I visited Aix 20 years ago when it was a charming town. We got there to find there is a move toward modernization with the live/work/play construction we are familiar with in Atlanta...huge shopping centers with little trees. There was really so much construction near Cours Mirabou that it was difficult to get around. My daughter and I were so disappointed with our decision to visit as it is at a point with construction that it was quite noisy. Also, it was the only town on a two week trip where we felt unsafe. Also note, if you are traveling by Eurail, Aix is also reconstructing its rail line and you will have to change to a bus.
This is a funny but real thing that can happen to you. The beautiful planetrees, the shade of which you enjoy at the terrace of cafés, also host many pigeons whose droppings can compromise your good tourist temper!!!
You will actually notice that the monuments are protected with picks in order to prevent the pigeaon to nestle there.
I disagree with an earlier warning. I have just lived in Aix for six months and the crime rate is really loe - so low that the locals are going mad because the police want CCTV cameras in the town center!
Bring medical supplies from home. My friend Ben came here with a cough, and the pharmacist gave him a missile shaped suppository (the pills that ou put up your bum). When he took it back and explained that he would prefer cough medecine to not being able to sit down for a few hours, she became all defensive, saying "but it's really good, I use it, what's wrong with it?" The suppository, it must be said, is a lot more popular in France than in other countries...
This problem is everywhere, in every town and city, but I thought I'd say beware of this anyway, because it happens, especially in tourist season. Keep your bag under your table, but keep an eye on it. Around the tourist office a lot of people tend to hang about, and there are those that are eyeing what you have.
As in much of France, every attempt is made to clean up the streets. But one thing always eludes them...DOGPOO! There's a lot of it, from the Cours Mirabeau to the Cathedrale, so beware - it could be you.
On our walking tour of Aix, we stumbled across this drinking fountain for dogs, we think, on Rue Boulegon & Rue Mignet.