caption=The coat of arms of Aix-en-Provence
cp=13100 or 13090
alt moy=173 m
Aix (IPA2|ɛks) or Aix-en-Provence (Provençal Occitan: "Ais de Provença" in classical norm or "Ais de Prouvènço" in Mistralian norm), to distinguish it from other cities built over hot springs, is a city in southern
France, some 30 km north of Marseille. It is in the region of Provence, in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône, of which it is a sub-prefecture. The population of Aix is approximately 140,200. [ [http://www.insee.fr/fr/recensement/nouv_recens/resultats/grandes-villes.htm#A Population figures from INSEE] ] Its inhabitants are called "Aixois".
:"For the ecclesiastical history, see
Archdiocese of Aix"
Aix ("Aquae Sextiae") was founded in 123 BC by the Roman
consul Sextius Calvinus, who gave his name to its springs. [" Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition", article [http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext95/pge0112.txt Aix] .] In 102 BC its neighbourhood was the scene of the Battle of Aquae Sextiaewhen Romans under Gaius Mariusdefeated the Cimbriand Teutones, with mass suicides among the captured women, which passed into Roman legends of Germanic heroism. [ cf Jerome, letter cxxiii, [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf206.v.CXXIII.html To Ageruchia] , 8, 409 A.D.]
In the 4th century AD it became the metropolis of
Narbonensis Secunda. It was occupied by the Visigothsin 477. In the succeeding century, the town was repeatedly plundered by the Franksand Lombards, and was occupied by the Saracensin 731 and by Charles Martelin 737. Aix, which during the Middle Ageswas the capital of Provence, did not reach its zenith until after the 12th century, when, under the houses of Aragonand Anjou, it became an artistic centre and seat of learning.
Aix passed to the crown of France with the rest of Provence in 1487, and in 1501 Louis XII established there the parliament of Provence, which existed until 1789. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the town was the seat of the Intendance of Provence.
Current archeological excavations in the Ville des Tours, a
medievalsuburb of Aix, have unearthed the remains of a roman amphitheatre. [ [http://www.mairie-aixenprovence.fr/article.php3?id_article=2493 Ville d'Aix-en-Provence : Le théâtre de la Seds : un trésor inestimable ] ]
Geography and climate
Aix-en-Provence is situated in a plain overlooking the Arc, about a mile from the right bank of the river. The city slopes gently from north to south and the
Montagne Sainte-Victoirecan easily be seen to the east. Aix's position in the south of France gives it a warm climate. It has an average January temperature of 5°C and a July average of 22°C. It has an average of 300 days of sunshine and only 91 days of rain. [ [http://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/uk/aix-en-provence.htm Tourist office; the climate of Aix.] ] While it is partially protected from the Mistral, Aix does occasionally suffer from the cold gusty conditions it brings.
Cours Mirabeauis a wide thoroughfare, planted with double rows of plane-trees, bordered by fine houses and decorated by fountains. It follows the line of the old city wall and divides the town into two sections. The new town extends to the south and west; the old town, with its wide but irregular streets and its old mansions dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, lies to the north. Along this avenue, which is lined on one side with banks and on the other with cafés, is the Deux Garçons, the most famous brasseriein Aix. Built in 1792, it has been frequented by the likes of Cézanne, Zola and Hemingway. [citation|first=Claude-Alain|last=Sarre|title=Les Deux Garçons. Quatre Siècles d'Histoire au Coeur d'Aix-en-Provence. |year=2007|publisher=Université Aix|year=2007|id=ISBN 2903449929]
The Cathedral of the Holy Saviour (
Cathédrale Saint Sauveur) is situated to the north in the medievalpart of Aix. Built on the site of a former Roman forumand an adjacent basilica, it contains a mixture of all styles from the 5th to the 17th century, including a richly decorated portal in the Gothic style with doors elaborately carved in walnut. The interior contains 16th century tapestries, a 15th century triptych, depicting King René and his wife on the side panels, as well as a Merovingian baptistery, its Renaissancedome supported by original Roman columns. The archbishop's palace (Palais de l'Archêveché) and a Romanesque cloisteradjoin the cathedral on its south side. [ Michelin Guide to Provence, ISBN 2-06-137503-0, pages 67-68. ] The Archbishopricof Aix is now shared with Arles.
