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Public executions used to take place on place des Prêcheurs

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

The square

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

This was also the place where the gallows stood... Oh oh, a place full of events! Sure... let's talk about the most striking facts:

• On September 12th 1772, marquis de Sade and his servant Latour were burnt in effigy. 3 months ago, he had an orgy with prostitutes in Marseille...

• We also have marquis d’Entrecasteaux execution in effigy: he murdered his wife in 1784 in Aix-en-Provence...

• Finally, the case of Louis Gauffridy, priest in Marseille! He was charged with sorcery. He was tortured and burnt on the square. You know what? Legend says 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 four lions, crowned by an eagle spreading his wings.

We have four medallions:

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

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

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!