Aix-en-Provence

Ten years for the 9th art

The Rencontres du 9e Art comic books fair in Aix-en-Provence celebrated its 10th edition last spring, becoming a landmark event in a town renowned for its love of books. Comics in France (bande dessinée) are often dubbed the 9th art and Aix made them an important feature of its Cité du Livre (book city) in Mejanes, a complex dedicated to publishing and reading set in a former match factory. The 10th edition of the festival was part of the programme of the 2013 European capital of culture, held in Marseille and most of Provence. To boost exchanges and confirm the vitality of comics in the world of publishing, the festival invited cartoonists from all over the world – France, Germany, Belgium, Colombia, Lebanon, the Netherlands, U.S. The 10th edition was thus more international than ever, showing the diverse aspects and approaches of the art globally.

In ten years, the event matured and included 19 exhibitions spread over 14 different locations across town for more than two months between March and May. Each year, the highlight of the festival is the weekend fair organised in April in the Cité du Livre, when the public can meet cartoonists and authors for signatures, debates, projections and various animations. More than 50 cartoonists and other professionals, publishers, journalists, librarians and booksellers were invited to meet the public.

Web sites

Poster for the 2012 edition of Rencontres du 9e Art in Aix-en-Provence
6 previous stages
Population: 145,700
Sub-prefecture of Bouches-du-Rhône (13)
Specialities: calissons (nougat), water, daube (stew), pesto sauce, aioli (garlic mayonnaise).
Signature: City of water, city of arts.
Nickname: Town with 1,000 fountains.
Economy: nuclear power in Cadarache, computer centres, university, administrations.
Sport: Argonautes (American football), Pays d'Aix Rugby Club, Pays d'Aix 13 Basket, AVC Aix (cycling).  
Celebrities: Roi Rene, Mirabeau (French Revolution leader), Paul Cezanne (painter), Emile Zola (writer), François-Marius Granet (painter), Henri Michel (football), Franck Cammas (yachting), Arnaud Clement (tennis).
Festivals: International festival of lyric art, Festival of French chanson, Zic Zac Festival, Rencontres du Neuvième Art (comics).

Timeline

  • 124 BC

    Roman consul Gaius Sextius Calvinus destroys the Gaul oppidum of Entremont and founds the town of Aquae Sextiae.
  • 4th century

    Aix becomes the capital of the Gallia Narbonensis province.
  • 1189

    The counts of Provence leave their residences of Arles and Avignon for Aix, making it the capital of the province.
  • 1382

    Creation of the Union of Aix, installing the second dynasty of Anjou as the rulers of Provence.
  • 1409

    Creation of Aix university.
  • 1480

    Death of King Rene of Anjou, count of Provence. His death hands Provence to France in 1483.
  • 1501

    Installation in Aix of the Parliament of Provence.
  • 1645

    Michel Mazarin, brother of the cardinal, becomes archbishop of Aix and orders huge works to rehabilitate the town.
  • 1790

    Aix becomes the prefecture of the Bouches-du-Rhone department.
  • 1800

    Prefect Charles Delacroix, the painter’s father, makes Marseille the prefecture of Bouches-du-Rhone at the expense of Aix.
  • 1839

    Birth of Paul Cezanne in Aix.
  • 1909

    Serious earthquake in the region of Aix.
  • 1939 to 1943

    Creation of a deportation camp in Les Milles.
  • 1989

    Opening of the Cité du livre (Book City) in a old match factory.
  • 2001

    Inauguration of Aix-en-Provence TGV station.
  • 2013

    Aix and Pays d’Aix are associated to Marseille Provence European capital of culture.
Good King René, Count of Anjou and Provence, painted by Nicolas FromentPaul Cézanne, self-portrait, 1875.Overall view of the building used as an internment camp in Milles © Anima, August 2007
6 previous stages
Population: 145,700
Sub-prefecture of Bouches-du-Rhône (13)
Specialities: calissons (nougat), water, daube (stew), pesto sauce, aioli (garlic mayonnaise).
Signature: City of water, city of arts.
Nickname: Town with 1,000 fountains.
Economy: nuclear power in Cadarache, computer centres, university, administrations.
Sport: Argonautes (American football), Pays d'Aix Rugby Club, Pays d'Aix 13 Basket, AVC Aix (cycling).  
Celebrities: Roi Rene, Mirabeau (French Revolution leader), Paul Cezanne (painter), Emile Zola (writer), François-Marius Granet (painter), Henri Michel (football), Franck Cammas (yachting), Arnaud Clement (tennis).
Festivals: International festival of lyric art, Festival of French chanson, Zic Zac Festival, Rencontres du Neuvième Art (comics).

