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City of a thousand fountains, Aix is ​​a fantastic place to stay for a few days. It's easily accessible from Marseille airport and the train line from Marseille also stops at Aix.

Explore the bustling old town with its markets and arty boutiques or simply sit watching the world go by at a pavement café on the elegant cours Mirabeau.

Although there's a food market every morning of the week, the huge Marche Provencal which spills all over the old town only takes place on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings.

It's definitely worth a visit, although it's always very busy, even out of season. On the various stalls you can buy anything from second hand books and records to rustic pottery tagines and traditional provencal table linen.

Definitely my favorite restaurant is Clos de La Violette. Although it's got a Michelin star it's not stuffy and the food is absolutely delicious. It sits in its own gardens slightly outside the city center, so is a very calm and tranquil spot for lunch.

For less formal eating, the Forum des Cardeurs off the place de l'hotel de ville has a great selection of restaurants serving everything from Moroccan specialties to seafood.

Aix has a wide selection of boutiques selling everything from handicrafts to designer bags. Some of my favorites are La Victoire on place Richelme which sells a good range of Provençal fabrics, Designers Studio on rue Boulegon for quirky home furnishings and Robert Clergerie on rue Marius Reinaud for designer shoes.

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Source by Sue Aitken