Welcome to Aix-en-Provence! This idyllic, tranquil, incredibly beautiful city in the south of France has been well-known for centuries as a pinnacle of art, architecture, and food.
Aix-en-Provence, also known as Aix, was founded by the Roman consul Sextius Calvinus in the year 123 BCE. In the Middle Ages, Aix was the capital of the historical province of Provence, hence the name Aix-en-Provence. During this time, Aix was a cultural center of art and education. In 1487, Aix-en-Provence officially became part of France, where it remains today. Nowadays, Aix remains a major hub for music, dance, culture, and art, as well as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the south of France.
Where to live in Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence is home to about 150,000 people, making it the 24th-largest city in France. It’s not nearly as large as other French cities like Paris, Marseille, Lyon, and Nice, which means that it has fewer neighborhoods to choose from. However, the neighborhoods that do exist in Aix-en-Provence are some of the most beautiful in France.
Best Neighborhoods in Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence has been around since the era of the Roman Empire, which means that some of its neighborhoods are practically ancient, and others are significantly newer. The oldest and most historic districts include Old Town and the Mazarin Quarter, which are undoubtedly beautiful, but might be a little more difficult to navigate because of their winding streets. If you’d prefer to live in a newer neighborhood, Les Allées Provençales would be a great option for you!
Bellegarde is a small neighborhood in the north of Aix-en-Provence that is well-known for its trendy designer boutiques, vintage stores, bakeries, and even skate shops. It’s definitely one of Aix’s more underrated neighborhoods.
The Cours Mirabeau is Aix-en-Provence’s main thoroughfare, which stretches from the north to the south of the city. It’s famous for being lined with beautiful plane trees, although some of the trees have fallen victim to canker sickness in recent years. Cours Mirabeau is also well-known for its gorgeous fountains and hôtels particuliers, some of which have hosted luminaries like Paul Cézanne, Emile Zola, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Cocteau, and Pablo Picasso.
Quick Facts About Aix-en-ProvenceAix-en-Provence is well-known for being one of the most beautiful, peaceful, and picturesque cities in France. Before you get there, here are a few things you need to know:
You don't need to tip your waiterIn French culture, it’s not customary to tip your waiter. However, this often means that the service in French restaurants is a lot slower than it is in countries like the United States.
The population is around 4,400The town of Boyacá is home to just 4,400 residents, making it one of the department’s smaller municipalities, despite claiming the same name. The square mileage of the town is just 19 and the elevation is 2,420 meters.
Boyacá is nestled in the mountainsBoyacá town, and indeed the department of Boyacá, is surrounded by the Eastern Cordillera mountains. This mountain range forms the widest of the Colombian Andes branches, and the highest peak is the Ritacuba Blanco mountain at 5,410 meters.
It’s famous for its emerald minesThe country of Colombia is responsible for as much as 90% of the world’s emeralds. The department of Boyacá is fortunate enough to be home to the majority of them, and you can take a tour of one of the hotspots called El Chivor.
Nearby lake tota is breathtakingYou’ll have to take ‘nearby’ with a pinch of salt, given Boyacá’s remote location, but the town is just a few hours’ drive from one of the prettiest lakes in Colombia. Lake Tota is the largest lake in the country and has its own sandy beach and ‘diablo ballena’ - a Colombian version of Scotland’s mythical Loch Ness monster.
The cost of living is pretty highAix-en-Provence has a deserved reputation for being an expensive city to live in. Groceries, meals, accommodation, and clothing are all more expensive here than in other cities in France and in Europe.
It’s not a partying cityAlthough there are a fair number of bars and pubs in Aix-en-Provence, there are very few nightclubs or other party venues in the city. In Aix-en-Provence, people generally go to theater performances, concerts, or festivals instead.
Learn FrenchBecause Aix-en-Provence is such a popular international destination, many people there speak English, and some might even be enthusiastic to practice their English skills with you. However, the general attitude in France is that expats should be able to speak French, and you might be the recipient of some serious side-eye if you don’t know even a little French.
