Saturday, November 26, 2016

Aix-en-Provence Hidden Gem: Hotel de Gallifet (Food+Art+History)

There are a million thousand reasons to visit Provence in Southern France: the Lavender fields, the theater festival, the freshest selections of fruits and vegetables. Hence, we are not leaving without a proper meal in Aix-en-Provence, and we found just the perfect place to embark on our Provencal gastronomic venture. 
Aix-en-Provence, Hotel Particular, restaurant

While the majority of tourist flocking to Cours Mirabeau, with the help of the tourism board, we discovered this hidden gem located just a block away from the main avenue — Hotel de Gallifet, founded and opened to the public in 2010 by Nicolas Mazet. 

We passed through the gate and were greeted by a welcoming sight: a laid back restaurant tucked away in a lush shaded courtyard of an elegant 18th-century property. It is located in the heart of Quartier Mazarin. If you are fascinated by French architecture, then you should know that H么tel de Gallifet is a classic example of "Hotel Particulier"-- a free-standing property that is located between an entrance court with a cour at the front, and a garden behind. 
Hotel Particulier
Hotel Particulier

The owner is the grandson of Nicolas Mazet himself and he is the kind of friendly person who is eager to engage in conversation with his customers. He spoke to us in fluent English and told us about the school attended by Paul Cezanne as a kid standing opposite to the property.

With the atmosphere being so calm, relax and casual, I think it makes a great setting for artists to do some sketchings, of course, with a glass of good wine in hand. There in the courtyard lies an interesting red statue half buried in the sand, which appears to be swimming towards the left side. In warmer months, the courtyard turns into a Jazz events venue once in a fortnight. 
Hotel de Gallifet restaurant, aix-en-provence, red swimming man sculpture

The food was undoubtedly exceptional with the generous portion and simple presentation. Not overwhelmingly lavish, the dishes were down-to-earth yet delicious, allowing the fresh Provencale products to shine. We paired them up with a glass of house wine (Rose) and a glass of refreshing homemade ice tea.  
Hotel de Gallifet restaurant
Aix-en-Provence food
Aix-en-Provence food
Aix-en-Provence restaurant

After the satisfying meal, we walked into the historic mansion to enjoy the Gallifet’s contemporary art exhibitions (such a contrast!). Entrance fee is between €2 and €4. Surprisingly, the rooms in the building were designed by different interior designers, which made walking into each space a whole new experience. My personal favorite was the first room where there were black butterflies gathering at a corner and a huge artwork made possible by merging old newspapers and cardboards.   
Aix-en-Provence interior design
Aix-en-Provence art museum
Aix-en-Provence art
Aix-en-Provence Art Gallery
Hotel de Gallifet

H么tel de Gallifet - Centre d'Art
52 Rue Cardinale
Opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday 12pm - 6pm. 

Read more: 
For other destinations in Provence, check the official website of Provence-Alps-C么te d’Azur tourism

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Thank You for Reading! 
My trip to Aix was supported by Aix-en-Provence tourist office and Bouches-du-Rh么ne tourism board. My program were arranged by Vaucluse en Provence and Provence-Alps-C么te d’Azur Tourism Board. 
However, all opinions are as always, my own.

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