Known as the City of a Thousand Fountains, Aix is a smaller, more manageable version of Paris.
We were excited to explore this lively cosmopolitan city in the heart of Provence. But after visiting a few guesthouses, we quickly found out there was no lodging to accommodate our Cheap & Charming traveling style. Aix may be a smaller prices, but somehow it maintains prices just as big.
We could either splurge on a hotel, leaving no money for meals or activities. Or continue our travels down south where there were more budget-friendly options. With winter’s chilly air whipping around us, the warm sun of the French Riviera didn’t sound like a bad alternative. We decided to continue on to Nice but with the next bus not leaving until late afternoon, we had a few hours to make the most of our brief visit to Aix.
After hitting the local market, we set out to discover all the hidden fountains in Aix’s picturesque neighborhoods.
In the Mazarin district, we stumbled on the beautiful Baroque-style Fontaine des quatre dauphins (Fountain of the Four Dolphins) among many others. Making our way down Cours Mirabeau, the main thoroughfare of the city, we passed shops, markets and cafés. Off-season made this area fairly quiet. We could only imagine how beautiful spring must be. We envisioned a scene of people dining outdoors under a canopy of trees in full bloom. At the end of the street, we found Aix’s most famous fountain, the Fontaine de la Rotonde.
Since most European cities are fairly compact, we often find we can get a sense of a place in just a few hours. In our short time, Aix seemed like an alluring city with a lively cultural scene as evidenced by various arts posters and a plethora of restaurants. Though we would’ve rather spent much more time here, the weather and our humble budget limited what we could do. So we took it in good faith that we’d return one day and enjoy all the amazing experiences this city has to offer.
Until we meet again, Aix, or as the French say, à bientôt!