Le cours Mirabeau and its fountains

Aix en Provence - Site

440 metres long and 42 metres wide, Cours Mirabeau links the Mazarin district to the south with the old market town to the north.

Today it is one of the busiest and most lively places in Aix en Provence. With its plane trees, fountains and cafes, the Cours is extremely popular with tourists and residents alike.

Cours Mirabeau was made when the city was enlarged in the 17th century on the orders of Archbishop Mazarin and at the request of bourgeois home-owners who wanted a thoroughfare for carriages and pedestrians.

The road followed the line of the former ramparts, and the richest noble families had elegant houses built along it to show off their success, sometimes ostentatiously.

At No.4 is Hôtel de Villars, built in 1710 and named after the Governor of Provence. Its frontage has a fine entrance framed by four columns with Doric capitals.

Hôtel Isoard de Vauvenargues, at No.10, was built in around 1710. Its plain frontage hides a lavish decor, and its staircase has a metalwork railing from the late 17th century.

At No.20, Hôtel de Forbin is one of the largest on the Cours. It was built in 1656 with Aix stone from the Bibémus quarries, to the plans of Pierre Pavillon. Its beauty derives from the simplicity and symmetry of its layout. It has played host to some distinguished guests: the dukes of Burgundy and Berry, the grandsons of Louis XIV, and Napoleon's sister Pauline Borghese, among others.

The magnificence of Hôtel Maurel-de-Pontevés, at No.38, also known as Hôtel d'Espagnet, reflects the social success of its owner, Pierre Maurel. Originally a cloth merchant, he gained a noble title and his mansion was one of the first to be built in the Mazarin district from 1647 onwards.

The balcony, supported by Atlases, is typical of Aix Baroque art.
Hôtel d'Arbaud-Jouques at No.19, built around 1700, is one of the most beautiful on the Cours, with a façade entirely in dressed stone and an entrance which is probably the most ornate in Aix.

At No.53 bis, on the site of Hôtel de Gantès, Les Deux Garçons Café has been an "Aix institution" since the beginning of the 19th century, and Cézanne was a regular customer there. Next to Passage Agard, at No.55, is the house where Paul Cézanne lived as a child.

There are four fountains along Cours Mirabeau. The most imposing is probably the Rotonde fountain. Its construction in 1860 marked a turning point: not only were its dimensions exceptional for the city, but it was also the first to have a cast-iron basin. The three statues adorning the fountain recall the city's principal professions: Law (facing Cours Mirabeau), Agriculture (facing Marseille) and Art (facing Avignon).

The fountain marked the symbolic entrance to the modern city, without ramparts or gates, and open to the world. Since then Aix has grown and the "Great Fountain" is in the centre of the city.

Built in 1691 by Laurent Vallon, the Nine Cannons Fountain replaced a watering fountain where flocks were brought to drink as they migrated, before Cours Mirabeau was built. Its water was used by the nuns of St Ursule (Lycée Mignet) and then by the Benedictines. The vegetation, encroaching little by little, makes it difficult to identify the sculptures. However, it was listed in 1929. Further on, the Hot Water Fountain, known as the Mossy Fountain because of the thick moss covering it, is the one where the water from the Bagniers spring flows at a temperature of 18°C. This was the first fountain built on the Cours and it is still fed by the spa water.

At the top of Cours Mirabeau is King René's fountain, designed in 1819 by Pierre-Henri Revoil. The statue which adorns it is the work of David d'Angers. It shows Good King René‚ wearing the crown of the Counts of Provence, holding in his hands the sceptre and the Muscat grapes which he introduced to Provence, and with books at his feet (to indicate his patronage of the arts and learning).

Information provided by OT Aix en Provence

Nearby

  1. Les Hauts Pinchinats

    Holiday rental

    Read more
  2. Café Le Verdun

    Food guide restaurant

    Read more
  3. Le Poivre d'Ane

    Food guide restaurant

    Read more
  4. Lou Jas De Rafeou

    Holiday rental

    Read more

Where to stay

Les Années 50
Holiday rental

Les Années 50

Saint Marc Jaumegarde

Dans une belle bastide du XIXème à seulement 4 kms d'Aix en Provence, maison proposant un gîte et 3 chambres/suites qui mettent en scène des ambiances uniques mariant couleurs, fantaisie, mobilier chiné et esprit contemporain. Christophe et Cristel vous accueillent en famille, et vous feront…

Hotel du Moulin de la Pioline
Hotel

Hotel du Moulin de la Pioline

Aix en Provence

Located in Les Milles, Hotel du Moulin de la Pioline is 5 km from the centre of Aix-en-Provence. All of the rooms feature a carpeted floor, a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a desk. Each room also includes a private bathroom with a shower and a bath.

