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Aix-ex-Provence—or just Aix, as it’s known by le cool kids—is quite possibly one of the most charming towns in the south of France. The Provençal city commune is an inevitable destination for honeymooners making their way through the Provence region or those seeking a more relaxed weekend away from the City of Lights. Birthplace of Paul Cézanne, the father of modern art, you’ll find art galleries, quaint markets, and beautiful gardens in this historic town. It’s somehow relaxed, but also buzzing with energy at night thanks to the local student population.
Newlyweds can start each day with a coffee and a croissant at one of the town’s many terrace cafés before taking a slow stroll through the sunlit narrow stone streets. Afternoons, in our opinion, are best spent relaxing in one of Aix’s glorious spas before ending the day with a lovely meal and a glass of Côtes de Provence vino.
Ready to book your dream South of France honeymoon? Here is everything you need to know.
Planning Your Aix-en-Provence Honeymoon
Aix is 20 miles north of Marseille and the Marseille Provence Airport. A 30-minute shuttle bus ride will set you back a little less than nine euros each way. About a dozen trains also make the trip from Paris to Aix daily with the high-speed option taking less than three hours. Book in advance as the route tends to book up quickly and gets increasingly expensive, especially in the summer.
- Language: French
- Currency: Euros
- When to Go: The best time to travel to Aix-en-Provence is between March and May or between September and November; during these months, temperatures, crowds, and prices will be milder (compared to the more touristy summer months).
- Getting There: The closest airport to Aix-en-Provence is Marseille, about 20 miles away. Flying from the U.S. to Paris and then taking a train is another easy way to access this region.
- Transportation: Because the city is quite small, getting around on foot or via bike is the easiest way to navigate Aix-en-Provence. If you want to get outside of the city, renting a car is recommended. There is a local bus service, though it's not always reliable, and taxis are available as well.
- Must-Pack: Sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, layers, and good walking shoes.
Places to Stay During Your Aix-en-Provence Honeymoon
Honeymooners have no shortage of chic, modern, and traditional accommodations when it comes to the offerings in Aix-en-Provence.
Villa Gallici Hotel
This five-star Relais & Chateaux property is a stand-out hotel in the area. Equal parts elegant and romantic (just look at the swimming pool surrounded by cypress trees!), Villa Gallici is housed in an 18th-century mansion, wedding Italian-style accommodations with a South of France atmosphere. Couples looking for luxury, serenity, and sumptuous rooms and suites should absolutely book a stay here.
Housed in an 18th-century country estate, Le Pigonnet has been a hotel for 90 years. You’ll love the location—walking distance from central Aix—and the gorgeous grounds. It’s like a French fairytale has come to life here, being built on four acres of floral gardens, blooming arches, chestnut trees, pergolas, and fountains. The romantic property boasts 49 rooms and suites of various styles and sizes. Priced from around $168 a night, guests rave about the service and the mix of modern luxury and old-fashioned charm. Warning: you may not want to leave the property.
Named for Aix’s most famous son, the boutique Hôtel Cézanne is a less pricey option, with rooms starting at about $130 a night. Smack in the middle of central Aix, the Cézanne’s location is the hotel’s main draw. Some of the hotel’s 55 rooms are a little on the small side (it’s Europe after all) but the price and top-notch service make up for what the rooms lack in size.
Things to Do During Your Aix-en-Provence Honeymoon
Spend your time together in Aix exploring the Musée Granet, an impressive museum—and one of France’s first—which houses works from Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, and, of course, local celebrity Cézanne. The post-impressionist painter’s studio is small but also worth a visit. Afterward, make your way past the bustling shops of the Vieille Ville, or Old Town, until you reach Brûlerie Richelme, a one-of-a-kind spot that any coffee lover will admire. Here, you can watch the roasting process and take in the café culture of France at its best by sitting outside and trying one of their 20+ excellent coffee varieties. Also make time to visit Aix Cathedral, a grande dame of the city, and plan to wander around Cours Mirabeau, which is a stunning area with dozens of shops, cafés, and general South of France charm.
If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a car to explore the nearby countryside and—if you’re lucky enough to be there in June—get a coveted shot of one of the region’s many lavender fields. One of our favorites is at the front of the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque, a 12th-century abbey, which is worth budgeting in time to tour as well.
Can't Miss Experience: Aix’s natural hot spring baths date back centuries. Thermes Sextius is a modern spa built above an ancient Roman bath downtown at the Hôtel Aquabella. The “They Love Each Other” package, which includes a massage, a scrub, and all-day spa access, can fill a whole day when you and your bae are just looking to relax.
Where to Eat During Your Aix-en-Provence Honeymoon
Foodies will be in heaven while honeymooning in Aix-en-Provence; from the open-air street markets with farm-fresh ingredients to the sweet bistros that dot the streets of the city, there is something for every kind of diner. And, of course, French food is simply perfect for a romantic date night—so you'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to booking a special meal. Make sure to try bouillabaisse, a local favorite, as well as ratatouille—and, of course, as many croissants as the heart desires!
Chef Ronan Kernan uses the best ingredients that Aix’s local markets have to offer for the creative and spirited cuisine found at Côté Cour. Fresh, seasonable dishes are paired with a large selection of wines in a modern setting, complete with an intimate courtyard. Think: Foie gras, crepes (of course), lamb in a walnut crust, and sea bass fillet.
Les Caves Henri IV by le Formal
Without sounding too cliché, the words “hidden” and “gem” certainly come to mind when thinking of how to describe Les Caves Henri IV by le Formal. Jean-Luc Le Formal’s secluded eatery is tucked away in a 15th-century cellar on Rue Espariat in the center of town. Our advice: opt for the seven-course tasting menu.
Le Zinc d'Hugo
For a classic French bistro experience, head to Le Zinc d'Hugo where diners will find traditional fare crafted expertly from locally sourced cuisine—and very friendly staff.
La Rotonde sits overlooking the glorious city fountain and has a lively atmosphere, elegant interiors, and outdoor dining (ideal for a romantic date and some people-watching).
Budgeting for an Aix-en-Provence Honeymoon
If traveling from the U.S., the biggest portion of your budget will be airfare and accommodations in Aix-en-Provence. If you book your honeymoon during the shoulder seasons (off-peak is anytime not during the summer), you'll see milder rates for hotels and transportation. If staying for a week, you can expect to pay roughly $2,000 (excluding airfare) for two people. Nightly rates at hotels can range from $150-$300, depending on the property, and airfare, when booked well in advance, can range from $600-$1,000.