Cours Mirabeau

Historic Site and Street in Aix en Provence

Aix En Provence, Le Cours Mirabeau
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ketounette

Honore-Gabriel Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau, was a prominent early leader of the French Revolution and represented Aix at the pivotal Estates General assembly in 1789. Although publicly advocating for liberty, he was secretly supportive of the monarchy. His death in 1791 was widely mourned across the nation.

In his honor, the Cours Mirabeau in Aix was named. This boulevard, a major thoroughfare in the city center, originated in 1649 when the city’s southern ramparts were demolished under the direction of Archbishop Michel Mazarin to accommodate expansion efforts.

Originally known simply as “le Cours” (the Boulevard), the street spans 1,445 feet in length and 138 feet in width. It was envisioned by Mazarin as a grand promenade for the affluent bourgeois of his new district. Architect Jean Lombard assisted Mazarin in designing this new urban space, which replaced the old rampart with a carriage route.

It took fifteen years to dismantle parts of the old rampart and establish the boulevard as a place where the nobility could enjoy leisurely strolls on Sundays. Today, the Mirabeau Boulevard is shaded by plane trees and lined with cafes, terraces, and mansions featuring wrought-iron balconies. The street was officially named after Mirabeau in 1876.

Decorated with several fountains, the boulevard features the prominent Fountain of the Rotunda (1860), designed by Theophile de Tournadre, alongside the Fountain of the Nine Canons (1651) by Laurent Vallon, and the Mossy Fountain (1667) by Jacques Fosse, which emits hot water and is covered in moss. The Fountain of the Seahorses, once located at the street’s end, was destroyed in 1777, leaving only a mound.

At the boulevard’s eastern end stands a statue of King Rene, which was restored in 2009. Over the years, some of the historic mansions have been converted into shops and markets. Today, the street reflects a blend of its historical significance and modern commercial life, mirroring the dual political legacy of the Royalist and Revolutionary figure, Mirabeau.

The Cours Mirabeau appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Aix en Provence!

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Visiting Cours Mirabeau


24 Hours



Address: Cours Mirabeau, Aix-en-Provence, France
Duration: 20 minutes

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