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Day trip to Aix-en-Provence, where to park?

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Mar 15th, 2015, 07:34 AM
  #1
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Day trip to Aix-en-Provence, where to park?

We are staying near St Remy in mid-April for a few days and want to spend a day in Aix. We will have a car and I'm trying to find a convenient place to park for the day. Someone mentioned there is parking at the Aix Centre train station and it is a short walk to the center of town. Are there other better options?

Our last couple of trips have been to Italy and we had to worry about the dreaded ZTL zones that seem to be everywhere. Maybe they exist in Provence but I haven't heard about anything similar to a ZTL zone. My concern is driving around Aix looking for parking and accidentally wandering in to a ZTL zone. Do I need to be concerned?
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Mar 15th, 2015, 07:54 AM
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We've visited Aix on several occasions including last july. Head for the city center on Blvd. de la Republique and there is a large traffic circle with a big fountain right at the head of the main pedestrian zone(Cours Mirabeau). There is a large, underground parking structure that can be accessed off Blvd de la Republique with plenty of availability--easy, peasy. You then have access to the almost daily markets and city center.

There are no ZTL issues although you must obey traffic signs and directions. The only cameras I'm aware of are on the autoroutes for speeding. Enjoy St. Remy and Aix.
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Mar 15th, 2015, 09:26 AM
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Years ago, DH & I drove to Aix from St Remy and arrived mid morning. We were in Aix to see a special Cezanne exhibit. There were market stalls set up along Cours Mirabeau. We found what we think was the last (and tightest) parking spot in the large parking garage (as describe above)! It seems to me that DH had to crawl through the hatchback of our rental car to get in/out! But that was in July. You will likely have no challenges finding a parking spot when you are there in April!

Have fun!
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Mar 15th, 2015, 09:29 AM
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macanimals - thanks - Parc Rotunde is perfect and it does look easy peasy to get to. And thanks for the info about no ZTL zones - one less thing to worry about.

Even though we love them and we all get along great, after 10 days in Paris with our 2 daughters and 2 granddaughters in a small apartment, my wife and I are really looking forward to ending our trip with just the two of us spending 5 days in Provence.
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Mar 15th, 2015, 09:32 AM
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Go somewhere else less crowded? I was really glad to leave!!
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Mar 15th, 2015, 09:37 AM
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2010 - thanks for the info. I'm not sure it would be physically possible for me to climb in and out through a hatchback. LOL!!

Since we seem to have a lot of the same tastes, is there anything you would recommend for us in Provence? Did you write a trip report for that trip?
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Mar 15th, 2015, 09:41 AM
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Gretchen - when were you there? I hope it isn't too crowded in April.
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Mar 15th, 2015, 09:44 AM
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We also park in Parc Rotunde and it is well located [The Visitor Center is right there [they have nice walking tours that leave from there] and is reasonably priced.
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Mar 15th, 2015, 09:49 AM
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DebitNM - thanks for the info. Did you get the contact info for Jennine and Luca at Lake Como in the other thread?
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Mar 15th, 2015, 09:56 AM
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There are plenty of places in France where you can't drive without a special residential permit, and some entire areas of cities where you can't drive except perhaps taxis to drop off and collect people. I know Bordeaux and Strasbourg have such areas. And there are plenty of villages in Provence where you cannot enter unless you are a local resident, which is similar to a ZTL zone in Italy (although their rules can vary from no cars to residents). These places are marked by signs in France, if you are going to drive in France, ideally you should learn to read traffic signs and learn of the various traffic laws. The signs will say no entry "sauf riverains" which means local residents ("sens interdit sauf riverains"). Peillon is one village, so is Gordes, Saint-Cannat near Aix-- I've been through several, there are plenty of them in Provence and other regions. There are such places in St Remy, also, as far as I can recall, or perhaps during certain hours (I seem to recall signs like that, that no one but residents can drive in some places between 2 and 8 pm).

