The residents of Aix-en-Provence
believe that the Cours Mirabeau is one of the most beautiful avenues in their hometown! This street was paved in the eighteenth century, approximately at the place where once there had been a high wall that protected the city.
There is a discreet building with a commemorative plaque – there was a hat shop, owned by the parents of Paul Cézanne – the famous post-impressionist artist, native of Aix-en-Provence, on the Cours Mirabeau
This boulevard «divides» conditionally the old part of the city in two «halves» (if on one side of the boulevard, we see buildings in the style of baroque and classicism, then there are buildings belonging to earlier periods on the other side). In the sixteenth - the eighteenth century, the old Aix-en-Provence
was filled with mansions, decorated with squares and fountains, whereas the modernity has «completed» the image, adding souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes...
The Cours Mirabeau
is decorated with two beautiful masterpieces that are located in different parts of it. This is the fountain «Rotonda», by Theophilus of Turnadra, and the statue of King René d’Anjou, erected in the nineteenth century.
The King René d'Anjou (nicknamed by his subjects « Bon Roi René » ("Good King René")) is represented by the sculptor David d’Angers, holding a large bunch of grapes in his hand. This reminds us of one of the merits of this sovereign - in the days of his government in Provence, they began to plant the grape variety «Muscat» and it was proved to be quite profitable. In addition, at the time of the Dukes of Anjou, the city became their residence and reached a certain prosperity and wealth. More specifically, during the reign of René of Anjou, the Aix-en-Provence became an important commercial and university town. There is a local legend in Aix-en-Provence
among the residents of the treasure would have walled in the pedestal of the monument to this king.
Not far from the Cours Mirabeau
, tourists can see a number of local attractions (the Église de la Madeleine and the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur of the sixteenth century, the building of the Hôtel de ville (City Hall) and some museums located in the quartier Mazarin). One of them bears the name of a local painter François Maurice Granet).