A little history of Aix-en-Provence city hall
The city hall
Reraised in 1640 by Parisian architect Pierre Pavillon, the current city house has a pretty rich decoration. We have Ionic and Doric capitals on the façade, a delicate wrought-iron balcony...
During the French Revolution, they hammered the city’s coat of arms, Louis XIV’s statue, king Louis XI’s effigy on the balcony... Too bad for us!
But we still have the old bell-tower, raised in the beginning of the 16th century on the foundation of the medieval gate, vestige of the city walls.
Oh, look at that tower! A beautiful astronomical clock (1661), with four statues allegories of seasons. At the top, a kind of iron cage with bells inside: the tower used to be a belfry! Before the Revolution, we found here statue of king Louis XIII, in a niche: a souvenir left when he came in Aix...
An extraordinary library
The city hall houses a treasury: Méjanes' library. Méjanès was count Jean-Baptiste-Marie Piquet, Aix city mayor and Provence prosecutor between 1776 and 1778. An books lover!
He had a collection of 300 000 manuscripts: the most beautiful collection in France. Just before he died, he left them to the city: the "ancestor" of the current library! Among the nicest books, we have:
- king René’s "Book of Hours"
- the library oldest book (1100), a Mass manuscript also known as Evangéliaire de Saint-Sauveur d'Aix
- the Martyrologe by Adon (1318)
- the Béatitude du Chrétien ou le Fléau de la Foi by Geoffroy Vallée. It’s the only copy in the whole world, because others were burnt with their author...
- the Catholicon, the tradition says it was printed by Gutenberg himself...