Aix is my new favorite place to shop. It's like a mini Paris. I was particularly taken with La Grand Baix with it's designer fashions not seen in the USA. That's where I discovered Catherine Michiels' inspired jewelry. And I was looking for a unique fragrance, which I found at Rose et Marius. The Saturday markets were also not to be missed, especially if looking for lavender products. All of Provence was a delight to shop in, which I wrote about on my blog, http://secondlivesclub.blogspot.com/2013/07/shopping-in-provence.html. I can't wait to return. Now I know where to shop!
What to buy: Women's clothing, jewelry, shoes and perfume
One of the specialties in Provence are the small cake like Calissons. Leonard Parli has the reputation of the best in Aix and his product can be found in many places. However, close to the train station is the Leonard Parli Calisson store.
Local wine shop specializing in wines made in the immediate region. This place is off the beaten track, a mile on the Cezanne walk to view Mount Victoire. I picked up a local syrah-cabernet by loacal vintner Domaine des Masque which was very tasty. The woman was very helpful although spoke no English. It did not matter with my clumsy French she was able to figure out what I was looking for, all done with excellent (pardon the pun) spirits.
A lovely shop in the historical center. Wonderful colors, you can find there the "créations" of a young parisian designer.
She uses a lot of ribbons and lace, on nice printed fabrics.
Go and see her web site : www.rosaliedemontmartre.com
She makes wedding dresses too !
What to buy: Lovely retro dresses, orginal skirts and plenty of tops !
What to pay: From 25 to 135 euros
"Rosalie de Montmartre" is a young designer's shop. She makes very original dresses, blouses, skirts, and... wedding dresses !
She imagined a nice colorful shop, where you can admire hand-made clothes, with lace and ribbons.
As she usually does only one per kind, you may need time to see everything...
What to pay: T-shirt are around 25 euros, and count 120 euros for a dress.
Our visit to Aix yielding some fun shopping experiences. We wandered into a wonderful little food and flower in one of the squares. There were vendors selling fruit, vegetables, olives, chocolate, candy, bread, meats, herbs and spices. Liz and I bought some fresh raspberries, apricots and some calissons. The raspberries were very fresh and sweet. I'm not a fan of apricots so they were all for Liz. The calissons are a Provencal specialty pastry that are supposed to look like a pope's hat. It's made of almond paste and sugar. I've had them before when Liz brought them home from a trip with her Mom; and wasn't too thrilled with them.
After we wandered back to the main avenue we saw the large market that was now lining both sides of the street. Vendors were lined up selling everything from underwear to furniture. After strolling through and checking out the goods, Liz bought a dress and a bag.
I know my girl...any trip involving shopping is a good one.
What to buy: The fruit at the market was very good and the raspberries were only 2 Euros for a large container. The Apricots were a Euro for three. The Calissons were 4 euros for a package.
Liz's dress was 10 Euros. Her straw bag was 20 euros but of good construction and quite nice.
What to pay: Inexpensive-expensive
Bechard's is the oldest bakery in Aix-en-Provence. They have an unbelievable assortment of sweets and honestly, I could easily spend every bit of money I have there happily. Aix is known for their "calissons." Calissons are made of ground almonds, preserved melons and orange rind surrounded by a wafer and covered in icing. They are sinfully delicious and the best I tasted were from Bechard. But what makes Bechard so special to me are their truffles. I originally bought several small bags as gifts for friends. But, then I tasted them and...well, I ate them all (oops). The shop itself if small and gorgeous. The staff were incredibly friendly and beyond patient with my not-quite French.
Honestly, whenever I learn of anyone going to France, I see if they can stop at Bechard for me. I am that addicted to their truffles.
What to pay: I don't remember exact prices, but I travel on a budget and don't recall being put out at their prices. The truffles are worth their weight in gold.
Before going to Aix, I had never heard of SEPHORA. I loved going in there to pass the time even if I did go down the street to Monoprix where I could buy some of same brands, such as Bourjois. I was like a kid in a candy store.
It is not only for women, there are a lot of wonderful men's products here too.
What to buy: Cosmetics and perfumes.
If you like Chanel products, buy Bourjois label. It is made in the same factory.
The window display will lure you into this famous patisserie. The specialty are the Callisons d'Aix which are a delicious cross between a candy and a cake made from ground almonds, preserved melon and fruit syrup. There are other wonderful delites that will tempt you, such as chocolates and pastries. All pastries are freshly made daily.
What to buy: Try the callisons d'Aix.
There are a lot of very upscale boutiques in Aix, but I think Gago has the most contemporary pret a porter for both men and women. Designers such as Prada, Helmut Lang, Tsumori Chisato, Marjolin Van Den Heuvel, and Gucci are included in their collection.
What to pay: Very expensive.
As in almost all European cities, there are wonderful street markets.
Place des Prêcheurs : Tuesday,Thursday, Saturday.
Place de la Madeleine : Tuesday,Thursday, Saturday.
Place Richelme : every day.
Place de la Mairie : Tuesday,Thursday, Saturday.
Place des Prêcheurs : Monday,Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.
ANTIQUES AND FLEA MARKET
Place de Verdun : Tuesday,Thursday, Saturday.
Place Jeanne d’Arc :
• - Antiques days and flea market
• - Flea market days : very last Monday of the month except in July,November and December.
OLD AND SECOND HAND BOOKSTALLS
Every 1st Sunday of the month at the City Hall Square.
WITH MATERIAL AND CLOTHING ITEMS
Place Verdun and Place Monclar : Tuesday,Thursday, Saturday.
What to buy: Clothing, Provencal fabrics, tableclothes, knick knacks, books, antiques, dry goods, fruits, vegetable, meats, fish, olives, olive oil, spices.
This is a great place to buy cotton napkins. The prints are very attractive and they don't need ironing. I use these all of the time. There is a big selection which are 5 euros each. I also bought some for 10 euros each, but the simpler ones for 5 seem to appeal to most of the people I show them to. I don't remember the exact street but it is worth looking up when you get there. Just off the square where the Palais de Justice is...could have been on rue Chapeliers or rue Marius Reinaud.
What to buy: napkins and dishcloths and aprons
What to pay: 5-15 euros
I bought quite a few napkins for the kitchen table as well as dishcloths. The napkins were 6 euros each and were a beautiful linen print. Just so appealing.Great color combinations. The weight and pattern were of a great quality. I also bought a lot of dishcloths for drying dishes which were 10 euros each. Also a great weight and with charming patterns and colors. There is also a nice shop to buy cotton aprons with beautiful block prints for 15 euros almost right across the street from Souleiado, as you descend and head towards the Place de l'Hotel de Ville.
What to buy: napkins, dishcloths
What to pay: 5 to 10 euros each
All over Aix, you can find some top line tart shops. Their cakes, tarts and biscuits can be real works of art - with prices to match.
The photo is of one on the Mirabeau, but keep your eyes open and you will see many.
Monoprix reminds me of Penney's only it has a grocery store downstairs. I did most of my grocery shopping there. Upstairs,I found hats,scarves,cosmetics and handbags to be my items of choice.
What to buy: Downstairs: food items.
Upstairs: clothing,cosmetics, bakery goods.
Since it has been 6 years that I have been there, please feel free to update me if there have been any changes.
What to pay: Average prices.