Aix-en-Provence, Sainte-Victoire & Marseille
Two beautiful and contrasting cities plus the magical countryside that inspired the painter Paul Cézanne.
A NOTE ABOUT DRIVING TIMES
Driving times are about the shortest you could ask for, about 2 hours in total, broken up quite evenly.
Birthplace of beloved impressionist painter Paul Cézanne and former capital of Provence, Aix-en-Provence invites you to visually travel through time as you stroll through its labyrinth of narrow streets. An elegant city with a architectural esthetic similar to Florence, Aix has long been a centre of art and learning. Today's traveler will enjoy its vibrant atmosphere and the many fountains, shops, restaurants and sunny terraces where you can sit and enjoy the scene and pretend to be Provençal (though you may need to smoke a hand-rolled cigarette and drink a Pastis for the full effect).
Highlights include the 17th century Town Hall, the Archbishop’s Palace, St. Sauveur Cathedral with its enchanting Romanesque cloister and, of course, the Provençal market where the colours and fragrances of Southern France come alive.
Mt. Sainte-Victoire and the Route Cézanne
After visiting Aix we’ll go on a scenic drive along the Route Cézanne towards Sainte-Victoire, the beloved mountain featured in so many of the painter’s works. We’ll stop for photos and to see some of the places where Cézanne actually sat to paint.
As you travel through the picturesque Provence countryside you will understand why Cézanne was so attached to this place, and why when he was away from it he said, “When you are born there, it’s hopeless, nothing else is good enough.”
Marseille is a fascinating place with history going back 2600 years, when it was founded as the Greek colony of Massalia, populated by Phocaean settlers from what is modern-day Turkey. The city was prosperous in Roman times, with the port being at the center of its commercial importance. In more modern times Marseille played a significant role as the port of the French Empire, connecting the North African colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia with France.
In Marseille today you can see evidence of the many phases of its past in a vibrant mix of grit and beauty.
Our visit of Marseille includes (as time permits):
- Notre Dame de la Garde, the Neo-Byzantine basilica perched on the highest hill in Marseille where you'll get breathtaking panoramic views of the Bay of Marseille and the Mediterranean beyond
- Jardin des Vestiges, archaeological site of Marseille's ancient Greek and then Roman port
- strolling through the oldest part of the city: the Old Port and the Quartier du Panier
- the new monuments created for the event “Marseille, European Capital of Culture” in 2013 -- MUCEM and Fort Saint Jean
DURATION: 8 hrs
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