Web sites

Aix-en-provence and cycling

Aix-en-Provence had to wait for more than half a century to hold another Tour de France stage. In 1962, fans had lined along the Cours Mirabeau to watch the riders come from Montpelier, a similar stage to this year, only backwards. More recently Cezanne's hometown was the stage of another important cycling event when Slovak Peter Sagan, taking part in his first big stage race in the 2010 Paris-Nice, sprinted to his second professional victory, two days after his maiden win in Aurillac. Aix also organises one of the earliest and oldest criteriums, Ronde d'Aix, celebrating its 65th edition this year. Riders from Aix include Team Sojasun's Remi Pauriol, who already took part in four Tours de France.

Victory by Peter Sagan on Paris-Nice 2010 in Aix-En-Provence © Presse SportsRémy Pauriol © Presse Sports/B.Bade
6 previous stages
Population: 145,700
Sub-prefecture of Bouches-du-Rhône (13)
Specialities: calissons (nougat), water, daube (stew), pesto sauce, aioli (garlic mayonnaise).
Signature: City of water, city of arts.
Nickname: Town with 1,000 fountains.
Economy: nuclear power in Cadarache, computer centres, university, administrations.
Sport: Argonautes (American football), Pays d'Aix Rugby Club, Pays d'Aix 13 Basket, AVC Aix (cycling).  
Celebrities: Roi Rene, Mirabeau (French Revolution leader), Paul Cezanne (painter), Emile Zola (writer), François-Marius Granet (painter), Henri Michel (football), Franck Cammas (yachting), Arnaud Clement (tennis).
Festivals: International festival of lyric art, Festival of French chanson, Zic Zac Festival, Rencontres du Neuvième Art (comics).

Web sites

Places to see

Place de la Rotonde

Aix-en-Provence would not be quite the same without its fountains. Some 40 of them refresh the city, adding a little bit of grace and coolness to its narrow streets. The most famous of all is certainly La Rotonde. Its construction in 1860 was a turning point in the history of the town firstly because of its enormous size for what was then a small city but also because it is partly made of cast iron. Three statues representing justice, agriculture and the fine arts decorate the fountain. Swans, naiads and lions were added later.

Cours Mirabeau

A walk along this large street – 440 metres long and 42 metres wide – in the shade of plane trees, is an opportunity to discover baroque townhouses and several fountains. But Corus Mirabeau is above all renowned for its terraces and cafés, the most famous being Les Deux Garçons at the top of the street.


Fountain of the Four Dolphins

The fountain is one of the oldest un Aix. Sculpted in 1667 by Jean-Claude Rambot, it represents four dolphins surrounded a pyramid initially topped by a statue of St Michael. The statue was later replaced by a fleur-de-lis, a Malta cross and a pinecone.

St Sauveur cathedral

A genuine architectural patchwork, St Sauveur retained in its stone the various traces of the past centuries. The legend has it that it was built over a pagan temple and it was constantly refurbished so that it houses three naves of different styles – Romanesque, gothic and baroque – while its crypt dates from Antiquity and its cloister from the 12th century.
St Sauveur shelters a 15th century masterpiece, a retable by Nicolas Froment representing the burning bush.

Granet museum
 
A first museum was created in 1828 in the priory of the St Jean de Malte church and inaugurated in 1838. The Granet extension was built in 1860. A second building is added after 1870 then a third in 1900, the whole building being enlarged in 1940. The premises were then thoroughly renovated between 1990 and 2005.  The collections come from antiques collected by Fauris de Saint Vincens in the late 18th century and from the donation made in 1849 by painter François Marius Granet, who gave his native town all the paintings he possessed.  Several donations completed the collections: Jean-Baptiste de Bourguignon de Fabregoules gave more than 800 works of art. In 1984, the French state gave the museum nine paintings by Aix-born Paul Cezanne.

