In addition to all the beautiful squares, fountains, and tree-lined streets, Aix-en-Provence also has some amazing food. We ate very, very well in this city, in fact, I would say we had the best meals of our trip in Aix. Here are some recommendations for the best restaurants in Aix-en-Provence and what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus some snacks/dessert!
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Best Eats for Breakfast in Aix-en-Provence
Hands down our favorite “restaurants” in Aix-en-Provence for breakfast are whatever neighborhood boulangerie is closest to you.
Every morning Matthew got up before I was awake and picked up breakfast (earning bonus points left and right, this guy), getting some drinks and pastries for a perfect French breakfast.
We aren’t coffee drinkers, so our favorite morning drinks are fresh-squeezed orange juice and drinkable yogurt. Franprix and Monoprix are common grocery store chains in France and they usually have an orange juicer machine in store for patrons to use. For yogurt drinks, the YOP brand is more common, but if you can find it, the Vache a Boire brand (shown in the photo above) is our favorite – so creamy and flavorful.
Stop by the nearest boulangerie (there’s almost always a boulangerie within a few blocks of where you are) for some pastries – there’s usually a large variety, and they generally cost between 1-4 euro.
While your hotel will undoubtedly offer a breakfast, they almost always cost extra and can be quite expensive. We always pick up pastries and drinks for breakfasts in France, which costs less than what breakfast for just one person at the hotel would have cost.
Tip: you can bring back the same bottle each day to refill with orange juice and get a small discount.
Best Food in Aix-en-Provence for Lunch
Since we did a lot of day trips, most of our lunches were actually in other cities. However, one morning we wandered around all the markets of Aix, picking up a little something here, a little something there, until by lunchtime we had a full meal on our hands.
The biggest thing I want to highlight here is finding the stand with hot, freshly prepared meats – when we went, it was located right here by Fontaine de la Rotonde.
These types of stands are common at markets and usually serve up a variety of rotisserie meats and potatoes. We got a sausage and a rabbit leg – both incredibly juicy and delectable. However, the most important thing is to GET THE POTATOES. See those potatoes down there:
The drippings from the chicken have been sizzling on the potatoes as they fry — SO good. You’ll also find a wide range of types of meat available. We really enjoy the hot foods stands at markets – it’s quick, easy, affordable, and delicious.
Other easy and good lunch options include hitting up a boulangerie for a sandwich or a quiche (you can ask them to reheat these if you want), or grabbing other foods from the market – you can always find a variety of fruits and vegetables, cheese, and bread.
Best Restaurants in Aix-en-Provence for Dinner
The actual restaurant in Aix-en-Provence was sooo cute – they had an indoor dining room, which we bypassed to go straight to the patio, an open-aired courtyard with tables, string lights, and a lot of ambience. I got the apple stuffed duck and Matthew got a leg of lamb. Both of our dishes came with several coordinating sides. The whole meal was delightful.
Side note: One notable difference about France compared to the United States is the type of meat that is most commonly eaten. For example, you usually don’t see a million chicken dishes on the menu, and you see a lot more rabbit, duck, lamb, goat, and seafood, in addition to beef and chicken. Suffice it to say, we took the plate less sampled and ordered duck and lamb.
What makes La Familia a little bit different is the way you peruse the menu. The menu is actually on two big blackboards that are set on chairs in front of your table for you to order from. One blackboard is devoted entirely to pizzas, which are delicious, but you CANNOT miss the baked camembert with pesto. It was served with toasted baguette slices that were refilled regularly, and was to die for. The pesto really took it to the next level. This was probably my favorite restaurant in Aix-en-Provence! We loved the food here so much we tried to come again later in the trip (but it was completely full for the evening!)
L’Artisan du Burger
This little French burger restaurant was at the end of the Cours Mirabeau and had really good French burgers. They were made with high quality ingredients, including Emmental and Reblochon cheese, and had really nice presentation (for burgers, at least). They even give you little glass jars of unique condiments – adorable!
Snacks and Desserts
Madeleines de Christophe
When you walk down the street of a city and see a bunch of locals queuing by a food stand, you do a hard pivot and get yourself in line. This shop is just a little counter on the street. You can get 6 madeleines for 3.50 euro and they offer a variety of flavors. My favorite was the almond and Matthew’s was the orange. These were probably the best madeleines I’ve ever had!
