Located in southern France about 20 miles north of Marseille, Aix-ex-Provence is a city with 145,000 residents that’s most well-known as being the home to post-impressionist artist Paul Cézanne.
The region, commonly referred to as Aix, was originally settled in the latter years of the BC era. It is home to a variety of historic sites, as well as a number of old-world villages that resemble those from centuries ago.
Aix-en-Provence is one of France’s truffle hotspots and abounds with natural beauty, including rivers, mountains, and large tracts of old-growth forest.
Below are 15 of the best tours of Aix-en-Provence.
1. Mushroom Hunting with Outdoor Breakfast
Mushrooms grow like crazy in the fertile soil around Aix-en-Provence, but according to locals, the most important thing to remember when picking them is that some are deadly.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, those who choose to participate in this unique activity will hunt for delectable fungi under the guidance of a trained professional in some of the area’s most scenic locales.
It’s common to discover nearly a dozen different varieties, including chanterelles, black trumpets, and white saddles. Each tour includes an outdoor breakfast featuring bread, sausage, mushrooms, and even wine.
Due to muddy conditions, it’s best to wear sturdy shoes.
2. Aix en Provence Sightseeing and Paul Cézanne Tour
As the birthplace and stomping grounds of world-renowned post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne, Aix-en-Provence is a magnet for artists and art lovers from all over the world.
It’s also rich in history and culture, and this tour allows guests to get close to Cézanne’s roots.
Highlights include exploring impressive natural areas, the artist’s studio that served as his base of operations during the later years of his life, and old-world markets that have been in continuous use for hundreds of years.
Much of what you’ll see served as inspiration for the painter’s works, especially the pastoral scene that led to his famous piece, On the Field.
3. Small-Group Tour to Arles, Saint-Rémy, and Baux from Aix-en-Provence
For those staying in town, this small-group, multi-stop tour gets underway near the centrally-located tourist office.
After a quick meet and greet with their guide, guests will start the scenic drive to Alpilles National Park, most well-known for its majestic limestone formations and ancient olive orchards.
Other attractions include the Roman arena and medieval churches of Arles, and the Roman-era aqueduct at Pont du Gard.
Tours include transportation, entrance fees at Pont du Gard, and a mix of guided and free time. Participants can explore areas that Van Gogh once frequented or relax with an espresso and indulge in some people watching.
4. Full-Day Lavender Fields Tour
Sporting amazing wine, delectable truffles, and endless fields of lavender, Aix-en-Provence is truly in a league of its own.
This nine-hour tour gets kicked-off in Marseille when guests meet their guide near the city center.
The first portion of the tour takes place in Aix-en-Provence, where guests will see a few sites and learn about the city’s history and famous artist inhabitants.
From there, it’s off to the Valensole Plateau, home to the region’s most majestic lavender fields that are especially spectacular when the flowers are in the throes of the spring bloom.
You’ll want to bring a camera because the vistas are amazing.
5. Grape Stomping
Back before the days of electricity and professional-grade smashing equipment, wine grapes were pulverized by the feet of villagers.
Though it’s a dying art, it’s still possible to feel squishy fruit between your toes on this grape stomping excursion.
Before taking the plunge, guests will learn about the region’s wine industry – from growing to production – then roll up their pants and climb into an oak vat that’s big enough for four people.
After giving the innocent grapes a beating, participants will enjoy a light meal, including cheeses, cured meats, olive oil, and wine from the winery.
Tours last three hours and begin mid-morning.
6. Verdon Canyon and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Getting out into the French countryside is a great way to unwind after seeing the area’s urban attractions.
This full-day guided tour explores Verdon Canyon, often referred to as France’s Grand Canyon.
Tour stops also include the world-renowned L’ Occitane cosmetic factory in Manosque, and, season permitting, the awe-inspiring lavender fields atop the Valensole Plateau.
For those interested in experiencing the lavender fields in full-bloom, plan on visiting between mid-June and mid-July.
Scenic lakes, rivers, and the historic village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie are also part of the package, but entrance fees, food and drinks, and personal expenses are the responsibility of guests.
7. Half-Day Wine Tour from Aix-en-Provence
First, to get all the pesky details out of the way, this half-day wine tour of nearby Coteaux d’Aix requires at least two participants, both of who must be least 18-years-old.
There’s also a dress code called ‘smart casual.’
If you’re not sure what that is, just leave the cutoff jeans and Bud Light tank tops at the hotel and you’ll be fine.
The 4 ½ -hour tour from Aix-en-Provence explores several noted wine-producing regions like Provence and Coteaux d’Aix. It also includes a visit to a renowned family winery that pioneered the country’s organic wine movement.
