Camp des Milles#7 in Best Things To Do in Aix-en-Provence
A former tile factory, Camp des Milles opened in September 1939 as a French internment and deportation camp during World War II. Between 1939 and 1942, thousands of political dissidents, emigrants and Jews were held as prisoners with many being sent on to extermination camps. Today, this site has been restored and reopened as a Holocaust memorial. Inside, a large museum offers educational and interactive displays on the history of Camp des Milles. One feature that distinguishes this internment camp from others is the number of artists and scholars who were held here. It's estimated more than 400 pieces of artwork and literature were created at Camp des Milles and several drawings, paintings and graffiti can still be seen on the walls today. An example is the Room of Murals, a separate building that was once a dining room for guards, which is filled with colorful scenes created by the imprisoned.
Many of the exhibits are in French and while some offer written English translations, recent visitors were disappointed more visual and audio aspects of the museum aren't available in English. But what the museum may lack in language diversity, it makes up for with its detailed visual storytelling and historical artifacts — visitors say it's a sobering yet informative experience. "It is worth a visit as a reminder of a darker time in the region's and Europe's history," said one TripAdvisor user.
Camp des Milles is located about 5 miles southwest of the city center and open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is €9.50 EUR (about $13 USD). You can reach the memorial site by taking the Ligne 4 bus from the Aix city center's Rotonde stop to Gare des Milles, or via car it's about a 15 minute ride.
More Best Things To Do in Aix-en-Provence
#1 Le Grand Marche
While in Aix-en-Provence, you must visit a provincial market. And Le Grand Marché refers to the many markets that flood the city's squares: You'll find fresh food and sweet treats in Place des Prêcheurs and Place de la Madeleine, gorgeous garments in the clothing market on the Cours Mirabeau on Tuesdays and Thursdays (it's around the Palais des Justice on Saturdays), a flea market around the Place de Verdun and a flower market at the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville.
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