Aix isn't a small village, though, so I'm not personally familiar with any area there where you can't drive (although any pedestrian zone is, by definition, a place you aren't allowed to drive except for taxis, etc), but I would expect you'd only be on the main streets if you are visiting for the day. There are various parking garages, one isn't too far from the train station and is convenient. That isn't far at all from the center, so I don't think there is anything more convenient, but there are several others (that one can be full at times, I've been there when it was).

YOu should have maps with parking marked on them if you are driving around that area, I think Michelin maps do or find them online before you go, instead of just driving around blind. You'll need a map to the city, anyway. For Aix, their own website shows you parking garages.

http://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/...-en-provence/#!

Here's another website with parking locations
http://www.parking-public.fr/parking...ce_13_g2024112

Various online mapping systems will mark parking garages, also, like www.mappy.fr

I don't know where a parking garage is on bd Republique, but it's quite long and ends quite a bit before the Rotonde and turns into ave Napoleon Bonaparte before the Rotonde so not sure what garage that would be.
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Mar 15th, 2015, 11:06 AM
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Christina - thanks for all the parking info. I used google maps to eventually find Parc Rotunde on Ave Joseph Villevielle near the Fontaine de la Rotunda. I think it should work for us.

And thanks for the ZTL info. Hopefully I can follow the signs close enough to not get in to any areas that I'm not supposed to.
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Mar 15th, 2015, 01:15 PM
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yes, I did john, thanks!
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Mar 15th, 2015, 04:51 PM
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Hi John,

Our 3 stays in Provence took place before I signed up on Fodor's Travel board: 1996, 1999 & 2006. Consequently, there no trip reports for these trips - sorry!

This afternoon, I pulled out my travel journals and I read through the Provence stories. Nice memories! We covered a lot of ground during those trips! Apart from the lovely villages & towns we visited and the sights we saw, it was interesting what stood out as memorable! Here are just a few random highlights:

> Market Days - stocking up on French soaps, Provencal tablecloths & napkins and nougat made with local almonds & lavender honey
> Roman Antiquities: in Arles, Glanum just outside of St Remy and the Pont du Gard under which runs a river where DH secretly dreams of fishing!
> lunch on the square in front of Le Fournil in Bonnieux. We sat near the fountain, savored our multi-course meal and sipped chilled rose. (I noted that I had a salad of cavaillon melon with fresh mozzarella topped with greens lightly drizzle with olive oil.)
> the drive between the villages and towns we visited - They provided us with views & vistas that underscored how varied & beautiful the different regions are. There are so many opportunities to explore & discover ... and to get lost!

Have fun as you plan this portion of your trip, John! Just curious ... where are you staying?
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Mar 15th, 2015, 05:22 PM
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In Aix the areas where you can't drive have metal barriers that locals have passes they waive that get them to lower. So you wouldn't be stumbling into them unawares!
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Mar 16th, 2015, 06:52 PM
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2010 - thank you for going through your journals to give me your highlights. I can't wait to get lost between the villages and have lunch by the fountain in Bonnieux. I also can't wait to see some of the gorgeous places that were in the movie "A Good Year". It all sounds great. We are staying in a garden-view cottage at Hotel Sous les figuiers. I hope it works out for us.

MonicaRichards - I'm glad to hear I shouldn't accidentally go in to any restricted areas. Thanks for the info.
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Mar 16th, 2015, 11:43 PM
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John - Guess what? We stayed at Hotel Sous Les Figuiers in 2006! At the time, it felt like a corner of paradise, so tranquil & peaceful. Yet it was only a 5 minute walk into town. I look forward to hearing about your experiences in Provence & your stay at Sous Les Figuiers. Have a wonderful trip!
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Mar 17th, 2015, 06:44 AM
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2010 - I knew we thought alike! Great to hear you liked the Hotel Sous Les Figuiers. It's getting close now - we leave for Paris in 17 days.
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