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The Best of Aix-en-Provence

Walking through the streets in Aix, I find that I see as many familiar places as I do new ones. I love having the comfort of American shops, but I’ve found some amazing French shops that have changed the game. So, it’s with this in mind that I present my top 3 "olds" and "news." 

The "Olds":

Pita Pit

Pita Pit is like a Mediterranean Chipotle. You chose whether you want pita or a salad, then you pick meat, sauce, and toppings. It’s quick and healthy so I love to go here between classes - it’s right by IAU.

Pro Tip: One of my favorite things about Pita Pit is that you don't always have to go for a meal. They sell really delicious organic snacks and drinks too, like my new favorite soda

 A healthy soda that's only sold at Pita Pit

H&M

Let’s be real. As awesome as it is being able to buy amazing shoes and clothes in the south of France, the bi-annual sales in Aix only last so long. I love having H&M in town so I can grab staple clothing whenever I need them. It was a life saver when the weather started getting warmer and I realized I hadn’t packed anything but jeans. I was able to get a dress for 8 euros!

Pro Tip: Returns can't be processed on foreign debit cards, so you will be refunded with a gift card. Make sure you love something enough to keep it before you buy it.

LUSH

When I found out there was a LUSH in Aix, I knew everything was going to be okay. I buy most of my skincare and shower products here, so I was nervous about how I was going to manage to find similar products in France. Well, I wasn't nervous long. The products here are the same as the ones in the US and are around the same price!

Pro Tip: Most employees here speak English! I certainly didn't know technical skincare jargon, so it was nice to know I'd still be able to communicate my needs when I was asking about a new product.

The "News":

Monoprix

If you're addicted to Target like I am, Monoprix is going to be absolute heaven for you while you're in France. This is an amazing place to shop for groceries and toiletries at a really affordable price. You are going to be able to buy those necessities for under 5 euros and often for only a little over 1 euro, so this truly is a college student's paradise.

Pro Tip: They don't do the whole plastic bag thing in France, but Monoprix sells reusable bags for a couple of euros that are actually very useful.

Baked

Baked is another awesome food spot that's right by IAU's main campus. They have delicious baked potatoes that are loaded with different toppings. You can pick one of their signature recipes, or add your own toppings. They also make sandwiches and salads if potatoes aren't your thing. The only downside is how hard it is to exercise self control, especially since this is a filling meal you can enjoy for only around 6 euros. I've been trying to keep my visits down to one per week.

 Baked really does love American students!

Pro Tip: There's a 10% discount for students, and everyone speaks English. Flaunt that student ID like nobody's business!

Anticafe

Anticafes are popping up all over Europe and the concept is really cool! You pay for time instead of the items you order. The Anticafe in Aix charges 4.75 euros an hour, and I usually have enough time for a coffee or two, a bowl of cereal, and some rice cakes with Nutella and banana. The one in Aix also has Wifi, a printer, projectors and white boards, board games, and books as well!

 Members get these cool cards! (You even get to pick your color)

Pro Tip: Anticafe offers membership at no additional cost. Members get 15% off, and can bundle it with the 10% off student discount, so you're only paying around 3.60 euros an hour!

McKenzie Smith is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO in Aix-en-Provence, France. She is currently a sophomore at Hofstra University.


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