Fountain of La Rotonde © Rainbow0413Cours Mirabeau © Georges SeguinFountain of the Four Dolphins in Aix-en-ProvenceSaint-Sauveur cathedral, Aix-en-Provence (France) © Georges SeguinColumns in the Saint-Sauveur cloister
6 previous stages
Population: 145,700
Sub-prefecture of Bouches-du-Rhône (13)
Specialities: calissons (nougat), water, daube (stew), pesto sauce, aioli (garlic mayonnaise).
Signature: City of water, city of arts.
Nickname: Town with 1,000 fountains.
Economy: nuclear power in Cadarache, computer centres, university, administrations.
Sport: Argonautes (American football), Pays d'Aix Rugby Club, Pays d'Aix 13 Basket, AVC Aix (cycling).  
Celebrities: Roi Rene, Mirabeau (French Revolution leader), Paul Cezanne (painter), Emile Zola (writer), François-Marius Granet (painter), Henri Michel (football), Franck Cammas (yachting), Arnaud Clement (tennis).
Festivals: International festival of lyric art, Festival of French chanson, Zic Zac Festival, Rencontres du Neuvième Art (comics).

Web sites

Good king rene

While Rene of Anjou, count of Provence and King of Naples, left a fond memory in the heart of the population to the extent of being dubbed Good King Rene, he died without an heir, leading Provence to become French against the will of its inhabitants. His fame is perhaps due to the fact that of all the Dukes of Anjou to reign over Provence, he was the one who spent the most time in the province after losing most of his other lands, including the kingdom of Naples over which his family reigned for two centuries. Rene also lost Lorraine, a region symbolised by a cross which is actually the cross of Anjou. As a result, the king spent half his time in Angers and the other half in Aix, where he died in 1480, surrounded by a court of artists and scientists who made the reputation of Aix and its university under his reign. In the meantime, his closest advisers, led by Palamede de Forbin, had worked undercover  at the service of French King Louis XI to make sure Provence would go to France after the king's death. Rene of Anjou was buried in Angers but left an important heritage in Provence like his castle in Tarascon, several manors around Aix and Marseille, and a statue by David D'Angers erected at the top of Aix's most famous street, Cours Mirabeau in 1819. Restored in 1819, the statue bears on its base several medallions, including one representing Palamede de Forbin, the man who ruled Provence after his master's passing. In spite of his misfortunes, King Rene became a legendary figure in the course of time because he boosted the local economy by lowering taxes and ordered large irrigation plans. He was also popular for his adventurous life, started as a soldier under Joan of Arc and finished as a lover of the arts.

René and his wife Jane (triptych painted by Nicolas Froment en 1475, cathédrale d'Aix)The statue of King René in Aix-en-Provence © Paul-Henri GiraudCastle of Tarascon © Wolfgang Staudt
6 previous stages
Population: 145,700
Sub-prefecture of Bouches-du-Rhône (13)
Specialities: calissons (nougat), water, daube (stew), pesto sauce, aioli (garlic mayonnaise).
Signature: City of water, city of arts.
Nickname: Town with 1,000 fountains.
Economy: nuclear power in Cadarache, computer centres, university, administrations.
Sport: Argonautes (American football), Pays d'Aix Rugby Club, Pays d'Aix 13 Basket, AVC Aix (cycling).  
Celebrities: Roi Rene, Mirabeau (French Revolution leader), Paul Cezanne (painter), Emile Zola (writer), François-Marius Granet (painter), Henri Michel (football), Franck Cammas (yachting), Arnaud Clement (tennis).
Festivals: International festival of lyric art, Festival of French chanson, Zic Zac Festival, Rencontres du Neuvième Art (comics).

Web sites

video04/07/2013 

The towns 2013 : visit Aix-en-Provence

Jersey wearers after the stage 14

Classifications after the stage 14

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