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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.

Key areas

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.

Markets

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.

Shopping centres

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.

Opening hours

Shops are open 0800-1200 and 1400-1900, although some remain open at lunchtime. Most shops are closed on Sundays.

Souvenirs

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.

Featured Hotels

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Hotel Saint-Christophe

This Art Deco-style hotel is only a few steps away from Cours Mirabeau and the Rotonde fountain, and there's a lively brasserie on the ground floor. Rooms are smartly furnished, and some come with balconies or terraces. Those in the luxury category have especially stylish bathrooms with modern stand-alone baths.

Renaissance

Just a few minutes' walk from the Grand Théâtre is this sleek, contemporary five-star hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant and a spa with an indoor pool and a gym. Its 133 stylish rooms have breezy modern décor, and the garden terrace is a wonderfully relaxing spot for a cocktail.

Le Pigonnet

This gorgeous 18th-century Provençal bastide (country house) has 44 rooms and suites, beautiful gardens and an outdoor swimming pool. Just to the south of Aix, this five-star hotel is within easy walking distance of Cours Mirabeau. There is also a renowned restaurant, a stylish lounge club plus a hammam and fitness area.

Villa Gallici

Located in the north of the city, this elegant and peaceful 17th-century Provençal house features a romantic restaurant, a lavish terrace and a swimming pool. The hotel has 22 rooms and suites overlooking a lavender-scented garden, all of them sumptuously decorated in rich fabrics. It's one place worth splashing out on.

Hotel Cardinal

In a quiet street close to Musée Granet, this two-star hotel is full of old-world elegance. Its traditional décor is all florals and vintage furnishings, which perfectly suit this venerable 18th-century building. Some have original fireplaces and balconies, and the suites come with kitchenettes.

Hotel des Augustins

This tranquil hotel is a stone's throw from the Cours Mirabeau. Housed within the walls of an ancient convent, it is a happy blend of history, architecture and modernity, with 28 individually decorated rooms. If you want to splash out, two of the rooms are loft style and have private terraces.