Posted: 2009-08-01

City of Fountains

Aix-en-Provence has been called the City of One Thousand Fountains.  I learned this on Wikipedia which, it turns out, has a nice section on Aix.  I learned from the city tourist office website that there are only 40 public fountains here.  If you think about it, though, that’s a lot of fountains considering that the old town center is pretty small and you can walk across it in just a few minutes. 

As I wrote in an earlier post, there is a natural hot springs which has been used as a spa since Roman times.  In addition, there are many other natural springs in the city which feed the numerous fountains.  Some of the fountains are big and grand.  Others are small, tucked away in a little square or on a side street.  Each fountain has its own personality.  Some are grand, monumental, ornate.  Others are simple and utilitarian.  In either case, as you wander through the old town, you can hear the sound of water splashing in the fountains.  I’ve even seen a few dogs cooling off in this hot weather by taking a dip in the water!

The fountain at La Rotonde at the end of the Cours Mirabeau is the largest - it was built in 1860 as the gateway to the city

You’ve seen the Hot Springs Fountain on Cours Mirabeau in an earlier post - what I learned today is that there has been a fountain in this location since Roman times, not quite sure if this is the same fountain…

Here’s the 9 Canons fountain on the Cours Mirabeau - according to the tourism website, moss growing on it has obscured the sculpture (presumably a sculpture of 9 canons)

Here’s a new fountain at the end of the Cours Mirabeau

The fountain at Place des Quatre Dauphins - Plaza of the Four Dolphins - situated in a neighborhood filled with 17th-century mansions

A close-up of the Quatre Dauphins fountain

A fountain in a private courtyard in the same neighborhood as Quatre Dauphins

Here’s a new fountain in Place des Cardeurs next to the Hôtel de Ville (city hall)

This fountain in the Place d’Albertas was made by students from the Aix School of Arts and Crafts in 1912

Here’s a monumental fountain in the Place des Augustins

This is one of my favorites because it’s surrounded by café tables - what a great place to have a meal

This fountain is down a side street, hidden from most people

Finally, small fountains like this are sprinkled around so you can fill your water bottle, wash off a piece of fruit, cool your feet, whatever…

-Julia Abbott



The moss-covered Hot Springs Fountain on Cours Mirabeau is my favorite. The moss gives it a "been-there" feeling.

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