Food & Restaurants

The Sweet Life in Aix-en-Provence

It’s that time of the year when I don’t know exactly how to feel   –  a bit sad about the end of the holidays, more than a little excited about the New Year, and altogether anxious for the start of another beautiful spring in France.

Riederer pastries
Riederer, Aix-en-Provence

And if you haven’t heard, or guessed already, things are a tad slow for us Southern dwellers during the winter months.  Villages are all but boarded-up, especially as the nasty Mistral blows through town, and besides shopping (the winter sales begin this Wednesday), skiing, and sundry winter sports, Provence practically goes into hibernation.

Truth be told, even though I’ve set my wallet on autopilot & can’t wait to blow through the doors at Printemps on Wednesday, my real comfort during the winter months comes in the form of French sweets – mousses, pastries, and chocolates of every shape, size, & nut extraction.  And judging by the line winding out of patisseries like Bechard, me & my stretchy-pants aren’t alone.

Dessert
Pâtisserie Béchard, Aix-en-Provence

Armed with guidebooks & frosted-dreams, Kathy Ayer and I hit up several sweet spots in Aix-en-Provence that were far better than any day doing le shopping.

Our first stop was Bechard which occupies prime real-estate on Cours Mirabeau & whose display windows make easy-targets of passing shoppers.  Offering freshly-baked bread, fruit confit, macarons, and pastries of all dimensions, it’s hard to pass up a quick indulgence.

Fresh bread & sweet treats, Bechard.
Pâtisserie Béchard, Aix-en-Provence

And if you’re looking to have the top of the top (or crème de la crème as it were) pastry experiences in Aix, you’d best join the appreciative customers at either of Riederer’s two “centreville” locations.  These sweet jewels are everything you’d expect from quality French pastries:  gorgeously assembled and light to the taste.  No over-the-top sugar drops here… as I can attest to, having tried one of Riederer’s exquisite “Cezanne” creations.  A little piece of cream-covered heaven on a plate.

Puyricard Aix
Puyricard chocolates

Along with many other “sweet spots” of note, we’d certainly be remiss, or maybe just a tad greedy, if we didn’t include chocolatier Puyricard. 

A bit off the main track, but more than worth the trek, Puyricard is a Provençal chocolatier with boutiques in towns across the region.  And these chocolates are no-less than diet-killing, moan-out-loud, fork-over €23 per-240-grams delicious.

If you go to Puyricard, don’t go around the holidays (take-a-ticket crowded) and please oh please make sure to try the chocolate-covered caramels.  100% guaranteed to get you through the winter… gale-force Mistral winds…the subjunctive tense… or just about anything else.

Bonnes Adresses:

 

Bechard

12 Cours Mirabeau

Aix-en-Provence

Ph:  04 42 26 06 78

 

 

-Article on Riederer from En Provence.

(in French)

 

Puyricard

420 Route du Puy Sainte Réparade

Aix-en-Provence

Ph : 04 42 21 47 10

www.puyricard.fr

 

About Tuula

I’m a 40-ish American woman & I’ve been blogging about my travels around belle Provence since moving here in 2010. You can also find my travel writing in International Living magazine, Charming Small Hotels (France), & Living France magazine. Bienvenue!

17 comments on “The Sweet Life in Aix-en-Provence

  1. Anne Woodyard

    What a yummy post! Thanks for giving me a taste of Aix to keep me going ’til we return to Ambiance d’Aix in a few weeks! I’ll surely be stopping in one or more of these yummy spots.

    Like

    • How exciting Anne… hope you have a great trip to Aix! There are really so many yummy spots around town, I’m sure you’ll pick up some terrific pastries. Bon voyage!

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  2. Chocolate covered caramels sound absolutely glorious on a blustery winter day. 🙂 It’s so wicked hot where I am that I’d have to go for one of those light pastries instead. That cream covered one sounds incredible!! 🙂 So glad you and Kathy had such a great time together. 🙂

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    • The cream-covered ones are great too Krista, I imagine all this seems quite far from Australia! Sending you some “virtual sweets” and hope you’re enjoying that summer weather 🙂 Thanks for your kind comment!

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  3. Well, I will keep your list of bonnes adresses for our next visit to Aix. We always go at least one time per visit to Sablet since we have family who live just outside of town. We are returning to Sablet for two weeks in March so I am a little worried about how much will be closed up when we are there. I assume the wineries will be open so we can do lots of tasting…followed by eating loads of pastries and chocolate. Yummy.

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    • Sounds like a good plan Michel. I think almost everything is open in the bigger cities like Aix, it’s just the smaller villages that seem to have closures… restaurants above all! Looking forward to hearing more about your trip, and thanks as always for your kind comment.

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  4. Thanks Karen, your comment is much appreciated. Hope you get a chance to go back to Aix soon… it’s a wonderful city!

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  5. Velva- Tomatoes on the Vine

    Surely Winter can’t be the only time the French treats should be devoured (smile). I have had the pleasure of everyday while in France visiting one local pastry shop after another. They are everywhere!

    Thanks for reminding me how absolutely wonderful French desserts are-

    Like

    • Too true Velva, French pastries can definitely be enjoyed any time of the year…. which may help explain my growing waistline, lol. I don’t know how these French ladies do it, I can’t resist! Merci for your comment & bon weekend 🙂

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  6. Look at all these gorgeous pastries!!! I’m gaining weight just by looking at them! I feel a sugar rush coming on…

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  7. Ingrid_christensen

    ooh la la – yum yum yum!!

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  8. I have an (empty) box of calissons like the one in your photo. Can’t resist them. Much like this post, so many temptations!

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  9. The confections above simply looks deliciously tempting…wow. just wow and yum 🙂

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    • Anonymous

      Thanks Vivon 🙂 They’re very hard to resist indeed… luckily the French make “bitesize” versions of most of these treats… makes the choosing a little easier but still find myself buying too many!

      Like

  10. I miss French bakery. So. Bad.

    Thanks for the evocative descriptions 🙂

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  11. Jennie @ The Dish Room Diaries

    We are looking forward to our visit to Aix in just five short weeks. I wonder which of our group will be the first one to visit these beautiful shops..

    Like

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