Perhaps the most famous sight on Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence is Les Deux Garçons, a brasserie dating to 1792 and named for the two waiters who founded it. The restaurant counts Paul Cézanne, Émile Zola and Ernest Hemingway among former customers.
Aix-en-Provence – Fact Check

The great literary café of Provence

Photo by Jurjen Drenth

Aix-en-Provence – Fact Check The great literary café of Provence

Paris has Les Deux Magots. But down south in Aix-en-Provence, they have Les Deux Garçons.

Tara Isabella Burton
Tara Isabella Burton Travel Writer

Paris may be known for its literary cafés – brasseries whose luminary patron list reads like a “who’s who” of French literature. But it hardly has a monopoly. In the sleepy, staid city of Aix-en-Provence, Les Deux Garçons – on the site of 17th-century inn The White Horse, and extant in its current form since 1840 – has a guest list that can rival most of the cafés on Paris’s Boulevard Saint-Germain.

Ernest Hemingway was a customer here, as was painter Paul Cézanne: who waxed poetic (or is that artistic?) about the simple aioli garlic mayonnaise on offer here. So too were Edith Piaf, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Cocteau, and even Winston Churchill – caricatures and sketches of the most notable visitors remain on the wall.

While the brasserie is more known for its historical ambiance than its (admittedly average) food, it’s nevertheless an illuminating reminder that France’s literary and historic lineage was not limited to the City of Light.

Share and recommend trips to others, and earn a commission when they make a booking. Learn more now!

Other stories about Provence