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renaissance aix-en-provence

Renaissance Aix Ice Drops

I have to admit that getting kicked out of that French B&B before we left the States was the best thing that could have happened because we ended up staying at the Renaissance Aix-en-Provence, which turned out to be one of our favorite hotels ever.

As I mentioned, we wanted to spend a couple of days in Provence before our Viking River Cruise, and Aix-en-Provence sounded perfect.

We chose the 5-star Renaissance because it had gotten great reviews online and it was within walking distance to the the main streets of the city as well as a quick 20 minute cab ride from the airport.

Renaissance Aix seats

If you do the Portraits of Southern France Viking River Cruise — which I highly suggest you do and know that some of you have already booked it! — you should definitely consider following our itinerary if you’re not already doing one of their pre- or post-tours.

The Renaissance Aix-en-Provence is a stunning and intimate boutique-like hotel with the reliability of the big name brand behind it. It is so unique, I’m going to do a pictorial about it tomorrow but meanwhile, let me tell you about it.

The hotel was created as an art gallery, and everywhere you turn, there is something beautiful to look at. Because this artistic approach lies at the heart of everything the hotel does, there’s even a book in your room which describes each piece and the artist who created it.

Renaissance Aix en Provence art

We got to the hotel right in time for lunch with hotel manager Florence Bezault, who had only arrived three months before but was already implementing so many great ideas. She is passionate about her job and told us that she had wanted to work in hospitality since watching Fantasy Island at the age of six! I love that!

Her English is way better than our non-existent French, and we had a great time talking and laughing together. Lunch, our first meal in France, was delicious. I wrote about our dinner at the hotel on Huffington Post, and you have to check it out because Chef Arnaud Davin’s food is amazing — and extremely photogenic. That’s also where you’ll find out what we’re doing in the picture, above, and where you’ll marvel at Chef’s how-did-he-come-up-with-that creativity.

This was only an appetizer — a very yummy appetizer — but I was so hungry and so busy eating and chatting, I didn’t take any other pictures.

Lunch at Renaissance Aix en Provence

After a long, leisurely lunch in the cozy banquette that was to become ours for every meal, we went up to our room and collapsed onto the welcoming bed, where we immediately fell asleep.

Renaissance Aix en Provence room

Two hours later, we made ourselves get up and explore the hotel and the town, both of which I’ll share in another post.

Meanwhile, look at this bathroom:

Renaissance Aix bathroom

And, be still my heart, the bath products were all from Tokyo Milk. I love their packaging and have been wanting to try them for years.

Renaissance Aix Tokyo MilkMy suitcase may have been just a little heavier when we checked out …

When we returned to the room that night, we were greeted by a lovely good night snack.

Renaissance Aix treat

We fell asleep to the sound of the waterfall on the tunnel outside our window — yes, the French certainly do have style! — and had a night of fais de beaux rêves.

Renaissance Aix waterfall


  1. I think I would have stayed in the room the entire time. The hotel looks gorgeous!

  2. Catherine S says:

    This looks like a fantastic hotel. I would love to go on a Viking River Cruise.

  3. Wow I’d never want to leave that hotel. It looks beautiful. That food? Looks amazing! That bathroom is HUGE too whoa!

  4. You cannot write about this enough for me! I love everything about this trip and I’m looking forward to mine.

    Can you buy Tokyo Milk products in the US?

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      Tokyo Milk was sold in Anthropologie. I’m not sure if it still is because I’m trying to stay out of the store 🙂 Are you doing Portraits of Southern France or a different France cruise? You will LOVE Viking!

  5. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    No need to leave the room! Sounds like an amazing place to stay.

  6. Despite all my travels, I’ve never made it to Provence. Neither was I familiar with the Renaissance resort. Thanks for a tour and hope you got enough enjoyment out of the experience for several of us readers 🙂

  7. A fabulous wrap-up! I love that you even included the Tokyo Milk toiletries—the cherry on top of this dream of a room, it seems. Very nice!

  8. Travel envy here! Sounds wonderful, and I love all your photos, too.

  9. Oh this hotel does look wonderful and the food looks great. Things happen for a reason, right?

  10. Wow this does sound like a really nice place. Everything in the hotel looks so nice and I love that waterfall!

  11. The hotel room look so luxurious. I like the clean white design.

  12. Looks like such a luxurious place. And that food, omg!

  13. I am so sorry you have to go to such horrible places. 🙂 Jealous

  14. Wow, that looks like an amazing hotel. Love the evening snack you guys got.

  15. What a beautiful place! Nice and modern. Looks like you really enjoyed it!

  16. What an amazing hotel. It looked really nice.

  17. Yes, I want to go there! Yes.
    It definitely seems for the best but I still think it was so weird that the B&B didn’t let you come. Weird. They could have given you a choice. Not very professional. Still though – look what you got instead!

