Aix-en-Provence is a joy to discover. You’ll most likely begin your explorations of Aix on the main street, which is also the first street you’ll come to, Cours Mirabeau, the broad street established in 1651. Simply called the Cours, it is sometimes considered the most attractive boulevard in all France: lined with shops, outdoor cafés and restaurants in all price ranges along a wide sidewalk with magnificent plane trees towering overhead and three moss-covered fountains in the middle of the street.
The three beautiful fountains along the quarter are called, first of all the “fountain of the nine canons”, and then the so-called “mossy fountain” from which flows a warm thermal water that generates a thick foam that covers the fountain with the green moss. And at the top of the boulevard there’s the fountain of King René designed in 1819, and it adorns a work of the artist David Angers.
It was the French back in the 19th century who perfected the art of walking for sheer pleasure. They called it the flaneur, the aimless wanderer where you’re just walking along, alert to your surroundings, observing things, interesting, even unimportant details, not so much worried about your destination, but enjoying the journey. 13A: This art of walking, or flaneur, was very well described by a 19th century French writer named Victor Fournel, who asks us: “have you reflected on everything contained in the term flaneur, this most enchanting word which is revered by the poets? Go on infinite investigations through the streets and promenades, drift along with your nose in the wind with both hands in your pocket, with an umbrella under your arm, and an open-minded spirit. Walk along with serendipity without pondering where, and without hurrying. Stop in front of stores to regard their images, at street corners to read their signs, by the book stands to touch and smell. Give yourself over captivated and enraptured with all your senses and all your mind to the spectacle.” The 19th century Parisians elevated walking to a fine art.
We show you these streets in the historic center of Aix: Avenue Victor Hugo, Cathédrale Saint Sauveu, Cours Mirabeau, Place de l’Hôtel de ville, Place de Verdun, Place des Tanneurs, Place des Trois Ormeaux, Place Forum des Cardeurs, Place Ramus, Place Saint-Honoré, Rue Aumône Vieille, Rue Bédarrides, Rue Boulegon, Rue Brueys, Rue Chabrier, Rue Clemenceau, Rue Courteissade, Rue de l’Ancienne Madeleine, Rue de la Couronne, Rue de la Masse, Rue des Chapeliers, Rue des Cordeliers, Rue des Tanneurs, Rue Espariat, Rue Fabrot, Rue Gaston de Saporta, Rue Granet, Rue Matheron, Rue Nazareth, Rue Papassaudi, Rue Paul Bert, Rue Vauvenargues,