La Maison de Sylvianne
Holiday rental

La Maison de Sylvianne

Aix en Provence

In the countryside of Aix-en-Provence, face to fields, but only 5km from the city center, in a quiet environment, the House of Sylvianne is an architect's house with private pool and garden. The gite is adjacent to the owner's house. Qualitative Provencal decoration. On one level, the gîte opens…

Le Clos Des Freres Gris
B&B

Le Clos Des Freres Gris

Aix en Provence

Le Clos des Freres Gris : A warm welcome awaits you by the Lecomte family in their Provençal Bastide, a monastery of the late 18th century. Located just a few minutes from the very center of Aix en Provence, the Bastide offers five beautifully decorated guest rooms, with fine period and…

Bastide Sainte-Marie
Holiday rental

Bastide Sainte-Marie

Aix en Provence

On the heights of Aix-en-Provence, with a magnificent view on the city of Aix-en-Provence and the surrounding hills, bastide of XVIIIth century on 4000 m² land. Private pool overlooking the mount Sainte Victoire.On the ground floor: dining room with high ceiling and stucco decorations.Fully…

Mme Huet Legrand
B&B

Mme Huet Legrand

Aix en Provence

La Bruissanne : Following the path of Cézanne, 5 minutes from the historical center of Aix-en-Provence, La Bruissanne warmly welcomes you in a calm and friendly atmosphere in the heart of a leafy park with all the scents of Provence. All the rooms are carefully and tastefully decorated in…

Sur Les Toits Du Vieil Aix
Holiday rental

Sur Les Toits Du Vieil Aix

Aix en Provence

Appartement climatisé en duplex. Séjour/salon. Cuisine américaine équipée. A l'étage : 1 chambre avec 1 lit/2 pers (160x200). 1 SdB avec douche et baignoire. 1 WC indépendant. 2 terrasses de 4 et 7 m² avec mobilier de jardin. Accès internet. Stationnement public à proximité.

Les Arnauds
B&B

Les Arnauds

Aix en Provence

Passez votre séjour en chambre d'hôtes au Sein d'ONU typique mas provençal dans la campagne d'Aix-en-Provence. Venez profiter du soleil et des produits du jardin. Profitez des plus belles balades de Provence.

Jardin De Marie
B&B

Jardin De Marie

Aix en Provence

The guest house "Le Jardin de Marie" is situated in the Mazarin district, right in the heart of the enchanting town of Aix en Provence well-known and appreciated worldwide for its cultural activities, its shaded streets, its plane-trees and its fountains. The Mediterranean coast and some of the…

Things to do

Cinéma Le Mazarin
Cultural place

Cinéma Le Mazarin

Aix en Provence

Art cinema with 3 screens. Foreign movies are all shown in original version with french subtitles.

Petite Mila
Craftsman

Petite Mila

Aix en Provence

Petite Mila is a French brand that has been producing graphic designs based on organic cotton for 4 years now. You can see all the brand's designs on its website.

So...
Fashion / shopping

So...

Aix en Provence

Fashion accessories and jewelry

La Fibule
Craftsman

La Fibule

Aix en Provence

La Fibule is a studio-boutique opened in 2013 by Dominique Valdman, a former bricklayer who swapped his trowel for a sewing machine. Dominique Valdman makes leather belts before your eyes, as well as designer items such as bags, hats or gloves.

Oriental carpets and tapestries - Alexandre Naalbandian
Craftsman

Oriental carpets and tapestries - Alexandre Naalbandian

Aix en Provence

Sale, purchase, restoration carpets and tapestries.

Hôtel de Caumont - Centre d'Art
Cultural place

Hôtel de Caumont - Centre d'Art

Aix en Provence

A new art center opens in one of the most beautiful eighteenth century mansions in Aix-en-Provence. As of May 6, 2015, the Caumont Art Centre presents an ambitious cultural program putting the fine arts in the spotlight. Located close to the Cours Mirabeau, it is currently undergoing a complete…

Planétarium Peiresc
Family recreation

Planétarium Peiresc

Aix en Provence

The Peiresc planetarium is located near the gorgeous Saint Mitre Park, in the west part of the city. The planetarium offers to visitors a complete set of learning experiences including and not limited to Astronomy, Astrophysics and Earth Science. Our team will guide you through a 8 meters dome…

Hôtel Maynier d'Oppède
Monument

Hôtel Maynier d'Oppède

Aix en Provence

The Hôtel Maynier d'Oppède, opposite the Archbishop's Palace, is named after a very old family of magistrates. Bought in 1730 from the Forbin d’Oppède family, its frontage was rebuilt in 1757 by the architect Georges Vallon and the sculptor Chastel for the President of the Parliament,…

Calissoun
Greed, Greediness

Calissoun

Aix en Provence

Sale of calissons. The calisson is an exclusive speciality of Aix. Come and watch them being made, by appointment. We are at the Aix market every day except Sunday.

