Aix-en-Provence, France

Aix-en-Provence is a French city, located in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.

Aix-en-Provence (more simply called Aix) is a medium-sized town in Provence (about 140,000 inhabitants), famous for its many fountains, and for having once hosted Cézanne and Émile Zola. It is a very pleasant place, especially in summer when you can have a drink outside, under its sunny climate. It is also a city where there is a very large student population. Indeed, 40,000 students attend the university and renowned institutions such as the Institute of Political Studies or the National Graduate School of Arts and Crafts.

Aix has long been a bourgeois city, and the traveler looking for a cheap hotel would do well to stop further (Marseille, 30 km away, is much cheaper). However, it is a place to stop between two stages. The narrow and old streets of the city center are very pleasant to walk (but a nightmare by car). Aix also contains a number of architectural jewels, from its seventeenth-century hotels to its cobbled squares. The Albertas square near the Cours Mirabeau is one of the most beautiful in the city.



The historical language of Aix is Provençal, which was gradually replaced by French from the total integration of Provence into France in 1789 and the authoritarian francization of the Provençal population during the nineteenth and twentieth century. Many Provençal-speaking writers from Aix-en-Provence have contributed to the richness of Provençal literature.

The city of Aix-en-Provence has a remarkable architectural heritage within its historic center, especially with regard to the periods of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. With 156 historical monuments classified or registered under the law of December 31, 1913 on historical monuments (including 9 fountains and 75 hotels) the city of Aix-en-Provence is ranked 17th French city in number of historical monuments.

It should be noted that Aix-en-Provence has more than one hundred and fifty mansions dating from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, including the Olivari hotel, the Perrin hotel and the Arlatan Hotel, making it the second city in France (after Paris) by the number of mansions and the first in number per inhabitant.

Places and monuments
The city of Aix-en-Provence holds the label City of Art and History. It previously held the Ville d'art label.

Aix-en-Provence has two stars in the Michelin Green Guide.

The Saint-Pierre cemetery houses the final resting place of many personalities from the art world: Paul Cézanne, Darius Milhaud, Auguste de Forbin, Joseph Villevieille, etc.; letters: François-Auguste Mignet, Abbot Bremond, and local politics.

The National necropolis of Luynes is a military cemetery of the first and second World wars.

Religious buildings
Cathedral of St. Saviour. Triptych of the Burning Bush (altarpiece of King René) by Nicolas Froment; altarpiece of the Legend of Saint Mitre (fourteenth century); tapestries: Life of the Virgin and Jesus (late fifteenth century).
Saint-Sauveur Cloister: late twelfth century. The formed roof is supported by arches. The twin columns, the capitals with foliage or historiated give a lot of elegance to the construction.
Church of the Magdalene. Located on Place des Prêcheurs, the current building dates from the late nineteenth century, succeeding several constructions since the thirteenth century.
Church of the Holy Spirit. This church was built from 1706 to 1728 by the Vallon brothers. The sculptures and decorations were made from 1726 to 1728. Mirabeau's wedding was celebrated in this church.
Church of St. John of Malta. Located not far from the Cours Mirabeau, it is the first Gothic church in Provence.
Church of Our Lady of the Seds. The current building dates from 1853 and is the work of the Aix architect Henri Révoil. This church is built in a Romano-Byzantine style.
Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste du Faubourg.
Chapel of the Oblates.
Convent of the Preachers of Aix-en-Provence.
Church of Our Lady of the Assumption of Puyricard.
Church of the Immaculate Conception of Couteron.
Church of Our Lady of the Arch of Aix-en-Provence.
St. Andrew's Church in Val St. Andrew.
Church of St. Mary Magdalene of the Miles.
Church of St. Anne of Tournon.
Saint-Eutrope Church of Aix-en-Provence.
Church of Saint-François-d'Assise in Aix-en-Provence.
Church of St. George of Luynes.
Church of Saint-Jean-Marie-Vianney of the Beraud Bridge.
Saint-Jérôme Church in Aix-en-Provence.
Church of Saint-Thomas-de-Villeneuve of Aix-en-Provence.
Church of Saint-Paul of Aix-en-Provence.

