the bus to Aix-en-Provence in an hour or so,and decided this was too good an opportunity to miss. After walking uphill from the bus station I arrived at the main thoroughfare Cours Mirabeau, a wide avenue lined by trees with café’s behind, and fountains at regular intervals. At the Western end is the large Fontaine de la Rotonde. The weather was gorgeous and a leisurely stroll the length of this street was a wonderful introduction to this beautiful city.
My host in La Ciotat recommended visiting the Hotel de Caumont, a former hotel now converted into an art gallery with beautiful gardens. This didn’t disappoint – I’m not an art buff but there were some striking pieces by Cezanne, Degas, Renoir, Picasso and many more. The garden was stunning as well, which was overlooked by a terrace café, and the indoor dining area has been restored to its 18th century splendour.
My brother-in-law had lived in Aix for a while and he helpfully provided a map showing some of the prettiest squares and fountains (and there’s plenty of these to go around). The rest of the afternoon was spent meandering around the streets and wishing all my days could be spent in this fashion. My words can’t do justice to how charming and beautiful this place is, so I hope the photos below will give you an idea. I can’t wait to come back here.