Public executions used to take place on place des Prêcheurs

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The fountain: Louis XV - ©François de Dijon The fountain: Louis XV - ©François de Dijon
Place des Prêcheurs Street District Execution Marquis de Sade Louis Gauffridy Sorcery

The square

This square was named after the Dominican convent ("Preacher Brothers"), destroyed during the Revolution. Do you know that this is Aix’s oldest square, created by king René when he decided to modernize the city in 1460?

This was also the place where stood the gallows... Oh oh, a place full of events! Sure... here’s the most striking facts:

• On September 12th 1772, marquis de Sade and his servant Latour were burnt in effigy on the square. 3 months ago, ha had an orgy with prostitutes in Marseille... The marquis accused of "sadism"? Yes!

• We also have the execution in effigy of the marquis d’Entrecasteaux, the one who murdered his wife in 1784...

• Finally, the case of Louis Gauffridy, priest of the church of the Accoules in Marseille! He was accused of bewitching a young lady?

So he was tortured and burnt on the square. You know what? They told that his ashes, scattered everywhere, were picked up by women because they were a kind of "admirable semen" that drove them insane!

The fountain

In middle of the square, a fountain, made by Jean Chastel in 1758. Nowadays, it’s an obelisk flanked by 4 lions, crowned by an eagle spreading his wings. On it, 4 medallions:

• the first one represents Caius Sextius, the Roman proconsul who founded the city.
• Louis XV's profile
• the third one is the future Louis XVIII, count of Provence.
• finally, Charles III, last count of Provence.

These portraits were destroyed during the Revolution, then replaced by sculptor from Aix Sébastien Pesetti.

And also!