Before “returning” to Paris again, another post from my recent trip to Provence, this time about Aix-en-Provence.
Several cities have the name of Aix, the origin of this name being the Roman Aqua, for water. The Romans looked for hot water springs and gave this city the name of Aquae Sextiae, founded in the year 122 BC by Gaius Sextius Calvinius as the first Roman city in what today is France - after the destruction of a Ligurian oppidum just north of the present city.
Today Aix-en-Provence is a major cultural centre with its important university, its music festival during the summer weeks… and also with different public institutions like an important Appeal Court.
As many cities in the south, Aix-en-Provence has a definite, particular, atmosphere, light… and the high number of students brings a lot of life to the city (also late nights), full of cafés, beautiful several centuries old “hôtels particuliers”, open places, squares… .
I found this particular light and atmosphere also during a visit here in January this year, although the trees were naked.
There are of course a number of churches, including the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour (5th – 17th century)…
… and not only church towers but also the one of the Town Hall from 1510.
As said, the hot water springs attracted the Romans and there are numerous fountains around the city, including very ancient ones on the central street, Cours Mirabeau, covered by moss and other vegetation, and the more recent Rotunda Fountain.
Aix is also an artist city, particularly known for having been Cezanne’s home town. The different paintings he made of his beloved Sainte-Victoire Mountain are especially well-known. The studio he built north of the city centre can be visited (but not photographed inside). The trees of the surrounding little park have grown since.