Gelato on Cours Mirabeau
Philippe Faur is a little gelato shop on the Cours Mirabeau avenue. You choose your ice cream inside and then sit out on the sidewalk tables, eating and watching people go by – so idyllic. Alternatively, you can find Giovanni, another ice cream stand, a little farther down.
Béchard is a well-known pastry/chocolate/dessert shop on Cours Mirabeau. It’s displays are like works of art. This is not your typical boulangerie/patisserie — Béchard has a wider variety of “fancy” products, such as shaped chocolates, decorative candies, and other complex pastries and delicacies. Definitely check out the calissons, an almond shaped and flavored cookie that is a specialty of Aix.
Practical Info for Aix-en-Provence
Where to Stay
Staying in or right by old town of Aix is definitely a good choice. I recommend Les Quatre Dauphins, adorable hotel with old French architectural details that is centrally located and just a few blocks away from the Cours Mirabeau. It’s the perfect spot for exploring Aix and immersing yourself in old French charm. Check current rates here!
Aix-en-Provence is a very walkable city. We didn’t use any public transportation here; everything we did was in easy walking distance.
For getting to and from Aix, you have a few options. The closest airport is Marseille; however, Nice is also an option, and where we flew into, as the flights were much cheaper going into Nice. It’s also an easy train ride to Aix from Paris.
For getting around to other cities in the region, you can choose to rent a car and drive yourself around, take the train, or take the bus. We’ve done just about every mode of transportation in southern France, and there are pros and cons to each!
Renting a car gives you the most flexibility, but it is also the most hands-on option (need to navigate, find parking, etc). Thankfully, driving in France is fairly straightforward, road conditions are good, and traffic on the freeways isn’t bad at all.
We chose this option on our second trip to southern France because some places we wanted to hit weren’t easily accessible to train and much less convenient by bus.
Most cars in France are manual transmission, so if that’s going to be a problem you’ll want to make your car reservation as early as possible (limited number of automatic cars) and be prepared to spend a little more.
If the places you want to visit are easily accessible by train this is an excellent option for getting around southern France. You don’t have to mess with parking, tolls, driving in narrow old towns, or navigating.
However, sometimes the train routes do not connect directly to the places you want to visit. Plus, there is always less flexibility when you aren’t driving yourself.
This is the cheapest option, but honestly, this is my least favorite option because it’s the slowest. Buses can take a long time! It’s a good option though if you don’t need to go far. It’s also the only public transportation option for accessing some of the smaller villages in Provence.
So, which one to choose?
I would choose a car if…
- You want to get places really early or stay late
- If you are planning on going a new place everyday or almost every day
- If the places you want to visit aren’t easily accessible by train (no direct route or the direct route is much slower than the driving time)
I would choose the train if…
- You don’t want to deal with the hassle of parking and navigating
- You are only doing a couple of day trips
- You want the experience of taking the train in France
- The places you want to go are easily accessible by train from where you’re staying
I would choose the bus if…
- You are on an incredibly tight budget
- The places you want to visit are super close to where you are staying
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Securing some travel insurance is an important part of prepping for any international trip – you never know when something might happen, and your regular insurance generally won’t cover you overseas. Costs for a medical emergency on vacation can add up extremely fast, so it’s just better to be safe than sorry. (If covid has taught me anything, it’s that you never know what could happen!)
I like booking insurance at Insure My Trip, as they offer a variety of plans with different coverages to choose from, so you can find the right option for you. Plus, they have great customer support if you need help before, during, or after your trip.
Whether you’re eating at one of the many, delicious Aix-en-Provence restaurants or a small shop or stand on the side of the street, there is fantastic food to be found all around this beautiful city!
Read More Southern France Articles:
- 15 Best Things to do in Nice
- Best Things to Eat in Nice for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
- Aix-en-Provence: The City of Fountains
- Hiking the Calanques of Cassis
- One Day in Menton
- Visiting Pont du Gard: An Old Roman Aqueduct
- Exploring the Sentier du Littoral of Antibes