Marseille may be known for its seaport, Avignon for its papal palaces. But in Aix-en-Provence, it’s the fountains you should watch out for.
They call it the “city of a thousand fountains”. Aix-en-Provence (you can just do as the locals do and call it “Aix”) might not have quite so many, but the carved stone and marble of the city’s fountains – made possible by the creation of the Canal du Verdon and Zola Dam in the late 19th century – are among Aix’s most iconic landmarks.
From the accurately named “Fountain of Warm Water”, a mossy structure oft nicknamed “la Mousse” to the imposing “Fountain of Nine Cannons”, every one of Aix’s fountains has a story.
But none is as striking as the city’s most iconic structure: La Rotonde, built in 1860. Each of the statues flanking the fountain depicts one of the town’s main “essences” – Justice, Agriculture, and Fine Arts. Yet in recent years, the fountains have slowed their flow. Water conservation efforts have led the town council to limit the hours per day the fountains run – they’re shut off overnight between 11pm and 6am.
Still, during a balmy Aix-en-Provence summer afternoon, leaning into the Fontaine de Neuf Canons – and feeling a hundred years of history spraying your face – makes for a perfect refreshment.
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