One question I’m frequently asked is “how do you pronounce Aix-en-Provence?” The full name is pronounced ex-on-pro-vonse, but if you want to fit in with the locals straight-away, you can shorten it to just Aix (ex). Aix is what you’ll hear most often in conversation and read in publicity for events as you stroll the ancient rues and chemins of the Mazarin Quarter and centre-ville. So where did this name come from? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Aix was founded by the Roman consul Caius Sextius Calvinus in 122BC as Aquae Sextiae, combining Latin for the network of natural aquifers running under the city (Aquae) with the not-so-humble Italian diplomat’s name (Sextiae). This Latin origin later became Ais de Provença during the period when the Provençal dialect of the Occitan language was at its height in the region. Many of the street signs in town in fact continue to display both their Provençal and French designations, and Occitan is still spoken by a small population of Europeans spanning from northern Spain through southern France and into Italy.
Over the following centuries, the town’s moniker evolved to Aix-en-Provence as we know it today. Aix also has several nicknames including the city of 1000 fountains and ville d’eau (city of water). From the grand Fontaine de la Rotonde to tiny sculptures tucked into centuries-old nooks, and everything in between, water installations are plentiful and come in all configurations, adding layers of auditory and visual texture to the city’s energy.
Now that you are able to pronounce Aix-en-Provence, learn more about Aixploring Provence and this charming southern French village situated near the port city of Marseille and in the heart of the Provence by browsing through my online journal. And of course, if you’ll be visiting then I invite you to take a tour.
“Oh La La Aix !”
Loved our visit to Aix-en-Provence thanks to our experience with Erin @aixploringprovence. She is super friendly and very knowledgeable about Aix and Provence. She had great recommendations about a few other villages to visit based on our interests in the arts & hiking, that we checked out & loved. Why wonder around getting lost, when Erin is available to show you the way…michele – TheProvenceMarket, Aix-en-Provence, France
We met Erin in the morning for our tour. She greeted us with pastries from the oldest working pastry shop in Aix. Quite a start and it kept getting better from there. Her tour really gave us a feel for this great city. We learned quite a bit. Her style is very casual making the tour a great escape from those large programmed tours. I definitely recommend Aixploring for your tour. – 643thomask, Cape Elizabeth ME, USA
“Fabulous afternoon Aixploring Provence”
We spent the afternoon on a walking tour with Erin Jordan exploring Aix. It was delightful! She is knowledgeable of the area and keenly share interesting facts and history. She introduced us to the most delicious pastries and macaroons ever made!! Easy going, flexible in her style and so friendly. Highly recommend this tour as an intro to Aix. – 123Presidency, Toronto ON, Canada