Guests will learn about grapes and the process of turning them into delectable wines and sample a variety of products, ranging from full-flavored reds and dry whites to fruit-infused rosés.
8. 3-Hour Fishing in Provence
Serious anglers know that fishing tends to be best in the morning and afternoon hours when fish are usually most active.
This three-hour tour is available with two starting times and is appropriate for those of most ages and skill levels.
Participants will have the chance to see fantastic scenery while en route to the fishing area and will wet their lines in either lakes or rivers, depending on the season and conditions.
Game fish include carp, perch, and pike, the latter of which are massive toothy predators with fearsome teeth that often grow to the size of a man’s leg.
Morning trips include a hearty country breakfast with coffee and tea, or water and juice for kids.
9. Half-Day Tour of Camargue
For lovers of pristine natural environments and wild animals, there’s no better area to visit while in Aix-en-Provence than Camargue.
It’s most well-known for its large expanses of marshy river delta, abundant wild horses, and ornithological park, but there are a number of historic attractions that are worth exploring as well, like churches and medieval villages.
Guests will travel to the sites in an air-conditioned minivan while listening to interesting narration from their guide.
The tour includes both guided and free exploration time. If guests choose to, they can visit the bird sanctuary.
Round-trip transportation to and from Ai-en-Provence is included, but entry to the sanctuary isn’t.
10. Luberon Hilltop Villages
The hilltop villages in Luberon are among the area’s most photogenic attractions.
In a country absolutely crawling with historic and idyllic villages, Lourmarin, Bonnieux, and Gordes are consistently ranked among the most impressive.
This six-hour tour from Aix-en-Provence includes stops at a Renaissance-era castle, the red ochre cliffs at Roussillon, and a variety of panoramic viewpoints from which it’s possible to take in unobstructed views of the countryside below – when the weather is cooperating.
For those looking to distance themselves from the hordes of tourists and urban chaos often found in larger cities, this country tour would be a great fit.
11. Aix en Provence Historical and Gourmet Walking Tour
Combo tours tend to give tourists the most bang for their bucks because they offer a wider perspectives and appeal to those with a diverse range of interests.
This history and gourmet food tour gets underway at the Tourist Information Center in downtown Aix-en-Provence.
Guests will meet their guide and get an overview of the things they’re about to see before setting out to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes for which the city is most well-known.
While en route, your guide will impart interesting tidbits of local history and point out places you may want to explore on your own later.
12. Provence Olive Harvest
Picking olives under a slowly setting autumn sun in the French countryside is definitely a worthy endeavor for those who prefer outdoor activities over air-conditioned minivan tours.
These tours begin twice daily during the season and include an introduction into the area’s olive oil tradition, as well as the correct picking techniques to use while in the fields.
Don’t worry if your efforts don’t yield many olives, because you’re just a tourist looking to have fun, not a slave laborer with a daily quota to meet.
After picking, guests will enjoy a hearty country-style snack, including pate, cured meat, bread, cheese, wine, and a variety of olive and truffle oils to sample as well.
13. Half-Day Tour of Cassis from Aix-en-Provence
From lavender fields and wineries to medieval cathedrals and secret truffle grounds, there’s a little something for everyone in Aix-en-Provence.
There are a number of quaint fishing villages like Cassis tucked along the shores of Cap Canaille as well; they’re easy to visit in half-day tours.
This four-hour sightseeing, history, and cultural tour whisks guests along the scenic coast in a comfy air-conditioned van while they’re learning about what it is that makes the area so special.
Tour sights include stunning inlets, beaches, shops, and bluffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Guests may choose to take an optional 45-minute coastal cruise as well.
14. Vincent Van Gogh Art and History Day-Trip
Though post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh was born in the Netherlands, he spent many of his working years in the area around Aix-en-Provence.
He was most prolific during the latter years of his life at the end of the 19th century. For art lovers, this easy day-trip to Provence is the perfect way to learn all about the man and his work.
Along with their guide, guests will drive through the stunning Alpilles Mountains, the village of Arle, and see the monastery where the troubled artist was sent for psychiatric care after cutting his own ear off.
The eight ½-hour tour includes a cafe that Van Gogh frequented, as well as scenes that inspired some of his most well-known works.
15. Segway Tour
Tourists visiting Aix-en-Provence can see the area’s amazing sights by foot, bus, bike, and Segway.
For those who’ve never used a Segway, they’re gravity-defying two-wheeled contraptions that are surprisingly easy to use, even for most children over about 60 pounds.
Before setting out, tour guests will get helmets and an overview of how to handle the electric machine.
From there, it’ll be time to head out on a one-hour tour that focuses on the city’s Mazarin District, which is known for its abundance of fountains, medieval architecture, and historic sites.
It’s a great way to get acclimated to the city while leaving tons of free time for other adventures.