It’s known as ‘The Land of Freedom’The department of Boyacá is known to locals as ‘The Land of Freedom.’ The reason for this name lies in the many battles that took place within its borders between royalist and patriot armies in the 19th century.
Almost everything is closed on SundaysIf you live in a place where most stores are open seven days a week, life in Aix-en-Provence might take a little adjustment. Most stores, restaurants, and even supermarkets are closed on Sundays in Aix-en-Provence, so adjust your shopping schedules accordingly!
Get used to la biseThis sounds like a weird quirk, but in French culture, people do not hug each other, wave, or shake hands to say hi. Instead, they do bises, or little cheek kisses. If you’re from the US, where hugging, waving, or shaking hands is the norm, it might take a little while for you to acclimate to bises.
The weather is beautifulThe weather in the south of France is pretty great—Aix-en-Provence experiences an average of 300 sunny days a year. In the summertime, the temperatures average out at around 73°F, and in the winter, the temperatures average out at around 43°F, which means that the weather is quite mild year-round.
It’s close to the Venezualan borderThe town of Boyacá is a long day’s car journey from the Venezualan border, so if you fancied a weekend in another country, you have the option. You could even pass through the stunning Natural Park of Cocuy on your way if you wanted some breathtaking hikes and nature to keep you going.
La Esmeralda Dam provides hydroelectric powerLa Esmeralda Dam is an embankment dam in the department of Boyacá. The dam supplies hydroelectric power to the surrounding areas as part of the Chivor Hydroelectric Project.
It’s a college townAix-en-Provence is home to multiple higher education institutions, including Arts et Métiers ParisTech, Aix-Marseille University, Institut d’études politiques d’Aix-en-Provence, and Institut de l’Aménagement Régional, which means that it has a high population of students, both French and international.
You can find some fine wool productsIn the town of Boyacá and other towns in the department, you’ll find some of the best wool in all of Colombia. One type of poncho garment that is particularly revered for its quality is called ‘ruanas,’ and it is made from thick lamb’s wool.
Work in Aix-en-Provence
Major industries in Aix-en-Provence include tourism, entertainment (especially opera and dance performance), viticulture (winegrowing), and food manufacturing (olive oil, almond candy, and chocolate are major Aix exports). Additionally, the universities in Aix-en-Provence employ many people in the city—the humanities, law, economics, and engineering are major fields of study at Aix’s schools.
How good is Aix-en-Provence for Digital Nomads or Remote Work
Remote work is changing how the global workspace operates. In a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, remote work is rapidly on the increase all around the world—especially in a place like Aix-en-Provence. And about 25% of remote workers describe themselves as digital nomads—those who like to travel or stay in cities around the world while they work. So, how good is Aix-en-Provence for both of these growing movements.
Average Internet SpeedThe Internet speed in Aix-en-Provence is pretty fast, averaging out at around 26 Mbps throughout the city. In addition to cafes and restaurants that have free WiFi, the city of Aix offers free WiFi hotspots at some popular locations in the city.
Work-friendly Coffee ShopsSome coffee shops can be surprisingly difficult to work in, but Aix-en-Provence has some great spots that will help you focus, all while sipping on some fantastic coffee. Here are some of the best work-friendly coffee shops in Aix-en-Provence: Mana Espresso in Old Town: Mana Espresso is a cute, trendy coffee shop that serves a full menu of coffee, teas, juices, and even kombucha. They also serve delicious breakfast and brunch options, as well as a small selection of pastries and desserts. Book in Bar in Old Town: Book in Bar is one of the most beloved coffee shops in Aix-en-Provence—it’s a combination coffee shop-bookstore, which means that you can browse books in a variety of different languages (including English!) while enjoying a delicious cup of coffee. It’s a great study or work space!Café du Temps in Old Town: Café du Temps is another trendy, aesthetically pleasing coffee shop that serves a seasonally rotating menu of food and drinks, including coffee, tea, smoothies, sandwiches, and desserts. Their focus is on healthy, vegetarian and vegan-friendly options, which is rare in France!