Civil buildings
Rich in buildings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries essentially, Aix-en-Provence attracts many tourists by the quality of the buildings that adorn the streets of the city center. The town hall, built between 1655 and 1678 by Pierre Pavillon, whose facade inspired by Italian palaces borders one of the sides of the Town Hall square and its Clock Tower, crowned with a bell tower, attract the eye when entering the historic center. We must also visit the Albertas square, the neoclassical style courthouse, built after the Revolution on the ruins of the old count's palace, the Tourreluque, tower dating from the fourteenth century, the only remnant of the medieval enclosure, but also many private mansions, such as the Hotel d'Estienne-de-Saint-Jean (rue Gaston-de-Saporta) or the hotel de Castillon (eighteenth century, 21, cours Mirabeau). The Place des Quatre-Dauphins, in the heart of the Mazarin district, designed in the seventeenth century by the Archbishop of Aix-en-Provence Michel Mazarin, located at the intersection of the Cardinal street coming from the church of Saint-Jean-de-Malte and the rue du Quatre-Septembre, leading to the Cours Mirabeau, surrounded by private mansions, such as the hotel de Boisgelin, the hotel Baron de Saizieu, the hotel Dugrou, the hotel Dedons de Pierrefeu, which offer a testimony of the architecture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Aix . The opera district offers access to the top of the Cours Mirabeau. The Rue de l'opéra, which saw the birth of Paul Cézanne, offers a bird's-eye view of the main artery of the city and has three remarkable mansions, the Grimaldi Regusse hotel (1680), the Arlatan hotel (1684) and the Lestang-Parade hotel (1650). On the other side of the street is the Jeu de paume theater, which is one of the few Italian-style theaters in France. Nearby is the Baroque-style silver fountain.

In the peripheral districts, modern buildings also deserve to be moved, such as the Black Pavilion, hosting the national choreographic center, directed by Angelin Preljocaj. Outside the city, there are many historical monuments, such as the Saint-Pons bridge or the Trois-Sautets bridge. Not far from this bridge (coordinates 43.511885, 5.466974), we can notice the old infirmaries built between 1564 and 1671. They now house a hotel.

The Bastide of Bellevue, Fontrousse road, property of Balthazar of André de Bellevue and his wife Thérèse Mignard. In 1790, it was sold to the Mayol of Saint Simon, and became the bastide of Saint Simon. The descendants of André's family live at the Aubussargues castle, near Uzès, in the Gard.

Museums, foundations and libraries
Aix-en-Provence has many museums that contribute to the cultural reputation of the city. The main museum of the municipality is the Granet Museum.

Granet Museum :
Located directly opposite the church of Saint-Jean-de-Malte, the building that houses it was built in 1671, the priory being transformed into a museum in 1838. The museum has an annex located in the Chapel of the White Penitents a few blocks from the main building.
François Marius Granet bequeathed an important collection of paintings there and the establishment took the name of its donor in 1949.
Museum of Tapestries :
The Museum of Tapestries consists of a vast collection from the former archbishopric. There are tapestries executed in Beauvais in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, some of which were made after Bérain, as well as a series of nine panels from the life of Don Quixote, and four other panels executed after Leprince.
Museum of the Old-Aix :
Rue Gaston-de-Saporta exists since 1933 the museum of Old Aix, located in the hotel of Estienne-de-Saint-Jean. It has collections of costumes, earthenware, puppets, recreating life in Aix-en-Provence under the Old Regime, as well as in the nineteenth century.
The Caumont Hotel - Art Center :
This eighteenth-century mansion, after having housed the Aix Conservatory of music, has become an art center after restoration. Located at 3, rue Joseph-Cabassol, it is located a minute walk from the Cours Mirabeau.
Natural History Museum: Founded by the geologist Henri Coquand in 1838, it is a museum that had been installed since 1950 in the prestigious Boyer-d'éguilles hotel, a historical monument dating from the seventeenth century, in which the famous Aix botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort stayed. Its imposing paleontological, zoological or ethnographic collections no longer have a site open to the public.
In the city center you can also visit the Vendôme Pavilion, a former mansion housing the Vendôme-Dobler Pavilion museum.
The Paul-Arbaud Museum, meanwhile, is the headquarters of the Academy of Sciences, Agriculture, Arts and Belles-Lettres of Aix-en-Provence. It offers a collection of Provençal earthenware from the eighteenth century and portraits of the Mirabeau family but also hosts a library of 1600 documents and an important private archive fund.
In the peripheral districts of the city of Aix-en-Provence is located, at the Jas-de-Bouffan, the Vasarely Foundation, built in 1973 on the plans of the artist Victor Vasarely. Its facade, a succession of huge black or white circles, is characteristic of his work.
On the site of the old match factory, the Cité du livre was built on a vast rehabilitated industrial wasteland; it brings together the Méjanes municipal library and its institutional, associative and educational partners.


