Diabline, Aix en ProvenceAix en Provence is a compact city and many major sights around the Cours Mirabeau, Mazarin Quarter and Old Town can easily be visited on foot. But, if you want to rest your feet or venture further afield, there are various alternatives.

booking.com logoClick here to book a hotel in Aix en Provence

 

 

Click here to read about the ZOU! card, which offers discounts of up to 75% on local bus and rail transport.

BUS

To travel around within the Aix city centre and the Greater Aix area (Pays d'Aix), you can buy a ticket from the driver when you board the bus. But it is cheaper to arm yourself with a pre-paid pass.

There are two types of these: a disposable ticket with a magnetic strip (un ticket magnétique) and a renewable card with a chip (une carte à puce) that looks rather like a credit card.

The ticket magnétique is much the more convenient for the short term visitor. You can buy one for a single journey or for various combinations of multiple journeys (see the Aix en Bus website for details). Unsurprisingly, the multi-journey tickets work out cheaper per trip.

You can take as many trips as you like for no extra cost for one hour after validating the ticket, which you do by putting it into the slot at the top of the reader at the entrance to the bus, with the magnetic strip facing upwards. You have to punch the ticket again when you change buses, but you won't be charged.

The chip card (carte à puce) is valid for eight years and obtainable from the Aix en Bus reception desk (address below) on production of ID and a photograph.

City bus in Aix en ProvenceIt is validated by touching it on the pad at the bottom of the reader at the entrance to the bus. You load it up with credit either for individual trips or for unlimited monthly or annual travel.

Where to buy bus tickets: Single journey tickets are sold on board the bus itself, you can buy. All pre-paid tickets and passes are on sale at the Aix en Bus reception desk. It's located in the Aix en Provence Tourist Office, in the Allées Provençales, and is open Monday-Saturday.

Alternatively you can get disposable tickets or top up the chip card at various tobacconists' shops (bureaux de tabac) and newspaper kiosks around the city.

Details of where to buy pre-paid bus tickets in Aix are available on the Aix en Bus website. The same website also has details of a new arrival: night buses. These run until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and might come in handy if you're staying outside the town centre.

In addition to the local buses, there is a regular shuttle service from the bus station to Aix TGV station and Marseille-Provence airport at Marignane. Click here for the bus timetable to Aix TGV and Marseille-Provence airport.

There is also a very frequent shuttle service to the Marseille Saint Charles bus and train station. Click here for the bus timetable between Aix and Marseille (select timetable Cartreize 050 in the drop-down menu).

Be sure to take Line 50, which goes along the motorway and takes half an hour (there is also a slow service, Line 51, which stops at numerous local towns along the way). As an extra bonus, free wi-fi has been installed on board these buses.

For buses outside the immediate city area, in the wider Pays d'Aix region and indeed the entire département of the Bouches du Rhône, Le Pilote is the website to consult.

Aix bus stationIn 2014 Aix's sparkling new bus station (gare routière) opened on its previous site at avenue de l'Europe. Tel: (+33) 8 91 02 40 25.

The building has been designed under the supervision of Jean-Marie Duthilleul, the architect responsible for the sleek Aix and Avignon TGV stations.

Apparently inspired by the proportions of the Cours Mirabeau, it boasts a very long arcade of elegant metal arches, pictured, where passengers can wait in the shade and a huge plant wall - the largest in France - that is not only decorative but intended to reduce noise and air pollution.

It has a long, thin "Espace Voyageurs", a ticket-office / indoor waiting room that's air-conditioned and has (free) toilets, though unfortunately it closes in the very early evening. There's also a little snack bar in the bus station itself, plus more just around the corner on the avenue des Belges.

DIABLINE

Since 2003, the Diablines - nippy little electric-powered vehicles, similar to Avignon's Baladines, that are a sort of cross between buses, taxis and milk delivery floats - have scurried around the streets of Aix.

They follow three fixed circuits in the city centre: see the Diabline website for a map. But, instead of picking up and dropping passengers only at bus-stops, they can be hailed down like taxis.

They are, however, a good deal cheaper: in fact they cost about half as much as the "normal" bus. Tickets can only be bought on board from the Diabline's grandly named "pilot".

You can change from the bus network without paying again under the "one hour" rule described above, and children under four travel free.

