Founded by Romans who were drawn by the thermal springs, Aix-en-Provence France is famous for water, water everywhere – it’s know as ‘the city of a thousand fountains’. Noteworthy examples are the Great Fountain of 1860 on La Rotonde in the town centre, the hot-water fountain from 1734, the Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins (1667) and the 19th century Fontaine du Bon Roi Rene. You may not find them all, but you’ll certainly pass several as you explore the ancient core of this captivating place. The Course Mirabeau is a wide avenue dividing the city into old and new with the old town’s irregular streets and heritage building to the north, and that’s the directin to go. On the site of Roman town in Aix-en-Provence France is Bourg-Saint-Sauveur, stretching from the Cathedrale-Saint-Sauveur to the Italianate Town Hall on the picturesque Place de la Maire. The Cathedrale summarizes Aix’s history in a single building. Begun in the 5th century on Roman foundations, this magnificent edifice was added to over many centuries in three styles (Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque) before work ceased in the 18th century. The Archbishop’s Place dates from the 16th/17th centuries and is now a tapestry museum and cultural venue.
Other highlights in Aix-en-Provence France include the clock tower, a former 16th-century belfry, spanning the street on Roman foundations with an astronomical clock containing four wooden statues. The Four Seasons fountain contains a Roman column. The pedestrian Cite Comtale is a delightful shopping area, whilst Rue Gaston de Saporta is an ancient street with wonderful buildings. The Corn Exchange is a bold 18th-Century statement with a fine pediment and decorative motifs. This Place and Hotel d’Albertas were created by a prominent Aixois family in the 18th century, and are magical (the inevitable fountain came later!)
June, for the free Street Music Festival, or July for the city’s Festival of Lyric Art – the weather should be not and dry, but with a cooling breeze.
The bathing establishment at Aix’s hot springs was built in 1705, but traces of the original Roman Baths remains.
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