Peiresc Planetarium

Since April 2002, a planetarium has been open in Aix, first temporarily installed in the Saint-Mitre park located in the western districts (Jas de Bouffan) of the city, it has been since November 2014 in a municipal property (Villa Clair Matin) adjoining the Saint-Mitre park. It bears the name of Peiresc (1580-1637), a humanist and astronomer from Aix who was a councillor in the Parliament of Aix. This planetarium, whose dome has a diameter of 8 m, is the largest in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, with 47 inclined seats distributed in two concentric circles around the sky simulator ; it is equipped with a traveling planetarium allowing it to respond to requests from all over the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. It thus welcomes a large number of visitors (nearly 20,000 per year) by offering planetarium sessions (school and general public), educational workshops and conferences of good scientific level.

Other institutions
On October 5, 2019, the National Conservatory of the Memory of the French of North Africa was inaugurated.

The city of Aix-en-Provence is also home to the National Overseas Archives.



The most famous route in Aix-en-Provence, both locally and nationally, is the Cours Mirabeau, traced in the seventeenth century, on the ramparts. It has at its western end a monumental fountain called Fontaine de la Rotonde erected in 1860. Nearby stood, until recently, the old casino-theater with typical art-deco architecture of the 1920s, witness to the thermal past of the city. At the other end of the course, stands a statue built by David d'Angers (nineteenth century) representing King René holding a bunch of muscat grapes.

To the north of the Cours Mirabeau (axis oriented east-west) is the oldest part of Old Aix (narrow or even steep streets, and not rectilinear, anarchic set of lanes, squares and fountains). In the heart of this district, there is a street with the picturesque name of "rue Esquiche-Coude" ("rue Serre-Coude" in French), two passers-by can only cross by hugging each other.

To the south of the Cours Mirabeau is the Mazarin district, the most recent part of Old Aix, a district developed in the seventeenth century, by the will of Michel Mazarin, brother of Cardinal Mazarin. This district is a homogeneous flat set, of rectilinear paths, with numerous mansions and fountains.

The Old Aix is presented around a network of roads that surround it in a harmonious way, on the route of the old ramparts, destroyed since the nineteenth century. From the cours Mirabeau starts the avenue Victor Hugo, then the boulevard du Roi-René, the boulevard Sadi-Carnot (politician), the cours Saint-Louis, the boulevard Aristide-Briand, the boulevard Jean-Jaurès, the cours Sextius and finally the avenue Napoleon-Bonaparte which, by the place de la Rotonde (officially named place du Général-de-Gaulle) where the fountain of the Rotunda stands, leads back to the cours Mirabeau.

Since the 1960s, the city has expanded considerably to the west, first by the construction of the Encagnane ZUP and the Jas-de-Bouffan ZAC, along the tracks: avenue de l'Europe, Galicia road and Éguilles road. The expansion of Aix has never stopped since. The north of the Encagnane district (Casino Partouche) and the new districts of Allées-Provençales and Cité-du-Livre (former industrial wastelands) now constitute the city center.


Getting here

By plane
By plane you can reach Aix-en-Provence via Marseille-Provence Airport (IATA: MRS). It is located about 20 km southwest of Aix-en-Provence in the commune of Marignane.

