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A pocket of left-bank Parisian chic deep in Provence, Aix (pronounced like the letter X) is all class: its leafy boulevards and public squares are lined with 17th- and 18th-century mansions, punctuated by gurgling moss-covered fountains. Haughty stone lions guard its grandest avenue, cafe-laced cours Mirabeau, where fashionable Aixois pose on polished pavement terraces, sipping espresso. While Aix is a student hub, its upmarket appeal makes it pricier than other Provençal towns.

The part-pedestrianised centre of Aix’ old town is ringed by busy boulevards, with several large car parks dotted on the edge of town. Whatever you do, don’t try and drive into the centre.

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