Aix-en-Provence is a medieval town in southern France, situated some 20 miles from the Mediterranean coast, due north of Marseille. It is famous for its thermal hot springs and for being the birthplace of one of the “godfathers of modern art”, the post-impressionist painter Paul Cezanne, as well as being the second home of his great contemporary, the renowned naturalist writer Emile Zola.
Dominating the centre of the city are the Cours Mirabeau and the Grands Augustins Convent, which dates back to seventh century. Here, nestled behinds its ancient walls, sits the old headquarters of the Community House, which has been lovingly restored to create a unique hotel for visitors to this delightful French town.
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The Hotel des Augustins combines ancient and modern to perfection. From the moment you enter the main lobby, with its huge vaulted walls and ceiling, to the individually styled rooms, the building takes you on a journey through history and art in equal measure.
The Hotel des Augustins boasts 29 spacious rooms in total. The styling is individually suited to each space and embraces the quirky architectural and decorative features of this ancient building. The top floor features two unique loft rooms, offering a spacious alternative to traditional hotel style and both benefit from private outdoor terraces with lovely views out over the town. All rooms are sound-proofed, air-conditioned and feature en-suite bathrooms. Satellite TV, minibar, direct telephone line and wi-fi internet access come as standard, ensuring that guests want for nothing during their stay.
There is much to discover in and around the streets of Aix-en-Provence. The entire town is bathed in beautiful Mediterranean light for much of the year – indeed this is one of the features that kept Cezanne returning here long after finding fame in Paris. The hotel is located right next door to the main Cours Mirabeau, the delightful tree-lined avenue that treads its path through the centre of this historic town. From here, the streets of the old town weave their way to the north and west, flanked by mansions dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries. If churches are your thing, the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour is a must-visit, featuring a range of styles dating from between the fifth and the 17th centuries.
Aix-en-Provence is worth a visit in its own right or as part of a wider exploration of the Provence region. It is within easy reach of Mont Saint Victoire, the stand-alone mountain made famous by Cezanne in his many post-impressionist paintings, and the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean are just half an hour away by car or public transport. For something a little different try taking a day trip to the Camargue to see the famous wild horses in action, or to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Pont du Gard that crosses the Gardon River at nearby Remoulins. Built in the first century AD, this is a magnificent example of Roman engineering. This ancient Roman aqueduct is the highest of all Roman aqueduct bridges and one of the best preserved. And once the sightseeing is over, what better place to retire for a pleasant night’s sleep in a comfortable room steeped in history and artistic heritage, than the Hotel des Augustins.