Among its other public institutions, Aix also has the second most important
Appeal Court(Palais de Justice) outside Paris, located near the site of the former Palace of the Counts (Palais des Comtes) of Provence.
Hôtel de Ville, a building in the classical style of the middle of the 17th century, looks onto a picturesque square (place de l'Hôtel de Ville). It contains some fine woodwork and tapestries. At its side rises a handsome clock-tower erected in 1510. [ [http://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/aix-vieilleville.htm Tourist office: Old Aix.] ]
Also on the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville is the former Corn Exchange (1759-1761) (Halle de Grains). This ornately decorated 18th century building was designed by the Vallon brothers. Nearby are the remarkable thermal springs, containing lime and carbonic acid, that first drew the Romans to Aix and gave it the name "Aquae Sextiae". A
spawas built in 1705 near the remains of the ancient Roman baths of Sextius. [ Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911. ]
South of the Cours Mirabeau is the "Quartier Mazarin". This residential district was constructed for the gentry of Aix by the brother of
Cardinal Mazarinin the last half of the seventeenth century and contains several notable "hôtels particuliers". The 13th century church of Saint-Jean-de-Malte contains valuable pictures and a recently restored organ. Next to it is the Musée Granet containing some works of Cézanne
Aix is often referred to as the city of a thousand fountains. [Laurence Labrouche, "Ariane Mnouchkine: un parcours théâtral: le terrassier, l'enfant et le voyageur", L'Harmattan (1999), ISBN 2738480225, page 66, "la ville aux mille fontaines"] Among the most notable are the seventeenth century Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins (Fountain of the Four Dolphins) in the Quartier Mazarin, designed by Jean-Claude Rambot, [ citation|title=Provence|series=Michelin Green Guide|publisher|Michelin|year=1999
id=ISBN 0320037320, page 69. The fountain was built in 1667.] and three of the fountains down the central Cours Mirabeau: At the top, a nineteenth century fountain depicts the "good king" René holding the Muscat grapes that he introduced to
Provencein the fifteenth century; half-way down is a natural hot water fountain (34°C), covered in moss, dating back to the Romans; and at the bottom at la Rotonde, the hub of modern Aix, stands a monumental fountain from 1860 beneath three giant statues representing art, justice and agriculture. In the older part of Aix, there are also fountains of note in the Place d'Albertas and the Place des Trois-Ormeaux.
Aix has long been a university town:
Louis II of Anjougranted a royal charterfor a university in 1409. Today Aix remains an important educational centre, with many teaching and research institutes:
Université de Provence Aix-Marseille I, specialising in the humanities in Aix.
Université de la Méditerranée Aix-Marseille II
Université Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III, specialising principally in law, economics, political science and administration in Aix.
Institut d'études politiques d'Aix-en-Provence(IEP), an Institute of Political Studies
* [http://lm-aix.edufr.net/ a military academy]
* Institut de l'Aménagement Régional, an institute in the Université Paul Cézanne for town and country planning.
École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers
* Institut d'Etudes Françaises pour Etudiants Etrangers (IEFEE), a language school in the Université Paul Cézanne for foreign students of all levels of French proficiency
* [http://www.lyc-luynes.ac-aix-marseille.fr/ Lycée George Duby] , an international
secondary schoolin Luynes, on the outskirts of Aix, taking a large number of English-speaking students.
