Fontaine de la Rotonde (Fountain of the Rotunda)

Fountain in Aix en Provence

CC BY-SA 2.0 / Rainbow0413

Before his death in 1779, the Count de Valbelle generously donated 30,000 livres to the city of Aix. In November of that year, plans were set in motion to demolish the city’s ramparts in one area and construct a new square. Several proposals were considered to enhance the emerging Rotunda Square.

A grand fountain and obelisk were envisioned to symbolize the entrance to the now unfortified city. However, it would be many years before these plans materialized. The fountain was finally constructed in 1860, designed by architect Théophile de Tournadre.

Since ancient Roman times, Aix has been celebrated as the water capital of the region, famed for its numerous thermal springs and fountains. The Fountain of the Rotunda (Fontaine de la Rotonde) soon became the most prominent in Aix-en-Provence, not only for its impressive size but also as the first to feature a cast iron basin.

Standing nearly 40 feet high, the fountain includes a stone obelisk and a large circular pool encircled by a chain crafted at the Aix Centre of Arts and Crafts. Decorative elements include six pairs of lions on marble bases that line the pool’s edge and groups of children riding bronze swans in the basin. Above the main basin is a smaller one, topped with a pedestal adorned with spouting cheetah heads, crafted by sculptor Francois Truphème.

Three statues, collectively known as “The Three Graces,” adorn the pedestal, each facing a different direction. “Justice,” created by Joseph Marius Ramus, faces Cours Mirabeau towards the Courthouse; “Commerce and Agriculture” by Louis-Felix Chabaud look towards Marseille and the industrial areas; and “Fine Arts” by Hippolyte Ferrat points towards Avignon, reflecting the city’s academic heritage. These statues not only enhance the fountain’s aesthetic but also symbolize the cultural and civic virtues of Aix-en-Provence.

The Fontaine de la Rotonde (Fountain of the Rotunda) appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Aix en Provence!

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Visiting Fontaine de la Rotonde (Fountain of the Rotunda)


24 Hours



Address: Fontaine de la Rotonde, Place du Général de Gaulle, Aix-en-Provence, France
Duration: 20 minutes

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