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Aix-en-Provence: in May with our daughters - where to stay & tour guide

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Jan 21st, 2013, 08:43 AM
  #1
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Aix-en-Provence: in May with our daughters - where to stay & tour guide

We are a group of moms and daughters celebrating our daughters' college graduations. Our group number is not set - somewhere between 4 and 8, most likely is 6. We plan to spend 4 nights in Aix-en-Provence the last week of May. Our budget is flexible, we prefer not to rent cars, and we will be 2 to a room. We would like to explore the city on foot, and hire a guide/driver to explore the surrounding area. Can you wonderful Fodorites recommend a B & B, hotel or apartment in Aix? Also, any thoughts on tour guides and not-to-be-missed sights or activities in the area would be appreciated. (Our trip is a total of 8 days, 4 in Aix, 4 in Paris.)
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Jan 21st, 2013, 09:03 AM
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We were there last June and stayed at Hotel des Augustins.

Right around the corner from the Cours Mirabeau. Nice hotel, rooms and within walking distance of everything in the town.

Would definitely stay there again.
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Jan 21st, 2013, 09:14 AM
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You could do a day trip to Marseille, ending the day with a bouillabaisse. The winery Chateau Lacoste has interesting art scattered in the vineyard. Aix is part of my trip report from last summer going from Paris to the Provence via the Dordogne; click on my name to find it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...th/7743543196/
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Jan 21st, 2013, 10:29 AM
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I've had Hotel Pigonnet on my wish list for a while and just posted photos of it here. http://brooklynbabysocial.com/2013/0...caping-to-aix/
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Jan 21st, 2013, 10:46 AM
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Lebb,

For a tour guide, take a look at Discover Provence http://www.discover-provence.net/index.html . We've known the owner, Sarah Pernet, for years and she's absolutely delightful and charming and I am sure would be provide an excellent day or two out and about .

- Kevin
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Jan 21st, 2013, 03:44 PM
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Thanks for all the info! Will continue my research with your info in hand.
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 07:20 PM
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We rented a lovely apartment for 11 days last fall, and will be renting again in the spring. It was wonderful buying fresh produce and flowers from the beautiful markets, and we loved having a large space, rather than a hotel room, in which to relax. Take a look at homeaway.com if you're interested in an apartment. We found the cost was about the same as a hotel room; perhaps cheaper when you factor in a few lunches or dinners at the apartment rather than at restaurants, which can be fairly pricey in Aix.

We feel fairly familiar with the area after our stay in Aix (our daughter is studying there this year), so I can help you with suggestions for day trips, restaurants, etc. if you're interested. We really loved Aix, and can't wait to go back.
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Jan 28th, 2013, 09:23 AM
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Thank-you jentrav. We've thought about an apt, but the number in our group may ebb and flow as the girls are all interviewing for jobs and are not certain about start dates, ect; so we thought mom/daughter hotel rooms would be the simplest and most flexible. Also, we only have 8 vacation days to split between Paris and Aix. My brief research at homeaway.com and other sights indicated that most apartments and houses require a week's stay.
I would love day-trip suggestions and restaurant ideas.
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Jan 28th, 2013, 10:33 AM
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Our favorite dinner on our most recent trip to Paris was at Le Georges on top of the Centre Pompidou, with an unbeatable view of the Eiffel Tower lit up and all of Paris. Loved my foie gras. loved it !! I think it's a don't-miss-it experience. http://www.timeout.fr/paris/en/restaurants/le-georges
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Apr 25th, 2013, 09:56 AM
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Hi Lebb64. I have not forgotten my promise to send you some restaurant and day trip recommendations. We were in Aix last week, and it's just beautiful in the springtime. The weather was fabulous.

Here are a few restaurants you might enjoy. La Caleche is a casual pizza restaurant near where we stayed in the area of the Place des Augustins, just off the Cours Mirabeau. We had great pizza and salad, and you can sit inside or out. Another good pizza place is Chez Jo, in the same area. Actually, there are several restaurants surrounding the fountain.

We went to breakfast one morning at L'Unique, which is on one of the market squares, so it was very picturesque. For 5€, you get a large buttered baguette, jams, croissant and a coffee. It's a favorite of my daughter, and we loved it, too.

If you want something delicious and a bit upscale, you can't go wrong with Chez Mitch. Bistro Latin is also wonderful.

For day trips, you can easily catch a bus to Marseille. We had a car, which is helpful for visiting all the beautiful villages. We particularly loved St. Remy, about an hour's drive. It had one of the prettiest markets, as well as a beautiful town. We loved it! Lourmarin is also high on my list...we stopped there on our way to Les Baux. There is a spectacular art exhibit at Les Baux called Les Lumieres. Difficult to describe, but you can google it.

I hope you have a lovely trip.
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Apr 25th, 2013, 02:09 PM
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Last year we stayed in this apartment and loved it. Right in the center, such charm: http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p257866

Our favorite restaurants were Pasta Cosy and Le Panier a Salades where I had the best salad of my life. You can read our trip report at http://www.markandmonica.com/Travel/...072912_Aix.htm
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Apr 28th, 2013, 12:41 AM
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We loved Pasta Cosy, too. We went there last fall and again a few weeks ago on our return visit..
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Apr 28th, 2013, 03:21 AM
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The visitors center (tourist office) near the Place Charles de Gaulle offers day and half day minibus tours of nearby towns and attractions. As noted, you can take a bus or train to Marseille, and you can visit Arles, Les Baux, and IIRC, St Remy by public bus.
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