Aix-en-Provence is a small city in southern France, about 19 miles from the metropolis of Marseilles. Mild weather year-round (the average low temperature never dips below freezing) and an attractive historic ambiance make this a pleasant place to send a few days while on a French holiday. Also, the rich culture of Aix-en-Provence earns it extra points for attractiveness. In fact, one of the world’s foremost opera festivals, the Festival International d'Art Lyrique, takes place here each summer.
Every year, the world’s best opera performers come to this normally quiet city to wow audiences at several wonderful venues. The outdoor Théâtre de l'Archévêché, which is nestled in a historic garden, and the recently renovated 1700s Théâtre du Jeu de Paume provide an amazing setting for opera fans and casual attendees alike. A second outdoor space, Théâtre du Grand Saint-Jean, is also used during this enchanting summertime fest.
Opera is certainly the headline-stealer during the Festival d'Art Lyrique in Aix-en-Provence, but other genres also get their moment in the spotlight. Musique dans la Rue (Music in the Street) events are held at different outdoor venues and courtyards during June and July. Classical quartets, jazz artists, and even a few pop acts take the stage in the unimaginably romantic streets of this historic city.
Aix-en-Provence is also home to October’s Festival de la Chanson Française (Festival of French Song). This special event shows that classical music is not the only aspect of the culture of this Provence destination. This festival features the newest up-and-coming singers and songwriters. It is often here that talented-but-not-yet-famous Francophone artists are discovered by the media and by music fans.
The whole of Aix-en-Provence is infused with a special atmosphere during the various festivals. Even if you do not care for high-brow musical genres, you will still enjoy yourself here. And, of course, the teeming cultural melting pot of Marseilles is only a short distance away, as are the thoroughly glamorous summertime destinations of Cannes, Saint-Tropez and Monaco.
There are other ways to immerse yourself in the timeless charms of Provence. Guesthouses like the Maison d’Ulysse, a 17th Century farmhouse that has been converted into a 6-suite inn, provide the kind of classic ambiance that is impossible to find outside of this region of France.
Maison d’Ulysse, which is located near Avignon, another small Provence city with a lot of history, is the perfect example of a venue that has managed to keep its historic ambiance intact while also giving guests a healthy measure of luxury and comfort. At d’Ulysse, a solar-heated pool, Turkish bath, and endless gardens provide plenty of options for relaxaiton, while the comfortable furnishing, which would not be out of place in a five-star hotel, brings a high level of style to each suite.
Would you rather be somewhere else this summer? We have vacation estate with the same level of charm as the Maison d’Ulysse’s all all around Europe. How about in the French Alps? Or Italy’s wine country? Or maybe even the Greek Islands?
Will you be in Aix-en-Provence, or anywhere else in Southern France, this summer? Use the comments section to let us know about your plans.