Shopping in Aix en Provence
Souvenir hunters and shoppers will not be disappointed with the wealth of products available to buy in Aix, from gifts to perfumes and fashion. Cours Mirabeau is the legendary shopping avenue but there are many other trendy, smaller stores if you know where to go.
Calissons, a marzipan-like confectionery made from sweet almonds and preserved fruits, is what the city is famous for. It is available in most confiseries (sweet shops) in the city, but for a better selection head for Confiserie du Roy René, 11 rue Gaston de Saporta, or Léonard Parli, 35 avenue Victor Hugo. Bechard, a bakery institution that is over 100 years old, is located on Cours Mirabeau and offers a tempting array of pastries and cakes. Saoya, on rue Aude, is famous for its innovative jewellery made of stones, crystals and even molten glass and natural flowers.
Antiques are big in Aix, and the best places to go hunting for them are in the Mazarin district, around the Cours Mirabeau, in the area around the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) and the Palais de Justice (Law Courts) and also Sextius-République. A good bric-a-brac market takes place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning on the place Verdun, in front of the Palais de Justice; turn up early to snap the best bargains. The Marché aux Fleurs (flower market) takes place on the same mornings on the place de l'Hôtel de Ville.
Monoprix is a three-storey shopping mall on Cours Mirabeau housing plenty of exclusive fashion stores. Visit the Géant Casino in the Jas de Bouffan district for upmarket shops too.
Shops are open 0800-1200 and 1400-1900, although some remain open at lunchtime. Most shops are closed on Sundays.
You will find all the usual Provençal fabric and earthenware in Aix, and a wide range of olive-based products and local wines, but what the city is really famous for is its calissons.