Museums or hiking? Stop dreading that your kids will reject your ideas during this vacation. In Aix-en- Provence, the capital of the breathtaking Côtes d´Azur, no need to censor yourself on the cultural activities. Here are a few ideas for making this Aix-en- Provence trip a real family trip.
A few tips to enjoy your trip to Aix-en- Provence with your kids :
Make the cultural visits short (especially when your kids are really young)
Make it fun (this tip can work for museums or farmers market as well as amusement parks)
Make it last (Aix is the perfect background for your family photographs)
And plan your trip and activities together (you kids might be more inclined to do a museum
tour if they know they´ll spend the afternoon at the zoo)
Even if you love Paul Cézanne’s paintings, your kids might not be as enthusiastic about the famous French painter house.But, it’s undeniable that they will enjoy the visit of this charming tiny house that was used as an artist studio by the painter during the last years of his life. A number of animations are organized in the garden (during the summer). Still lacking ideas on how to interest your kids in Cézann´s life? The studio´s website has a few quiz and games that would definitely spark their interest in a fun and smart way… and maybe teach you, parents, a thing or two about the artist.
Sur les pas de Cézanne
Now that you got them interested in the painter’s life, follow his steps around the city. Look around you, 34 nails, stamped with a capital « C » for Cézanne, are rooted in the ground. They mark different places that served as milestones in the artist´s life. Count 2 hours to do the whole itinerary (the map is available on the Tourist Office´s website).
Your teenagers might also enjoy walking in Emile Zola´s steps for an afternoon, the writer of the French classic Germinal and Cézanne were friends in their early years.
Want your kids to let loose in a safe environment where the whole family could enjoy a picnic?
Public parks are a huge part of Aix-en- Provence outdoor’s culture, with many acres spread around the city, each boasting recreational areas for kids. Parc Jourdan is a city park close to downtown Aix-en- Provence, known for being the largest park in the city and a local favorite for hiking. Parc Jourdan as two faces, on the lower level it looks like a classically arranged french garden while the higher part of the park is a mix of sandy roads and green grass lawns with a playground for the younger crowd. The other beautiful parks in Aix-en- Provence are the Parc de la Torse (in the East District) and the Parc des Collines de Cuques (South District), a natural site situated on a hill with a playground and a footbath for kids. During the summer, they will love this refreshing moment!
Ferme du Brégalon
Leave the hustle bustle of the city for the less touristy countryside. In the small town of Rognes, at a 30 minutes drive from Aix-en- Provence, you´ll find a different kind of ranch. At La Ferme du Brégalon, an Alpine goat farm, visitors can watch the feeding of the baby goats (after 7 pm) and the milking process (Tuesdays and Fridays at 7 pm). The kids will love petting the animals and absorb the knowledge of the farmers on the proper way to make goat cheese and to breed goats.
Zoo de la Barden and Chateau de la Barden
Less than half an hour away from Aix-en- Provence, you’ll find the biggest animal park in the region, spread across the 33 acres of Mediterranean vegetation. The animals caretakers will explain the lifestyle and secrets of the different animals (check the website for times). Take the little train to tour this enchanting park that has more than 120 species of exotic animals from giraffes to lions, elephants or zebras.
Once your kids had their fill of animal, head to the Chateau de la Barden. The owners of this medieval castle offer numerous activities around the theme of the Middle Age and treasure hunts in the castle and gardens.
Montagne Sainte Victoire
Sunday morning. No way you´ll be sleeping in with the Sainte Victoire mountain just waiting for you! Pack a picnic and a few snacks for the hike, put on your hiking boots and chose between the two most famous itineraries: Tholonet Escapé and Vauvernargues Boisé. Count at least 3 hours on the way up and 2 more hours on the way down. For smaller kids, the paths around La Maison de Sainte-Victoire are full of surprises, like fossilized eggs of dinosaurs.
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