The Diablines, pictured top left, can carry seven passengers, sit low on the road and are therefore accessible for riders of restricted mobility. And they can duck down narrow or semi-pedestrianised streets that larger traffic can't reach.

They circulate roughly every ten minutes, though the hours of service are somewhat restricted: from 8.30am to 7.30pm. The Diablines don't run on Sundays or public holidays.

Diabline website (in French only). Tel: (+33) 4 42 38 07 36.

RAIL

Click here to read our guide to Aix Centre and Aix TGV train stations.

 

CAR, TAXI AND BICYCLE TAXI

There is a choice of leading car hire companies at Aix TGV station, and many more in the city. If you are planning to rent a car in Aix, please consider our comparison search engine for all grades of hire car from Smarts to 4x4s and limousines.

Powered by our affiliate partner, it will instantly compare the current rates on offer from all major suppliers at your chosen location to ensure you get the best deal.

If you are renting - or already own - an electric car, you are well catered for in Aix: there is privileged on-street parking and all the city car-parks have designed parking bays with electric sockets (bornes de recharge) to recharge your vehicle.

Driving around Aix can be tricky as much of the centre, especially the Old Town, is now completely closed to cars, with access (via retractable bollards) for locals only.

Even in those parts which you can access, many of the streets are narrow and parking space is at a premium. Foreign-registered or car-hire vehicles parked on the street are also frequent targets for break-ins. A list of municipal car parks can be found on the Aix Tourist Office website.

Insider tip on public transport in Aix en ProvenceThe most central underground car-park, at La Rotonde, is huge. And it is confusingly divided into two separate zones whose bays are very similarly numbered.

For instance, one area has bay # 4 101 and the other area has bay # 4 0101. If your car seems to have vanished, it could be that you are looking in the "wrong" part of the car-park!

Another tip: watch out for pickpockets hanging around the machines at La Rotonde where you pay for the parking before retrieving your car. It's a popular venue for hustlers and scam artists.

Alternatively, you could use the city's parcs relais - its park-and-ride scheme - leaving your car in one of five car parks outside the city for a very modest daily (or, indeed, monthly or yearly) fee and commuting in by bus.

The car parks are open from 6.30am-9pm, though you can take your car out at any time using your ticket. Each one connects with bus routes into the city centre.

Krypton is by the A8 motorway to the south of Aix, Hauts de Brunet in the north is off the A51 motorway and Route des Alpes, in the north-east, is near the A51 and the N296.

In the autumn of 2014 two new parcs relais were added: Plan d'Aillane in the suburb of Les Milles south-west of Aix towards the TGV station and Plan Malacrida near the A8 motorway to the south-east of the city.

A free bus pass is issued by car park staff to drivers and all their passengers for unlimited trips on one day only. If you are leaving the car for more than one day, you'll need to buy a ticket to return to the car park. Parcs relais website (in French only).

Taxis in Aix en ProvenceTaxis are plentiful in Aix, with several taxi ranks in the city. One of the largest companies, Taxis Radio Aixois, is based at the bus station on the avenue de l'Europe. Tel : (+33) 4 42 27 71 11.

An alternative is Radio Taxi Mirabeau, 570 route d'Avignon. Tel (+33) 4 42 21 61 61. Or click here to pre-book a holiday taxi online.

The low-cost peer-to-peer car-sharing service UberPOP is now banned in France.

PETIT TRAIN

Aix's petit train, or little train, offers tours of the city with earphone commentary in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Greek, Japanese or Chinese. Sleeker and more modern-looking than its traditional Marseille counterpart, it's sometimes called the minitram in the tourist literature.

The petit train in Aix en ProvenceThe train leaves from in front of the statue of Paul Cézanne on La Rotonde at the bottom of the Cours Mirabeau. It offers two tours, one lasting 40 minutes of the city centre and one lasting 50 minutes of the centre plus some of the Cézanne sights. You can buy tickets on board.

The timetable varies depending on the time of year, and the train does not run between mid-November and mid-March. Details, in several languages including English, of the current timetables and ticket prices on the petit train website.

BICYCLE

Sadly the V'Hello, Aix en Provence's municipal scheme of bikes for hire, was discontinued in 2011. However a list of commercial companies offering bike hire can be found on the Aix en Provence Tourist Office website.

RELATED ARTICLES

Main Menu