Coworking SpacesYou’ll find several coworking spaces in Aix-en-Provence! Here are some amazing spots that you may want to consider checking out: Yelloworking: Yelloworking offers amenities including coffee and tea, exclusive networking and community events, high-speed Internet, and meeting rooms. Plus, they have a variety of flexible subscription plans, which allow you to pay for only the services you need!Caravan Cowork: In addition to many of the normal amenities included in a coworking subscription, Caravan Cowork offers coaching, consulting, and mediating services, which are super helpful for those looking to build professional skills and bring their work to the next level. Cactus Coworking: Cactus Coworking offers coworking space, meeting spaces, and event spaces. No matter which subscription you choose, you’ll have access to Cactus’ super convenient location, high-speed Internet, printing and scanning, coffee and tea, and amazing networking opportunities with fellow remote workers, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and digital nomads!
Suitable Level for Digital NomadsFor the most part, digital nomads love Aix-en-Provence. It’s one of the most idyllic, picturesque cities in France, affording you a very peaceful lifestyle during your time off. However, the major drawback to Aix-en-Provence is its cost of living, which is quite high even when compared to other French cities.
Visa RequirementsIf you’re a citizen of an EU member state or Switzerland, you don’t need a work visa to work in France. If you’re not from an EU member state or Switzerland, the kind of work visa you need is dependent upon the kind of work you’re doing. Regardless of what kind of work visa you obtain, the process can be very long and drawn-out, and often involves your employer submitting a work contract to the French Ministry of Labor, so it’s important to get the work visa process started early. If you are from one of the following countries and are just visiting, you can visit France without a visa for up to 3 months: Andorre, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, St. Martin, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela.
Food and Drink in Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence has a thriving food scene, with some of the most delicious French food in the world. Classic French restaurants include L’Aperitif Francais, Crepes Cidre et Compagnie, and Le Jardin d’Amalula. For French food with a Mediterranean flair, try Biochef, Le Bouche a Oreille, and L’Incontournable. Aix-en-Provence is also known for its amazing dessert bakeries, or patisseries. Some of the best patisseries in Aix include Maison Weibel, whose specialty dessert is an Algerian hazelnut and caramel cake, and Pâtisserie Béchard, which is located right on Cours Mirabeau. Finally, be sure to stop by Calissons du Roy René, which specializes in calissons, or the almond candies that Aix-de-Provence is famous for. Finally, Aix-en-Provence is well-known for its food market culture, where you can get some of the freshest and most delicious food in the nation. Cours Mirabeau hosts food markets every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning.
Top 6 Things To Do in Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence is full of gorgeous architecture, beautiful museums, and great shopping. One of the most popular things to do is take a stroll down the picturesque Cours Mirabeau, which is lined with trees, manors, fountains, and restaurants. Unfortunately, the most famous of these restaurants, Les Deux Garçons, was the victim of a fire in late 2019, which means that the interior is pretty much destroyed, although the exterior was saved. Old Aix is also an amazing place to wander around for a day, checking out beautiful fountains, cafes, boutiques, bars, and even some of the original Roman architecture of Aix. If you love art, be sure to check out Atelier Cézanne, where legendary painter Paul Cézanne lived and worked for the last years of his life. The building has remained virtually untouched since he passed away, so it looks almost exactly like it did while he was still living and working. Finally, make a visit to the Aix Cathedral, which is well-known for its beautiful 15th-century triptych painted by Nicolas Froment. There is so much amazing art, architecture, culture, and food to experience in Aix-en-Provence, you’ll never be bored!
Avenue Jules Ferry, Aix-en-Provence
Gulli Parc Aix en Provence
ZAC Eiffel, Pôle d'activités d, Rue des Frères Perret, Aix-en-Provence
Carrières de Bibémus
3080 Chemin de Bibémus, Aix-en-Provence
Rue du Maréchal Joffre, Aix-en-Provence
Gallifet Art Center - Aix en Provence
52 Rue Cardinale, Aix-en-Provence
Promenade de la Torse
12 Rue Pierre de Coubertin, Aix-en-Provence