By Alexandra Taylor
Aix-en-provence city center. Photo: A.Taylor
The incredibly scenic southeastern region of France, conjures up visions of lush lavender fields, sleepy sun-washed villages, grand chateaus, charming vineyards and views for days. This picturesque region has inspired many an artist from Cezanne and Van Gogh to Picasso and all those traveling artists wishing to follow in their footsteps (quite literally so).
Provence landscape. Photo: A.Taylor
Not to mention the region is known for some of the country’s best cuisine, wine tasting and antiquing adventures. Provence will delight any culture-seeking traveler looking for chic eats and quaint stays. You will surely gratify all your senses while wandering through the beautiful cities and alluring villages, whether dining at an enchanting family-run eatery along the cobblestone streets of Arles or indulging in Michelin-starred dishes. We journeyed to one of our favorite cities within the region, filled with arts, culture, exceptional cuisine and impossible beauty.
Provencal chateau Photo: A.Taylor
As chic as Paris but imbued with the intimate qualities of any Provençal town, Aix (pronounced like the letter X) is awash with leafy boulevards, bustling public squares and overgrown fountains. This lush setting is the perfect backdrop for effortlessly stylish Aixois and captivated travelers to unite, sauntering among the squares, nibbling on fresh bites from the numerous markets and sipping slightly overpriced espressos at one of the coveted street-side cafes.
Aix-en-provence market. Photo: A.Taylor
Begin your trip in the lap of luxury at Hotel Le Pigonnet, an esteemed 5-star spa & hotel property situated just beyond Aix-en-Provence city centre. The hotel is a member of renowned hotelier group, Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The timeless Provencal setting and luxurious atmosphere highlights the XVIIIth century manor’s modern yet notably historic landscape and accommodations.
Hotel Le Pigonnet
Rooms are stylish and a customized 5-star service is truly divine. Their extreme elegance is illustrated by style of furniture, fine fabrics and subtle lighting. The colour scheme of the custom designed rooms is a harmonious blend of turquoise, beige and ochre, mirroring the sunny skies and red earth of Provence.
Hotel Le Pigonnet. Photo: A.Taylor
Discover the satiating cuisine at La Table du Pigonnet,a gourmet gastro-bistro with an innovative take on Mediterranean-influenced and local cuisine, with passion for the best seasonal products. The restaurant’s terrace looks out over the abundant greenery, while the interior dining salon is just as impressive and pleasant on a rainy day, thanks to elegant chandeliers and large picture windows.
Relax and rejuvenate at the fitness centre and heated outdoor swimming pool, and pamper yourself with a visit to the in-house Spa, which offers hammam and sauna, and a range of beauty treatments using the exclusive Valmont and Omnisens range of products.
Le Pigonnet garden. Photo: A.Taylor
Take a leisurely stroll along the enviable property and admire the view of the famous Mount Sainte Victoire; the landscape is little changed from the days when the artist Paul Cézanne set up his easel to paint the Provençal landmark from the hotel terrace. You can easily envision the likes of former guests Princess Caroline, Iggy Pop, and Clint Eastwood meandering their way through the breathtakingly lush, pool-side garden or relaxing in the luxurious & spacious guest rooms, each evoking true Provençal allure. The convenient and picturesque local, and interior décor and accommodations truly sets it apart. The hotel’s unique charm will not fail to enchant you.
Le Pigonnet Aix-en-Provence
5, Avenue du Pigonnet
13090 AIX EN PROVENCE France
Tel.: +33 (0) 4 42 59 02 90
Fax: +33 (0) 4 42 59 47 77
The captivating town of Aix is cultivated, effortlessly chic and truly cosmopolitan, thanks to its growing arts and university presence. One of the 10 richest towns in France, the city exudes a truly elegant air. From the thriving fine art scene to majestic architecture, Aix preserves its sense of sophistication. With a thriving market, bustling cafés and covetable shopping, this Provençal town is a must-see.
Just north of the city center (and a slightly strenuous 15 minute walk up a steep hill), you’ll find Cézanne’s studio, filled with remnants of the artist’s colorful world. Some of his finest works were created in the airy, upstairs workspace, including Les Grandes Baigneuses (The Large Bathers). You’ll find striking antidotes of his daily life, seen through a collection of simple objects that were also prominent fixtures in his artwork—on display as if awaiting his return.
Starting and ending in Aix, this scenic route circles the impressive Sainte Victoire Mountain that fascinated Paul Cézanne, becoming one of his greatest muse. The region has some of the best views Provence has to offer. Stop by one of the local vineyards for tastings, enjoy an exhilarating hike or map some of the classic Cézanne locations for an artsy afternoon. You’ll be mesmerized by the romantic allure and constant sense of nostalgia that is infused in these stunning landscapes.