From Marignane Airport you can reach the bus station (Gare Routière) on the edge of the center of Aix-en-Provence in about 40 minutes by a shuttle bus (Navette), which stops at the Gare TGV. The bus runs every half hour in both directions and costs € 8.60 for a single trip or € 13.80 for a round trip (as of 2018).

By train
Aix-en-Provence is connected to the French TGV network. The Gare TGV, located about 15 km southwest of the city, can be reached from Paris in just under 3 hours. From Frankfurt am Main, a TGV runs daily via Karlsruhe and Paris to Aix-en-Provence in 8½ to 9 hours. There is a regular bus service from Gare TGV to the central bus station (Gare Routiėre) in Aix-en-Provence.

The Stadtbahnhof is served by regional trains (TER).

By bus
The bus station (Gare Routière) is located not far from the Rotonde and therefore close to the center. There are good bus connections from there by bus to Aix or from Aix to the Cote d'Azur (Nice, Cannes) or to Marseille.

The long-distance bus stop is on the highway. International bus connections can be found e.g. Flixbus.

By car
From the north, Aix-en-Provence can be reached via the A7 and the A51, along the Mediterranean coast via the A8.

Due to the lack of parking space in the city, it is advisable to make sure that there is a parking space for the car when booking a hotel. Attention! It may well happen that a hotel still offers free rooms, but the vehicle parking facilities are fully booked. Therefore, it makes sense to ask specifically.


Local transport

Within the city you can easily get around on foot, otherwise you can take a bicycle. For tourists, a car in the city center of Aix-en-Provence is rather a hindrance, and there is a massive lack of parking space. Unlike many tourist towns in Provence, there is not enough parking on the outskirts of the old town, and the multi-storey car parks are chronically overcrowded.

Bus connections within Aix can be found at AIX EN BUS, timetables also at the stops. A single trip costs € 1.10 (as of 10/2006). Well-frequented lines run every 10 - 15 minutes, on Sundays the offer is significantly worse.

The outer districts can also be reached either by bike or by car. However, bus connections to the more remote parts of the city are rather sparse, and it is idle to rely on them.



The Aix cuisine is a Provencal and Mediterranean cuisine characterized by the important use of fresh products: fish, vegetables, fruits. We therefore consume most of the Mediterranean cuisine and, in particular, pistou soup, Provencal stew, pieds-paquettes and aioli. The real specialty of the city, however, is a confectionery known as "calissons d'Aix". These calissons are made with almond paste flavored with melon and candied orange, which have been the specialty of the city since the seventeenth century.



Accommodation in Aix is sometimes quite expensive. So you have to expect for a studio (large room with kitchen and small bathroom, about 20-30sqm) already with > 600 € / month. It is recommended to look for something outside of Aix. For example, you can find a very romantic room for about 20 € / night in the old country house "Les Marronniers" in the district "Les Platanes" (about 5 km outside the center towards the mountain). Monthly flat rates are also negotiable. The family speaks English as well as French and is very welcoming. With a little luck, you can also drive a tractor there. The taxi drivers in the city center on the Rotonde know the way, it's called the house.

One should definitely AVOID the student dormitories in particular. Les Gazelles! They are cheap but absolutely dirty and got down. Especially in the summer you hardly get air in the narrow rooms. There are no refrigerators in them anyway and toilets are broken or extremely dirty. Look out!



The Paul Cézanne University (Aix-Marseille III) is quite nice. The grounds are clearly laid out, and the caféteria even has a Wi-Fi connection, if you have access. The library, on the other hand, is an open-plan space and absolutely stuffy in summer.



Security in Aix is basically not a problem. True, as in the south of France in general, you have to be wary of pickpockets or mostly teenage con artists. But you should not be afraid to move freely in the center as a tourist. In principle, you should be more careful at night in the southern part below the university ("residential ghettos") than in the southern part ("bourgeois"). Also, especially as a woman, you should be careful around the student dormitories in the southern part at night and possibly prefer a taxi, since shady characters are walking around there.



