Welcome to the south of France
The university town of Aix-en-Provence, called Aix by the residents for short, is located in the French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and is considered the historic capital of Provence. Aix has approx. 141,150 inhabitants.
Cours Mirabeau – a boulevard of exceptional beauty
The Cours Mirabeau is a ring-shaped street in the center of Aix. When it did not exist, this part of the town was home to the old city wall and the place of execution. The residents of Aix-en-Provence appreciate the Cours Mirabeau as a shopping street and enjoy relaxing hours in the cozy street cafes. For tourists it is worth visiting the architectural sights from the 17th and 18th centuries. The magnificently decorated aristocratic palaces and townhouses from bygone times immediately cast a spell over people from different cultures. A fountain decorated with moss is the main feature of the plane tree avenue.
Old town – interesting contrast between the Roman phase and the Middle Ages
North of the Cours Mirabeau is the old town of Aix-en-Provence. It has a Roman and a medieval part of town. One of the highlights of the Roman district is the local history museum in the Hôtel d’Estiennes de St-Jean, which gives visitors an exciting insight into the history of Aix. Another highlight is the former Archbishop’s Palace, which was built in the 17th century in the Regency style. Its spacious courtyard is the venue for the city’s annual music festival.
The fossilized dinosaur eggs in the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle shape the medieval part of the Cours Mirabeau. Opposite the museum is the Place d’Albertas, known as one of the most beautiful squares in the city.
Other sights – boredom is a foreign word in Aix-en-Provence
The multitude of exciting sights makes a trip to Aix an entertaining affair. The Saint-Sauveur Cathedral is varied because it includes different architectural styles. The Cité du Livre, which is housed in a former match factory, contains a modern cultural center and a library with around 450,000 documents. The Granet Art Museum was opened in 1765, making it one of the oldest museums in France. In addition to art lovers, tourists with a penchant for archeology will also get their money’s worth in this exciting museum.
Avignon is one of the popular travel destinations in the south of France. The city of art and culture is located at the confluence of the Durance and Rhone rivers and was an important sacred center and papal seat in the early Middle Ages. Today the historical buildings and churches are interesting for participants of study trips and visitors from all over the world who come to the world-famous “Festival of Avignon” and other cultural events.
Avignon as the “City of the Popes”
Particularly noteworthy is the old town, which is surrounded by a 14 m high and 4 km long defensive wall. The structure has 39 watchtowers and 7 large city gates.
Within the walls is the striking Rocher des Doms hill with the cathedral, inner-city vineyards and the monumental Papal Palace, which is one of the grandiose buildings in the country. The winding city center stretches around the hill, which is made up of cardinal palaces, monasteries and town houses from the 16th to 18th centuries. Century. Outstanding buildings are the opera, the library building and the only hat-making shop in France. The late Gothic facade of the St. Pierre church is particularly beautiful.
Directly below the palace hill stands Avignon’s landmark, the stone Pont Saint Benezet. The bridge over the Rhone is very impressive. It has not been completed since construction began in the 12th century and ends in the middle of the river. The UNESCO World Heritage includes the entire old town and the bridge.
Avignon is also a city of art and gardens. Around 30 beautiful parks and gardens, the vineyards and a large number of museums and galleries with different themes are of interest to visitors to the city.
Lively Roman antiquity in the south of France
On a study trip to the south of France, you can still experience antiquity live in a Roman amphitheater.
To the south-east of the old town of Arles, a Roman town on the edge of the French Provence, during the summer holidays exhibition fights with bulls and gladiators take place twice a week on the bright sand of the oval arena. In these bullfights, however – unlike in Spain – the aim is not to kill the bulls, but to skillfully recapture trophies attached to them.
“Les Arènes d’Arles”, as the French call the arena, was built around 90 AD and has since been restored according to contemporary standards. Two of the original three floors are still very well preserved.
Through the arcades on the two floors you can enjoy a wonderful view of the red roofs of Arles, which is world-famous for its Roman history and above all for the painter Vincent van Gogh.
A strategic location
Many Roman relics such as the amphitheater, but also the old city wall, the ancient theater, a chariot racing track and ancient thermal baths bear witness to the Roman colony founded by Julius Caesar in Arles during the Roman Empire. Arles owes this fact to the strategically favorable geological location on the Mediterranean Sea for the Romans – directly between Italy and Spain.
All of these ancient structures have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and can be seen inside and out on a trip through Arles. Only one other city in Provence offers a comparable number of ancient buildings: Nimes.