* The American University Center of Provence, an American study abroad program
* [http://www.iaufrance.org/ Institute For American Universities] , a small program for American students studying abroad
* [http://sitemason.vanderbilt.edu/site/jWr3Bm/vif Vanderbilt in France]
* [http://web.princeton.edu/sites/fit/abroad/Annecy.html Princeton French study program]
* [http://www.ibsofprovence.com International Bilingual School of Provence] , a private school in Luynes, on the outskirts of Aix
* [http://www.val-saint-andre.com/ Val Saint André] , a private school in the east of Aix that teaches English IGCSE and A-level examinations as well as the French Baccalaureate.
Aix also has several training colleges, lycées, and a college of art and design. It has also become a centre for many international study programmes.
Aix holds two significant musical events each year. These are:
An important opera festival, the '
Festival international d'Art Lyrique' founded in 1948 which now ranks with those in Bayreuth, Salzburg and Glyndebourne. The current director is [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Foccroulle Bernard Foccroulle] , director of la Monnaiein Brussels. The festival takes place in late June and July each year. The main venues in Aix itself are the outdoor Théâtre de l'Archévêché in the former garden of the archbishop's palace, the recently restored 18th century Théâtre du Jeu de Paume, and the newly built Grand Théâtre de Provence; operas are also staged in the outdoor Théâtre du Grand Saint-Jean outside Aix. Linked to the festival is the Académie européenne de musique, a summer school for young musicians with master classes by celebrated artists. Over the four year period from 2006 until 2009, Sir Simon Rattle's version of Wagner's Ring Cyclewith the Berlin Philharmonicis being premiered atthe Aix festival.
Musique dans la Rue
This takes place each year in June to coincide with the national '
Fête de la Musique.' There is a week of classical, jazz and popular concerts held in different street venues and courtyards in the city. Some of these events are held in the Conservatoire Darius Milhaud, named in honour of the French composer, a native of Aix.
Museums and Libraries
Aix has several museums and galleries:
*Le Musée du Vieil Aix (Museum of Old Aix), housed in two period "hôtels particuliers" and devoted to the history and provencal heritage of Aix.
*Le Musée d’Histoire Naturelle (Natural History Museum).
*Le Musée de Tapisseries (Tapestry Museum), housed in the Archbishop's Palace and with a collection of tapestries and furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries.
*Le Musée Paul Arbaud (Faïence/Pottery).
*Le Musée Granet, a museum devoted to painting, sculpture and the
archeologyof Aix. [ [http://www.museegranet-aixenprovence.fr/www/index5.html Website of the Musée Granet.] ] It recently underwent significant restoration and reorganization, prior to the international exhibition in 2006 marking the centenary of Cézanne's death. [ [http://www.thearttribune.com/Reopening-of-the-Musee-Granet-in.html Reopening of the Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence - The Art Tribune ] ] Due to lack of space, the large archeological collection, including many recent discoveries, will be displayed in a new museum, still in the planning stages.
*Le Pavillon de Vendôme, a 17th century mansion housing permanent and touring art exhibitions.
*The [http://www.fondationvasarely.fr Vasarely Foundation] a gallery dedicated to the works of the Hungarian-born French abstract painter
*L'atelier Cézanne, a museum on the northern outskirts of Aix, constructed around the studio of Paul Cézanne, which can be viewed as it was at the painter's death.
*Jas de Bouffan, the house and grounds of Cézanne's father, now partially open to the public.
Prior to 1989 Aix had several libraries, for example in the Parc Jourdan and the Town Hall. In 1989, many of these were moved to the [http://www.citedulivre-aix.com Méjanes] , an old match factory.
In 1993, the [http://www.citedulivre-aix.com "Cité du Livre"] was opened around the library. This has media spaces for dance, cinema and music, and a training facility for librarians. Adjacent to the Cité du Livre are the Grand Théâtre de Provence (see above) and the [http://www.preljocaj.org/pavillonnoir-2-0-5-en.html "Pavillon Noir"] , a centre for dance performance, with a resident modern dance company, Ballet Preljocaj.