In the fourth century BC, Lower Provence is occupied by a Celto-Ligurian confederation called the Salyens or Salluvians, whose capital, the oppidum called Entremont, is located north of Aix, on the road to Puyricard.

In 123 BC, following the call of the Greeks from Massalia (Marseille), in constant conflict with the Ligurian and Gallic tribes in the neighborhood, the consul Caius Sextius Calvinus takes and destroys this city-oppidum. He then set up a camp there, near the thermal springs, which quickly became a city, named Aquae Sextiae ("Waters of Sextius"), in order to ensure the safety of commercial transport between Rome and the Phoenician city of Massalia. Thus Aix had been created to hold in respect the Salyan people who could worry Marseille, the ally of Rome.

In 102 BC, during the Battle of Aix, Marius stood up, at the foot of Sainte-Victoire, to the hordes of Ambrons and Teutons whom he defeated. Aquae Sextiae is gaining momentum and gathers a large population composed mainly of the descendants of the Salyan populations subjected by Rome. The city has ramparts as well as a theater that make it an important city in the region, ideally located to protect Roman interests in Marseille.

In the following centuries, several districts of the city were abandoned. The ancient theater is dismantled. This state does not mean a decadence of Aix, but simply a new territorial organization of inhabited spaces. In the fourth century, the city becomes the capital of Narbonne second and is endowed with a diocese of which Lazarus becomes the bishop. It was then occupied by the Visigoths in 477. In the following century, it was invaded alternately by the Franks and the Lombards, then in 731 by the Saracens.

While the city of Aix is coming out of a long period of economic and demographic slowdown, the Counts of Provence (houses of Anjou and Aragon) decide to make it their new residence in 1189, to the detriment of the cities of Arles and Avignon, where they formerly ruled. This position of strength will not only give Aix the status of capital of Provence, but above all allow an unprecedented development of the city. As such, the installation of King René, Duke of Anjou, Count of Provence, titular king of Sicily, in the fifteenth century, marks the golden age of the city, which will forever retain the title of "city of King René". This monarch, surrounded by a refined and literate court, will make Aix, from 1409, a famous cultural and renowned university center, endow the city with a court of justice and contribute to its beautification, after centuries marked by economic stagnation. King René was, in reality, a deplorable politician whom the Provençals decked out with a mask of good-naturedness.

From 1486, a governor resided there to represent the Count of Provence who is now, simultaneously, King of France. The union of Provence with France is underway, but it remains until 1789 an independent state associated with France "not as an accessory to its principal, but as a principal to another principal, and separately from the rest of the kingdom" and the city of Aix, like Provence, intended to retain its franchises. In 1501, Louis XII established the Parliament of Provence there, which lasted until the Revolution. Most often, the states of Provence meet there to vote on the tax.

At the beginning of July 1608, the suburbs of Aix-en-Provence were covered with a shower of blood. Some monks explained this event by satanic influences. Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc recorded this rain by collecting a few drops on the wall of the cathedral cemetery. He discovered that it was the excrement of butterflies that had been observed recently. The city center had not been invaded, so he had remained untouched. This scientific explanation did not calm the popular terror.

Aix-en-Provence is the city where Frédéric Mistral studied law, Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) spent his life and Émile Zola his first eighteen years. It was at Bourbon College (now Mignet College) that the deep friendship that united them was forged.

The city is marked by the Earthquake of 1909 in the South of France, which sees the roof of the Augier vermicellerie collapse and where "the Place des Prêcheurs is filled with people sleeping on mattresses," as the mother of an academician testifies. Shortly before the main tremor, on June 11, we notice the abnormal behavior of birds flying low, with cries of fright, dogs screaming to death, and horses squawking.

During the First World War, the Aix residents were mainly mobilized within the 55th and 61st infantry regiments, garrisoned in Forbin and Miollis barracks. They will be part of the 15th army corps and in particular involved in the Case of the 15th corps in August 1914.

