An ideal focal point is Aix-en-Provence, a larger town (and the old capital of Provence – the modern-day capital is now Marseille) with a lovely central main tree shaded avenue (Cours Mirabeau) lined with cafes, bars and restaurants and a surrounding network of narrow pretty streets and squares. Markets are abundant for both food produce and art and crafts, and gorgeous fountains are plentiful as you meander around the town.
Famous past inhabitants of Aix include Paul Cézanne, with many of his paintings inspired by the local countryside as well as the famous French author, Émile Zola.
Aix is only a 40 minute drive from Marseille and 50 minutes from the picturesque town of Cassis with its harbour and colourful boats, and the nearby stretch of coastline with its dramatic coastal inlets, known as the Calanques.
However, if visiting in the winter or spring, beware of the cold and very strong mistral wind which can arrive quite suddenly and blow for several days at a time and be bone chillingly cold. - I speak from experience, whilst living in Aix !