Where to eat

La Cantine
Food guide restaurant

La Cantine

Aix en Provence

Located between the Hôtel de Ville and the Palais de Justice, just two minutes from the Cours Mirabeau, la Cantine's menu features dishes from the South of France, served on the terrace or indoors, at either lunch or dinner. You will find fresh, seasonal produce from Provence, Corsica and Italy,…

La Chimère Café
Cuisine de Provence

La Chimère Café

Aix en Provence

The Chef offers homemade cuisine that revisits traditional cuisine. In addition to the menu and daily suggestions, La Chimère offers a vegetarian and vegan choice. The menu is renewed regularly according to seasons and arrivals. The restaurant is located in the former artisans' quarter and a…

L'Alcôve
Food guide restaurant

L'Alcôve

Aix en Provence

L'Alcôve serves regional, honest and homely dishes. The menu is updated on a regular basis to bring in seasonal produce. L'Alcôve is housed in a traditional Provencal building in the heart of Aix's old town. The restaurant will win you over with its delicious and beautifully presented dishes…

Le Contrepoint
Table 13

Le Contrepoint

Aix en Provence

Ici, l'atmosphère rock et tatouages montre qu'elle rime aussi avec gourmandise. L'ardoise connaît bien ses classiques (camembert rôti, canard à l'orange et cassolette d'andouillette) mais ne s'interdit pas les envies moins académiques : burger corse, croque-madame XL... En plus, tout est…

Bastide du Cours
Food guide restaurant

Bastide du Cours

Aix en Provence

Ideally located on Cours Mirabeau in the heart of Aix en Provence, La Bastide du Cours provides a wonderfully warm and relaxed setting. As for the food, our chef, Charly Valdez and his team invite you to travel....his creative cuisine is inspired by flavours from all over the world, blended with…

Les Deux Garçons
Food guide restaurant

Les Deux Garçons

Aix en Provence

Les Deux Garçons Brasserie, in the unique consular setting period of the Hotel De Gantes, is named in memory of the two waiters who had bought it in 1840 . It holds the memory of many past celebrities such as Raimu , Jouvet, Mistinguett , Churchill, Sartre , Picasso, Piaf, Cendrars , Trenet ,…

Les vieilles canailles
Food guide restaurant

Les vieilles canailles

Aix en Provence

Opened on a pedestrian street, this brand new restaurant in the heart of Aix-en-Provence is a den of epicureans. Authentic French bistro, Les Vieilles Canailles offers gourmet, simple and local cuisine, a rigorous selection of wines, all in a warm atmosphere. A true lover of the Product,…

Le Riad
Food guide restaurant

Le Riad

Aix en Provence

This Moroccan restaurant is in the historic centre of Aix-en-Provence, between the Town Hall and the Rotonde fountain, near Cours Mirabeau. It is inside the former Cordeliers Abbey, a listed historical monument, which adds its charm to the already refined, discreet oriental decor. In summer, eat…

Café Le Verdun
Food guide restaurant

Café Le Verdun

Aix en Provence

Traditional brasserie food with a Provençal flavour: Monkfish stew ("bourride"), meat stew, aioli, red mullet fillet with tapenade, leg of lamb, steak tartare.

Inspirations

Provence's markets

Provence's markets

Terroir

A fertile region with many local products and specialities

La pétanque

La pétanque

This sport (yes, Pétanque is a sport, but we'll talk about that later) is an intrinsic part of life in Marseille and has been from generation to generation!

Every quarter has its own boules court and/or boules association, including, of course, a watering hole...

The Sun

The Sun

Sunshine, one of the fundamentals of life in the South…

Lights, Camera, Action! Provence and the Movies

Lights, Camera, Action! Provence and the Movies

The history of cinema in Provence dates back many years. And similarly to the region's artistic hall of fame, it was inspired by light...

As you may know, the very first moving picture was screened by the Lumière brothers ('Lumière' meaning 'light') on September 21st, 1895 in La Ciotat.