After the Second World War, the city will expand widely beyond the "ring road" formed by the boulevards Jaurès and Briand (formerly Notre-Dame), Roi-René, République and Cours Sextius and Saint-Louis. The faculties of law and letters move from the old town and the appearance of underground car parks and leisure areas give the city its current appearance (creation of the Place des Carders in 1963, demolition of the old Aix station replaced by the Provençal Alleys in 1980).

Aix hosts the Aix-en-Provence TGV station, the Arbois and Rousset technopoles. Aix also has many universities (letters, law, economics, political sciences, arts and crafts, fine arts).

The city celebrated the centenary of Cézanne's death with in particular the international exhibition at the Granet Museum: "Cézanne in Provence" from June 9, 2006 to September 17, 2006 which brought together nearly 120 works by the master on the theme of his "dear Provence".



Location and territory

Aix-en-Provence is located 30 kilometers north of the center of Marseille by road and 20 km as the crow flies from the Mediterranean Sea, between the Sainte-Victoire massif to the east and the Trévaresse range to the west.

With 18,608 hectares, it is the 11th largest municipality in metropolitan France and the 4th in the Bouches-du-Rhône.

The situation of the city of Aix-en-Provence places it in an area whose seismic risk is estimated between low and medium6, like the municipalities of the north of the Bouches-du-Rhône. The earthquake of 1909 caused quite significant damage there.


Neighbouring municipalities

The neighboring municipalities are Bouc-Bel-Air, Cabriès, Éguilles, Gardanne, Meyreuil, Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, Rognac, Rognes, Saint-Cannat, Saint-Marc-Jaumegarde, Le Tholonet, Velaux, Venelles, Ventabren and Vitrolles.



The coastal rivers Touloubre and Arc, as well as its tributary the Torso cross the city from east to west.



In 2010, the climate of the municipality is of the frank Mediterranean climate type, according to a study by the National Center for Scientific Research based on a series of data covering the period 1971-2000. In 2020, Météo-France publishes a typology of the climates of metropolitan France in which the municipality is exposed to a Mediterranean climate and is in the Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon climatic region, characterized by low rainfall in summer, very good sunshine (2,600 h / year), a hot summer (21.5 ° C), very dry air in summer, dry in all seasons, strong winds (frequency of 40 to 50% winds > 5 m / s) and few fogs.

For the period 1971-2000, the average annual temperature is 13.9 ° C, with an annual thermal amplitude of 16.2 ° C. The average annual cumulative rainfall is 621 mm, with 5.7 days of precipitation in January and 1.9 days in July. For the period 1991-2020, the annual average temperature observed on the meteorological station installed in the municipality is 14.7 ° C and the average annual cumulative rainfall is 608.8 mm. The maximum temperature recorded on this station is 42 ° C, reached on June 28, 2019; the minimum temperature is -20.2 °C, reached on February 12, 1956.

The climate parameters of the municipality have been estimated for the middle of the century (2041-2070) according to different greenhouse gas emission scenarios based on the new DRIAS-2020 reference climate projections. They can be consulted on a dedicated website published by Météo-France in November 2022.


Personalities related to Aix-en-Provence

Personalities born in Aix-en-Provence

Many personalities have been born in Aix-en-Provence. One of them, Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), painter of the Sainte-Victoire mountain, had once written: "When I was in Aix, it seemed to me that I would be better off somewhere else, now that I am here, I regret Aix ... When we were born there, it's fucked up, nothing tells you more. "Several other artists were born in this city: André Campra (1660-1744) composer, Jean-Baptiste van Loo (1684-1745), François Marius Granet (1775-1849), Jacques Pellegrin (born in 1944) are among the painters, but writers can also be cited, such as Louise Colet (née Révoil) (1810-1876), Paul Alexis (1847-1901), Alfred Capus (1857-1922), academician from 1914 to his death in 1922, Folco de Baroncelli-Javon (1869-1943), Joachim Gasquet (1873-1921) or José de Bérys (1883-1957), Bruno Durand (1890-1975). Aix-en-Provence is also a city that has seen the birth of several artists: the composer Emmanuel de Fonscolombe (1810-1875), the couturier Emanuel Ungaro (born in 1933), the sculptor Beppo (born in 1943), the pianist Hélène Grimaud (born in 1969) or the actress Mylène Jampanoï (born in 1980).

