Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence (ĕk-säN-prôväNsˈ) [key], city (1990 pop. 126,854), Bouches-du-Rhône dept., in Provence, SE France. It is a commercial center in an area producing olives, grapes, and almonds. Its manufactures include food products, wine-making equipment, and electrical apparatus. Founded (123 B.C.) by the Romans near the site of mineral springs, it has long been a popular spa. There, in 102 B.C., Marius defeated the Teutons. It became an archiepiscopal see in the 5th cent. It has been the capital of Provence since the 12th cent. (except when replaced by Arles), and passed with Provence to the crown in 1487, becoming the seat of a provincial parlement. A music center since the 11th cent. and a focus of Provençal literature, Aix has a university (founded 1409; recently combined with one at Marseilles). A notable structure is the Cathedral of Saint-Sauveur (13th–14th cent.). A picturesque town, Aix has become a favorite sojourn for painters. An opera festival is held each summer. Cézanne was born and died there.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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