Study Abroad - Aix Summer Study Tours
La Ciotat and Parc du Mugel
The seaside town of La Ciotat boasts an expansive daily open market and a centuries-old marina. More importantly, La Ciotat is home of the Lumière brothers and their Eden Theatre where some of the world’s first cinema images were captured. The first film ever seen by a paying audience was “Train Arriving at La Ciotat Station.” We visit the town, the cinema, and time spent at the beach. The Parc du Mugel is known for the extraordinary beauty of its calanques, inlets of the Mediterranean buttressed with steep, rocky cliffs. The return to Aix at the end of the day may be some of the most gorgeous scenery students will ever experience.
Moustiers & Gorges du Verdon
IAU visits the Department of the Var, stopping to discover Moustiers Ste Marie, a medieval village at the base of rocky cliffs. You can wander the picturesque streets and walk up to the 12th century chapel for a fantastic panoramic view. We’ll head to Lac Ste. Croix, a beautiful man-made lake at the entrance to the Gorges du Verdon, known for its beaches and water sports. The Gorges du Verdon are known as the “Grand Canyon of France.” Renting paddleboats or canoes, students will have the chance to paddle into the canyons from the lake. During the return trip, students will see the famous Provençal lavender fields.
The Luberon region, named after a mountain range north of Aix, is renowned for its natural beauty and picturesque scenery. This is the typical Provençal countryside Peter Mayle describes in his best-seller “A Year in Provence,” consisting of hilltop villages, stone houses, dovecotes, vineyards, olive groves, lavender fields and sunflowers. IAU usually visits the following sites:
- Silvacane Abbey, a 13th century monastery built by Cistercian monks. No longer inhabited by the religious order, it attracts visitors all year seeking a look back into the past.
- Lourmarin, a beautiful provençal village, its densely packed old homes with tiny courtyards maintained and planted with care.
- A Renaissance château sits on a small rise to the west. As a fortress it once defended this strategic vantage point. Now concerts and art exhibitions are hosted during the summer season at this very fashionable town. Albert Camus maintained his last home here and is buried in the village cemetery.
- Lacoste, a hilltop stone village consisting of a castle once owned by the Marquis de Sade. It is now owned by designer Pierre Cardin.
- Roussillon, known for its deep red ochre mines and picturesque village.
Image Credit, Kris DiNardi, IAU Alumna '17