Many sportsmen have turned out. They too were born in Aix-en-Provence: Raoul Giraudo (1932-1995), Henri Michel (born in 1947), former footballer and coach of many football teams, Franck Cammas, (born in 1972), navigator, Arnaud Clément (born in 1977), tennis player or Virginie Dedieu (born in 1979), triple world champion in synchronized swimming.

Aix-en-Provence is also a city of churchmen or politicians and has been for centuries; Eleanor of Provence (1223-1291), queen consort of Henry III of England, is a striking example. It is also possible to mention the Duranti family (fourteenth – nineteenth century), a family of the nobility of dress who gave several consuls to the city, then advisers in the Chamber of Accounts and a general of the order of Minims, confessor of King Henry III. Jean Cabassus (1604-1685), theologian and confessor of Cardinal Grimaldi. Bruno-Philibert Audier-Massillon (1746-1822), French magistrate and politician of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was also born in the city, as was Jean Espariat (1747-1827), first mayor of Aix, Eugene de Mazenod (1782-1861), bishop of Marseille canonized in 1995, from François-Auguste Mignet (1796-1884), historian and councilor of state or Maurice Rouvier ( 1842-1911), politician or the cardinal-Archbishop of Paris Joseph Hippolyte Guibert, builder of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Paris.


Other personalities

But many people whose lives have significantly marked, or even transformed the city of Aix-en-Provence, also deserve to be mentioned, even if they were not born there. Honoré Gabriel Riqueti de Mirabeau (1749-1791), deputy of the Third Estate of the States General in 1789, is a striking example; his name is today closely associated with the city of Aix-en-Provence, to the point of having given its name to its most famous street, the Cours Mirabeau.

Perhaps the oldest personage linked to Aix-en-Provence is Mitre of Aix, also called Saint Mitre (433-466), a Catholic and Orthodox saint who evangelized Aix and whose cult has been perpetuated over the centuries.

Aix, because of its position as the former capital of Provence and the seat of the Parliament of Provence and the civil court, had an early vocation to attract the most famous politicians, such as Raimond Berenger IV of Provence (1199-1245), Count of Provence and Forcalquier, last of the Catalan counts to reign in Provence, Jean-Étienne-Marie Portalis (1746-1807), statesman, jurisconsult, philosopher of French law and co-editor of the Civil Code, Jean Joseph Pierre Pascalis (1732-1790), lawyer, assessor of Aix and prosecutor of the country of Provence under the Old Regime or Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877), lawyer, journalist, historian and French statesman. Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, although born in Belgentier (Var) on December 1, 1580, spent his entire life in Aix-en-Provence, where he was a councilor in Parliament; he died in Aix on June 24, 1637 and was buried in the church of the Madeleine.

But Aix-en-Provence is also a city of arts, there are many artists who have made their careers there or part of it: Jean-Baptiste Boyer d'Argens (1703-1771), Émile Zola (1840-1902), Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961), all writers; Fernand Pouillon (1912-1986), architect; Jean Murat (1888-1968), French actor ; Darius Milhaud (1892-1974), French composer of classical music, deceased in Geneva, but buried in Aix (according to his wishes); Bruno Étienne (1937-2009), university professor. The famous botanist Gaston de Saporta (1823-1895), born in Saint-Zacharie (Var), lived all the rest of his life in Aix-en-Provence. In music, Gérald de Palmas and Christophe Maé are also linked to the city, as well as the composer and clarinetist Jean-Christian Michel, who has lived there since 1975.

The philosopher Maurice Blondel (1861-1949) spent almost his entire career in Aix-en-Provence.

The pedagogue Pierre Estienne directed the normal school of Aix-en-Provence from 1903 to 1907, date of his death.

The French sculptor and ceramist Émile Just Bachelet (1892-1981) ended his days in Aix-en-Provence.



The football player Ouissem Belgacem was born in 1988 in Aix-en-Provence.