To the east of Aix rises Mont Sainte-Victoire (1011 m), one of the landmarks of the Pays d'Aix. It is accessible from the centre of Aix by road or on foot, taking the wooded footpath of Escrachou Pevou to the
plateauof Bibemus. [citation|title=Montagne Ste-Victoire, Aix-en-Provence, Gardanne, Trets|series=La Carte de Randonnée, 1;25,000|volume=3244 ET|publisher=Institut Géographique National] It dramatically overshadows the small dambuilt by Emile Zola's father and was a favourite subject and haunt of Paul Cézannethroughout his lifetime. In the village of le Tholoneton the precipitous southern side of Mont Sainte-Victoire, there is a windmillthat he used and beyond that a mountain hut, the "réfuge Cézanne", where he liked to paint.
To the north, the mountain slopes gently down through woodland to the village of Vauvenargues. The chateau that overlooks the village was formerly occupied by the Counts of Provence and the Archbishops of Aix before it became the family home of the marquis de Vauvenargues. [ [http://www.vauvenargues.org/index.php?P=91&action=afficher&type=art&menu=3 Mairie of Vauvenargues, History and heritage] fr] It was acquired by the Spanish artist
Pablo Picassoin 1958; fifteen years later he was buried in its grounds, [citation|first=Patick|last=O'Brian|publisher=Putnam|year=1976|Picasso: Pablo Ruiz Picasso : a Biography|id=ISBN 8830408638] [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,945265-2,00.html Pablo Picasso's Last Days and Final Journey - TIME ] ] which are not currently open to the public. (Exceptionally the chateau will be open to the public from April to September 2009 to coincide with Picasso exhibitions in the south of France. [ [http://www.tourmag.com/Cote-d-Azur-l-art-fil-conducteur-d-une-campagne-de-promotion_a27160.html Picasso exhibitions in the south of France, 2009] ] )
Mont Sainte-Victoire has a complex network of paths, leading to the priory and "Croix de Provence" at the summit, to the large man-made
reservoirof Bimont and to the roman viaductabove le Tholonet.
Industries formerly included flour-milling, the manufacture of confectionery, iron-ware, hats, matches and the extraction of
olive oil. [citation|title=Histoire d'Aix-en-Provence|publisher=Edisud|year=1977|id=ISBN 2-85744-237-8]
Current economic activities include:
* Entertainment, particularly
semiconductorand electronics industryin Rousset, to the south of Mont St Victoire, specializing in microchiptechnology for credit cards.
* Education and research. In Aix the
University of Aix-Marseillespecializes in the humanities, lawand economics.
* The manufacture of
santons, traditional hand-crafted figurines, often associated with provencal Christmas creches.
* The manufacture of
* The manufacture of "
calissons", a lozenge-shaped confectionmade from almonds and crystallised melon. Each year in early September, there is a mass in French and Provencalin the medievalchurch of St Jean de Malte to bless the calissons - " la bénédiction des calissons". This ceremony has been held since the seventeeth century to mark the deliverance of Aix from the plague. It is currently accompanied by a colourful provencal pageant, involving most of the local calisson manufacturers and their wares.
Viticulture: the local Appellation d'Origine Contrôléeis Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence AOC, with many vineyards between Aix and the River Durance to the north. The reputed appellation of Château Simone is situated in the hills above the village of Palette, just outside Aix.
Chocolate: the well known Chocolaterie de Puyricardis situated in the hills to the north of Aix. [ [http://www.puyricard.fr/ The Chocolaterie of Puyricard] ]
A set of ancient roads radiate out from Aix to the surrounding countryside, the Pays d'Aix. There are also a large number of modern
autoroutes connecting Aix to nearby towns. There are autoroutes northwards to Avignonand to the Luberon; southwards to Marseille; and eastwards to Aubagneand the Mediterraneancoast of Provence; and to Niceand other towns on the French Riviera. Aix and Marseille are equidistant from the international airport of Marseille-Provence at Marignaneon the Etang de Berre. There is a frequent bus shuttle service from the main bus station in Aix. This shuttle also serves the nearby TGVstation "Aix-TGV" at l'Arbois, in the middle of the countryside about 10 miles from Aix.
