The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Autumn 2022

Discover Aix, the ‘Little Paris’ of Provence, the historic region of Beaune, a land of wine and castles. Beautiful Bordeaux and Normandy. The stork villages of Alsace and the pickled-in-the-past, post-card pretty perched town of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert. Breath-taking Lavender fields in Provence, castles in the air in Dordogne. Exquisite Villefranche-sur-Mer and Nice. Discover what’s new, the best tours, recipes, a language lesson, practical guides and much, much more…

The old district

The old district You’ll find a warren of cobbled streets, elegant squares and magnificent ancient buildings in the old district. There’s a lively daily market in Place Richelme, shaded by ancient plane trees, lined with cafés whose chairs and tables spill into the square, and stalls peddling local produce such as lavender, bread, cheese, mountains of the freshest vegetables, great tubs of sunflowers and curtains of garlic… In Place de l’Hotel de Ville you’ll find a Saturday morning flower market watched over by a 15th century astronomical clock featuring characters representing the four seasons. Locals say one year Autumn lasted 4 months when someone forgot to turn the key! In a city that is nicknamed ‘town of 1000 fountains’, elegant Place d’Albertas stands out for its truly beautiful baroque buildings and central fountain. You can walk your socks off in Aix and never be bored. Cours Mirabeau was named in honour of Honoré-Gabriel Riquetti de Mirabeau an early leader in the French Revolutionist and who represented Aix at the Estates General assembly in 1789. The Mazarin District The Mazarin district is named after the Archbishop of Aix, Michel Mazarin, brother of Cardinal Mazarin, chief minister to Louis XIV. He commissioned the extension of the city’s boundaries in the 1600s. The buildings from this time are luxurious and majestic. Elsewhere there are traces of older buildings where you can spot ancient carvings above doors, religious statues on corners and the Maltese cross carved into walls. Arty Aix Aix’s most famous son is Paul Cezanne. Every morning at dawn, he would walk from his city apartment up the hill to his studio to paint. When he died in 1906, the studio was preserved and is now open to the public. The objects we see in his paintings are still there, the three skulls which are real, though no one knows who they are – anonymously immortalized. The statue of a cherub, the bottles and vases he loved to group together. His brushes and paints, his smock coat and hat and his Godin fire are all there. You really do get the feeling the artist has popped out to wander in his gorgeous garden or to look at his beloved Mont Saint-Victoire, the subject of so many of his paintings. ( You can find out more about Cezanne at the Caumont Art Centre, a corker of a museum in an 18th century mansion a stone’s throw from the Cours in the Mazarin District where they show a 20-minute film about the life of Cezanne that is surprisingly grown up and doesn’t sugar coat his story (neither modest nor particularly likeable by all accounts). The museum has a super exhibition of sculptures and paintings including by several great names such as Monet, Van Gogh, Degas and many more outstanding artists, plus stunningly preserved rooms. Don’t miss the ground floor café (you don’t need a ticket to enter) – it is gorgeous with glorious salons which feel as though nothing has changed in the last 300 years, and a No 38 the oldest private mansion on Cours Mirabeau, built before the street was even laid out – it’s impressive wooden door is flanked by two stop-you-in-your-tracks-to-admire muscular figures Cezanne's studio 10 | The Good Life France The Good Life France | 11