Things to do in a French town with nothing to do

Aix in the summer is pine and lavender and clear blue skies. It’s also the type of summer escape everyone looks for: a small, bohemian provincial town with great wine, few crowds and friendly people.

And the beauty of it is that there’s nothing to do.

Why visit a town with nothing to do?

Aix is a retreat where your mind will feel scrubbed free. You know how people joke about bleaching their eyes after seeing something gross? This is the bleach. The beautiful, comforting, add-ten-years-to-life bleach. The sky literally has a different quality, it’s why painters flock here. And breath, breath in deep because the air is different here too. It’s alpine-esque but sweet with lavender and earth.

Snapshots of Provence.
Snapshots of Provence.

The hills are calling

Located in the region of Provence, Aix is near everything you could want to do. Ancient monasteries still staffed by monks? Check. Towns perched on picture perfect hill-tops? Check. Roman history, including aqueducts, Roman roads, tombs and amphitheaters? Another big check.

It’s an incredible region that will surprise you. The sites don’t scream “French” and that’s the beauty of it– you get to see beyond the stereotypes and tourist traps.

Embrace your inner artist

There is no better time to give your artistic impulses a go than in France. Artists flock to Aix as much for the relative quiet as for the general aura the town embodies. Painters love the wild-flower country-side, writers sip coffee on the Cours Mirabeau, musicians strum in the squares and dancers practice in even-floored halls, the doors open to let cool evening air in.

Aix is also college town, although not in the traditional American sense. Students bring a youthful vibe and new ideas, like to-go coffee (this isn’t a thing in France, but one entreprenuring graduate started a shop centered around the concept) and late night pastry sales.

Buy some art supplies and go for it, you won’t be alone.

Snapshots of Provence.

Go to a show (even if it’s only in French)

Aix is rich with cultural exploits. At any time, you can find a concert, speaker, art installation or live performance.

These things aren’t geared towards tourists, so you often won’t find them in English. But even if your French language skills are non-existent, you can understand and enjoy visual art and live performances. And the locals will be excited to have you, they’ll do their best to accommodate you and make you feel welcome.

Aix is the ultimate do-nothing town because you’ll feel content doing nothing there. After you climb over the anxiety hump of feeling like “I should be doing something right now,” you’ll realize that there’s plenty to do in the calm of nothing.


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