At Aix-TGV the line from Paris branches to Marseille and Nice; it takes about 3 hours to get from Paris to Aix by TGV. Aix also has a
railway stationnear the centre, but the single track line which connects Marseille to Aix, and from there to the Luberon and Brianconin the French Alps, is currently only partially in service during modernisation. [ [http://www.ville-pertuis.fr/app/216,marseille_aix_pertuis_hiver_.pdf Replacement bus service] Marseille-Aix- Pertuis.] A frequent and rapid shuttle bus service for commuters operates between the bus station in Aix and Marseille. There are many other long distance and local buses from the bus station.
In the town itself, there is an inexpensive and efficient municipal bus service, including a dial-a-bus service ("proxibus"), a
park-and-rideservice and tiny electrified buses for those with mobility problems. [ [http://www.mairie-aixenprovence.fr/IMG/aed/27.pdf untitled ] ] The central old town of Aix is for the most part pedestrianised. There are large underground and overground parking structures placed at regular intervals on the "boulevard exterieur", the predominantly one-way ring roadthat encircles the old town. Access to the old town is by a series of often narrow one-way streets that can be confusing to navigate for the uninitiated. ["Aix-en-Provence", Plan Guide Blay-Foldex. ] [ [http://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/pdf/plan-centre-a-imprimer.gifMap of central Aix] ]
As in many other French cities, a short-term bicycle hire scheme nicknamed "V'Hello", free for trips of less than half an hour, has recently been put in place by the town council: and has been popular with tourists. [ [http://www.mairie-aixenprovence.fr/article.php3?id_article=3565 Ville d'Aix-en-Provence : V'Hello…Bougez dans Aix en toute liberté ! ] ] As well as overland routes, two "
rivers" flow through Aix, the Arc and the Torse, but neither of them can remotely be described as navigable.
The local Aix dialect, rarely used and spoken by a rapidly decreasing number of people, is part of the
provencaldialect of Occitanlanguage. The provencal for "Aix-en-Provence" is "Ais de Prouvènço" [ˈz'aj de pʀuˈvɛⁿsɔ'] . Most of the older streets in Aix have names in both Provencal and French.
Aix hosted the ninth International Congress of Modern Architecture in 1953.
Aix is the home town of the
rugby unionteam Pays d'Aix RC. It played host to the All Blacksduring the early stages of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. [ [http://www.radiosport.co.nz/WhatsUp/Detail.aspx?id=1432 Radio Sport - Just Sport - New Zealand's Sports Network - What's Up : RWC 2007 Commentators Blog ] ] [ [http://www.rugbyheaven.com.au/news/news/all-blacks-dazzled-by-haka-ballet/2007/09/28/1190486520975.html All Blacks dazzled by haka ballet - rugbyheaven07.com.au ] ] Ysabel, the tenth novel of the best-selling Canadianauthor Guy Gavriel Kay, was set and written in Aix.
Aix-en-Provence is officially twinned [ [http://www.aix-jumelages.com/ Association of twinnings and international relations of Aix-en-Provence] ] [ [http://www.mairie-aixenprovence.fr/article.php3?id_article=2981 Mairie of Aix-en-Provence - Twinnings and partnerships] ] with the following seven cities (in alphabetical order):
In addition Aix has international cooperations, partnerships and exchanges with the following cities from all over the world:
Oujda( Morocco), Baalbeck( Lebanon), Bamako( Mali), Baton Rouge( USA), Coral Gables( USA), Philadelphia( USA), Chaoyang(China), Foshan(China), Meguro( Japan) and Kumamoto( Japan).
