For years I had heard about the beauty of Aix-en-Provence - it's outdoor markets and street-side cafes - so Aix was a priority for us on our trip and it was where we wanted to spend our first anniversary. It did not disappoint.
There aren't a ton of museums or "can't miss" sites to see in Aix, but it is perfect if you want to experience the Provençal lifestyle. We spent two days wandering its streets, eating and drinking in cafes, and just enjoying the last days of summer.
Aix was by far the largest town we visited in Provence. It has a university which gives it a bustling, lively vibe; it feels lived in. I could imagine myself living in the city, whereas many of the other towns seemed made for short tourist stop-overs.
Aix was founded by the Romans, and its narrow side streets, with open squares and fountains, were reminiscent of Rome. But the Cours Mirabeau, which is lined with cafes and stores and runs down the center of the city, feels distinctly French.
Beyond the restaurant and cafe culture, Aix is blessed by incredible outdoor markets. We were staying at a hotel, so we didn't buy too much produce, but I marveled over the vegetable, bread, and charcuterie available to Aix's inhabitants. I would give anything to have comparable markets at my disposal in the U.S.
Despite being on the go for most of our trip, we made sure to take time off our feet on our first anniversary and celebrated by the pool before having dinner at a wonderful restaurant, Mitch, in the center of Aix.