  18. What an amazingly beautiful hotel. The bathroom is gorgeous and the snack, oh my.
    My mother has already booked her 2nd Viking cruise. I am hoping to be asked to be her companion on this one:)

  19. gorgeous hotel! I can totally see myself hang out there all day

  20. Oh my goodness, this is awesome. It looks and sounds like a beautiful place to stay in. Perfect for a nice couples retreat. Thanks for sharing 😉

  21. Lovely. I think Aix is a very pretty place overall. It’s been years, though.

  22. I wouldn’t mind living there. That looks amazing.

  23. That is a beautiful hotel! I love the decor.

  24. That hotel looks spectacular. I love how it was designed as an art gallery. So much beauty!

  25. What a stunning hotel. I don’t know how you managed to leave!

  26. Tiffany Steadman-Collins says:

    What a beautiful hotel! I personally have not stayed anywhere half as nice as it but I still have time right? Thanks for sharing:)

  27. Debbie Denny says:

    I think I want to live there. That is a dynamic place.

  28. What a great looking hotel ! I love the bedroom!

  29. It looks so luxurious…even the food! lol I love that it has an art gallery feel to the whole place and gives you something engaging all around you. Some day…some day…I’ll get to France!

  30. Oooh I love experiencing what a person is doing on vacay and to get away – sounds like a lot of fun!

  31. Wow so cool! I think that the food looks divine

  32. How did you get kicked out of the French B&B?? This is a nice hotel. The decor is so modern and looks like that really expensive bedding Brooke Shields advertises! Keep having fun 🙂

  33. Now that is quite the place to stay. From the rooms to the food and the extra special bath products…wow. Would love to book a few nights there.

  34. I would have loved to stay there. It looks so nice.

  35. Looks like a wonderful place to stay! I’m curious as to what you did to get yourself kicked out though! Eek! I absolutely loved traveling all over France and especially the South of France before. Beautiful!

  36. Wow absolutely amazing! I want to stay there and eat food, all the food!

  37. I’m going to have to find out what happened at the bb. That hotel is wonderful.

  38. The best things happen when you least expect it! I would just love to jump into the bed!

  39. Well, I just opened the page on the cruise. I think I’m going to get the courage to book it. It all looks so amazing! This is it…the post that pushed me over the edge! lol thanks much Lois. I needed that push. I can’t wait to book this now!

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      OMG I’m so excited for you! I will be writing all about the cruise next week but let me know if you have any questions at all. You will love it!

  40. this place looks AMAZING. okay, I also just read the B&B post and what the heck?! I have had managers and people read my blog and it has gotten us some pretty sweet deals!! (mostly just food but still!)

  41. What a beautiful hotel! Renaissance Aix-en-Provence is now on my list of places to stay when I am in southern France. The food looks amazing. I often forget to take pictures when I am enjoying delicious food and great company. I can’t wait to see more of the hotel and read about your cruise.

  42. That is an awesome place and guess what, my bags are usually a little heavier when I leave hotels too. 🙂

  43. The bed and the shower are enough for me to say I’m in. That looks and sounds like an amazing place to stay.

  44. Fariha N. says:

    Ok, this would definitely be my choice of place to stay. Everything is so gorgeous and I am in love with that big white headboard.

  45. I love that there’s a book to explain each piece of art. It sounds like a great place to stay!

  46. That meal is mouthwatering. I love that bed too. Looks so comfy. It’s definitely a place I could visit if I got the chance.

  47. Yes I would have stayed in too. Renaissance Aix-en-Provence now on the very long list

  48. Stunning! I always love it when your treated to nice bath products, which yes, have a way of finding their way into my bag!

  49. I really love this hotel. It looks so gorgeous and luxury. I love the white colored bed and bath room. Great to hear that bath products are from Tokyo milk. Sounds like you had a great time & really enjoyed it. I would love to stay here sometime!

  50. This looks like an amazing place to stay. Hubby and I would love this. We are seriously thinking about taking a river cruise!

  51. That does look like a lovely place to stay. I can’t believe you got kicked out of a place though!

  52. That is an absolutely beautiful hotel. I would have definitely not wanted to leave the room. I’m sure I could sleep for days in that bed!

  53. It just must have been that the other place was correct. You were happier at this gorgeous place! I mean who wouldn’t?

  54. What a beautiful hotel and you sure were blessed to stay there. Love your photos!

  55. This is the kind of hotel stay that makes me want to get rest, lull around and catch up on reading and drinking great coffee or tea. I want to be undisturbed and act like my own children are really orphans and lock them out of the room. Beautiful

  56. I need to visit France. The food sounds amazing here. The Viking River Cruise must have been amazing. Such a great getaway!!!

  57. The Renaissance Aix-en-Provence Hotel appears to be synonymous with “lap-of- luxury!” I love the idea of being surrounded by original works of art as well as learning about the pieces and the artists. And the food … mmmmm! They might have to kick me out if we stayed there!

  58. Wow, what an incredible experience this must have been. We are looking forward to spending more time in France on our next visit to Europe, so we will keep this in mind.

  59. So this is what the happy people were doing at The Renaissance Aix-en-Provence while I was sweltering in a hell hole so hot that I left early for Auvignon. Wish I’d known then what I know now!

  60. I have to go back and read your essay about getting kicked out of a B&B, but if it meant you discovered the Renaissance Aix-en-Provence Hotel , then my husband is annoyingly right, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

  61. The Renaissance Aix-en-Provence looks comfortable and very cool! I love hotels like this with personality, and the amenities and night-time snacks are nice treat!

  62. The Renaissance looks like a lovely hotel. The perfect way to start or end a cruise!

  63. What a great looking place! Not often that the hotel is a highlight of the trip but this certainly could be.

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