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 Hôtel 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.
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.
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.
Hôtel de Gallifet - Centre d'Art
52 Rue Cardinale
13100 AIX EN PROVENCE
Opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday 12pm - 6pm.
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Thank You for Reading!
My trip to Aix was supported by Aix-en-Provence tourist office and Bouches-du-Rhône tourism board. My program were arranged by Vaucluse en Provence and Provence-Alps-Côte d’Azur Tourism Board.
However, all opinions are as always, my own.