History

Aix marks the spot where Roman forces enslaved the inhabitants of the Ligurian Celtic stronghold of Entremont, 3km north. In 123 BC the military camp was named Aquae Sextiae (Waters of Sextius) for the thermal springs that still flow today. In the 12th century the counts of Provence proclaimed Aix their capital, which it remained until the Revolution, when it was supplanted by Marseille. The city became a centre of culture under arts patron King René (1409–80): painter Paul Cézanne and novelist Émile Zola are its most famous sons.