Aix en Provence is the city in France where many French would like to live. It has a vibrant university body and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in France. We like Aix best during the shoulder seasons. March to June and September to November are really enjoyable with a manageable flow of tourists and many students.
Aix has a great restaurant scene, but being a magnet for tourists, one has to choose carefully. Most restaurants are in or near the old town. Underground parking is available along the ring road circling it. That is, if you arrive early in the morning. Don't drive into the old town, only few streets are open to traffic, parking is non existent.
Michelin star nobility:
Le Clos de la Violette They say that hymns have been written about this 1-star Michelin restaurant located just outside the historic center, on Avenue de la Violette (easy walk from Pasteur or Signoret parking). Elegant setting inside and on a shaded terrace. Master chef Jean-Marc Banzo offers creative dishes, wonderful in their simplicity and use of local produce, but with great refinement. Price/quality is typical for a Michelin star restaurant - you need to judge for yourself if it's worth the money. Prices: €50-90. 10 Avenue de la Violette, 13100 Aix en Provence, Tel: +33 (0)4 42 23 30 71.
Pierre Reboul Old Aix vaults have a new life, a new look. Modern furnishings in perfect accord with ancient walls. Chef Pierre Reboul reinterpretes suberbly Provençal classics. Pierre's menu selection depends on his inspiration and whatever is in season. He has a Michelin 1 star rating since 2009. Price/quality is typical for a Michelin star restaurant - you need to judge for yourself if it's worth the money. Prices: €50-120. 11 Petite Rue St.Jean, 13100 Aix en Provence. Tel: +33 (0)4 42 20 58 26
L'Amphitryon on Rue Paul Doumer close to the Cours Mirabeau, a traditional setting with a wonderful interior courtyard for outdoor dining. The food is delightful, follows the season and the occasional touch of fusion cuisine give the carefully prepared classic French dishes a refreshing touch. Prices: €20-40. 2-4 Rue Paul Doumer, 13100 Aix en Provence, Tel: +33 (0)4 42 26 54 10.
Auberge Provençale This 400 year old postal relay with rustic interior and truly Provençal country look is a well established address just outside Aix en Provence. Chef Gabriel Astouric offers typical dishes of the region. Quality is king here, service friendly and attentive. Worth the short trip from Aix. A real gem! Prices: €25-39. Impasse de Provence, Le Canet, 13590 Meyreuil. Take exit 32 on Autoroute A8 (Aix-Nice). Tel: +33 (0)4 42 58 68 54
Chez Charlotte, the food is good, prices low and portions generous. The somewhat quirky surroundings make you remember the times when you were in your early 20s. But it is very popular with the Aixois, no matter what age. We had a great time there. Prices: €19. 32 Rue des Bernardines, 13100 Aix en Provence, Tel: +33 (0)4 42 26 77 56.
Chez Gaby This brasserie and piano bar is an Aix tradition since 1965. While its look has changed (modern, cool decor going with the times), the cuisine produces the same quality dishes. The Provençal and Corse fish dishes are superb. Never mind the location on the southern outskirts of Aix, it's worth the trip. Prices: €14-20. 42, Avenue Fortuné Ferrini, 3090 Aix En Provence. Tel: +33 (0)4 42 26 23 29.
Chez Maxime, nicely prepared Provençal dishes, they excel especially in the meat category. Popular with the Aixois and increasingly with out of town visitors. Outside dining on tiny Place Ramus is shared with three other restaurants - great setting on summer evenings. Prices: € 13-25. 12 Place Ramus, 13100 Aix en Provence, Tel: +33 (0)4 42 26 28 51.
Chez Thomé in le Tholonet 6km East of Aix; historic hunting lodge once visited by King Edward VII in 1906. Outside dining under plane trees, great place to relax on a hot summer night. The cuisine is not overwhelming, but the atmosphere makes up for any shortfalls. Prices: €28. La Plantation, Le Tholonet, Tel: +33 (0)4 42 66 90 43.
Le Formal is one of our favorites in Aix, an intimate place with a relaxed atmosphere, friendly service and above all superb food. Jean Luc Le Formal, a serious and innovative chef, offers a well executed French cuisine at good value. Why go to a Michelin star restaurant if you find treasures like Le Formal? Prices: €39. 32 Rue Espariat, 13100 Aix en Provence, Tel: +33 (0)4 42 27 08 31.
La Mado an elegant brasserie on Place des Precheurs, until 2009 known as La Madeleine. Extensive renovations converted a traditional brasserie into a modern, chic place offering a shellfish bar, sushi, tapas as well as an array of brasserie type dishes. 4 Place des Precheurs, 13100 Aix en Provence, Tel: +33 (0)4 42 38 28 02.
Le Passage in a smartly renovated 19th century workshop, ultra modern style. There is a 140 seat plus restaurant, a patisserie, a cigar and wine tasting bar and a cooking school. If you enter from Rue Mazarin, don't be fooled by the sign "Patisserie". A trendy place which could be in London, San Francisco or Sydney. The food is authentic French, creative, innovative and at reasonable prices. Efficient and friendly service. Around the corner from Cine Mazarin Renoir, which shows films in French and English. Prices: € 20-30. 10 Rue Villars or 6 Rue Mazarin, 13100 Aix en Provence, Tel: +33 (0)4 42 37 09 00.