AixEnProvence, France » City Info » History

Rich and alive with heritage, the Aix-En-Provence combines elements of all times from the Celto-Ligurian Oppidum of Entremont to the new Sextius-Mirabeau Quarter.

In 122BC, the Romans decided to give up the plate of Entremont to settle on the site, which was rich in resources. So, the Aquae Sextiae (Water of Sextius) was founded by the Roman consul Sextius Calvinus. He gave his name to its springs. The city was a staging point between Italy and Spain and developed as an urban centre and spa.

The diffusion of Christianity turned the new page of history. As the seat of the archbishop's palace of the ecclesiastical province, Aix was affirmed as capital from the beginning of the 5th century.

In 1182, Aix became the residence of the Counts de Provence. The city flourished around the three major poles namely the Palace of the Counts, the Saint-Sauveur Cathedral, and several newly formed districts of artisans and merchants.

In 1409, the university was founded in the city by Louis II of Anjou. When the city was under the control of his son Rene (1409-1480), it turned out as an artistic centre. These golden days were contributed by the legend of Queen Jeanne and King Rene. The statue of King Rene at the far end of the Cours Mirabeau still reminds of those thriving days.

One year after the death of King Rene, the Provence was attached to the Kingdom of France. Though it was annexed in the Kingdom, the Aix city strongly declined the centralising policy of monarchy for about two centuries. The town then expanded and changed to a courtesan city organised around judicial and religious power. After these changes, it came under the rule of Louis XIV.

Since 1646, the Architectural space of the city has developed significantly. The new Mazarin district was founded where renowned aristocrats, advisers, and magistrates settled down.

In 1650, a street for horse-driven carts was opened in the place of collapsed ramparts. By the 19th century, this place became the Cours Mirabeau named after the "idol of Provence", a Member of Parliament of the Third Estate in 1789. A large number of religious, educational and medical foundations were established in the city.

Since the middle of the 20th century, Aix experienced demographic and economic strides without any precedent. The city never lost its dynamism and continued its development. Nowadays, service industries and high-technology companies are playing a vital role in economic expansion.