People from Aix
Aix-en-Provence was the birthplace of:
Eleanor of Provence(died 1291), queen consort of King Henry III of England
Charles Annibal Fabrot, (1580–1659), French jurist, born in Aix
David-Augustin de Brueys, (1640–1723) theologian and playwright
Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, (1656–1708), botanist
André Campra1660–1744, composerand conductor
Jean-Baptiste van Loo(1684–1745), painter
Laurent Belissen, (1693–1762), baroque composer
Joseph Lieutaud, (1703–1780), doctor to Louis XV of France
Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues, (1715-1747), writerand moralist
Joseph Sec, (1715–1794), a carpenter and an architect
Jean-François Pierre Peyron, (1744–1814), painter
Jean-Baptiste Giraud, (1752–1830), sculptor
Toussaint-Bernard Éméric-David, (1755–1839), archeologistand arts writer
Antoine Balthazar Joachim d'André, (1759–1825), member of the National Constituent Assembly of 1789
François Marius Granet(1775–1849), painter
Charles-Joseph-Eugene de Mazenod(1782–1861), bishop of Marseilleand founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
François Mignet, (1796–1884), historian
François Vincent Latil, (1796–1890), French painter
Achille Emperaire, (1829–1898), French painter, friends with Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne(1839–1906), painter who lived and painted in the city
Philippe Solari, (1840–1906), French sculptor
Maurice Rouvier(1842–1911), politician
Alfred Capus(1858–1922), playwright, member of the Académie française
Henri Brémond(1864–1933), theologian
Armand Lunel, (1892–1977), last known speaker of Shuadit
Darius Milhaud(1892–1984), composerand teacher
Paul Veyne, (born in 1930), historian and archeologist
Julia Zemiro(born 1967), French-Australian actor and host of Australian television program Rockwiz
Hélène Grimaud(born 1969), concert pianist
Franck Cammas(born 1972), Professional racing sailor[ [http://www.cammas-groupama.com/en/franck_cammas/cammas/portrait/index.jsp Franck Cammas - Profile ] ]
Arnaud Clément(born 1977), professional tennis player, finalist at the Australian Openin 2001
* Saint Maximin, the early Christian disciple and first
bishopof Aix, who according to provencal tradition evangelised Aix with Mary Magdalen
Saint Mitre, the Christian martyrwho died in Aix in 466 and whose relicsare preserved in the Cathedral
Barthélemy d'Eyck, painter
Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, (1580–1637), a scientistbest known for his correspondence
Jean Daret, (1613–1668), the French painter, who died in Aix
Pierre Joseph Garidel, (1658–1737), the botanist
Jean-Baptiste Marie de Piquet, Marquis of Méjanes, (1729–1786), who bequeathed to the town his collection of between 60 and 80 thousand books, which later became the municipal library, the Bibliothèque Méjanes
Jean de Dieu-Raymond de Cucé de Boisgelin(1732–1804), Archbishop of Aix.
Victor d'Hupay, (1746–1818), writer and philosopher
Jean-Antoine Constantin, (1756–1844), painter
Ambroise Roux-Alphéran, (1776–1858), a clerk of courtand historian
Émile Zola(1840–1902), the novelist, who was born in Parisbut spent his childhood in Aix
Joseph Ravaisou, (1865–1925), French painter, who died in Aix
Louise Germain, (1874–1939), French painter, who died in Aix
Joseph d'Arbaud, (1874–1950), French poet, who died in Aix
Christophe Rousset, (born 1961), French conductor and harpsichordist, who grew up in Aix
Archbishopric of Aix
Laboratoire Parole et Langage
citation|first=Raoul|last=Busquet|title=Histoire de la Provence des origines à la révolution française|publisher=Editions Jeanne Lafitte|year=1954|id=ISBN2-86276-319-5
* [http://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/uk/ Aix en Provence Tourist office website] en
* [http://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/ Aix en Provence Tourist office website] fr
* [http://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/pdf/plan-guide-anglais.pdf One sheet foldable city guide] en available from the Tourist Office
* [http://www.festival-aix.com/ Festival website]
* [http://www.mairie-aixenprovence.fr/ Official site of the town Aix-en-Provence]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.