I came to this program because I wanted to go to France without being in Paris. Aix is such a great student city and attracts ex-pats of all nationalities that you feel totally immersed in the French culture with the ability to escape any time you need.
The French Honours Program (FHP) is relatively new at IAU so they are still developing it. It is more of an advanced French lit class than anything. However, I had the chance to read pieces and write about them in a way that I've never gotten to before. My professor was so kind and funny and she really helped me improve! She definitely helped "make" my experience at IAU. The rest of the classes were okay. Definitely take an art class if you get the chance!!
My host mom was a great cook. Even though she came across rather stern, she totally gave me space to be independent and helped me out with a few snags that me and my housemate ran into (i.e. mean train ticket sales people, unexpectedly cold weather). I was really lucky, but I think your homestay experience depends on who you get, so be sure to be honest in your questionnaire.
Walking to and from school was not far for me. I never used the bus system in Aix. The problem with homestays is that you can't really have friends over to hang out, so we all hung out at school, which became a social hub. At night, when the school closed, we moved to bars, which are all within walking distance of course.
A typical day was going to class, meeting friends for lunch, finishing class, doing some work in le cave at school, making plans for that evening, and then going out at night. On the weekends, a lot of people travel around Europe, but if you stay nearby or in Aix, there is plenty to do. Must sees: Cassis, Mt Sainte-Victoire, Parc Vendome, Lyon, Grenoble.