The Aix Cathedral has a rich history spanning over many centuries. To Christians, it may be just a place of worship but to tourists, it shows the advancement of French architecture from the late Roman era to the 17th century. Besides the blend of diverse architectural elements, the Aix Cathedral has different features that will leave a tourist gapping in awe.
The Variety Of Architecture
The contrasting architectural elements that blend into a unitary structural edifice are immediately visible at first sight. To the south is the Twelfth-century Romanesque gate that meets a Roman wall. To the north lies the 15th and 16th century gorgeously carved Gothic gate diminished by a bell tower.
The nave breathes elegance and tranquility. It has a rich gallery with varied decorations on the pillars. The green and gold organ installed by Jean-Esprit Isnard will quickly catch your attention. These decorations draw inspiration from virtually everything, from the animal to plant kingdoms, and evangelical symbols. The central basin will make you recall the ancient baptismal rite of immersion in a pool of water.
The Aix Cathedral is filled with a large collection of art masterpieces ranging from pictures to sculptures and carvings. An area of the cathedral has a masterpiece of the seven sacraments. There is also a French version of the famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci of the last supper. If you already have Leonardo’s version in your head, the one in the Aix Cathedral depicting the disciples as a group of French peasants can be jarring.
One of the most valuable artworks in the Aix Cathedral is the work by Nicolas Froment in the St. Lazarus Chapel titled Triptych of the Burning Bush. The painting shows the Virgin and Child sitting on a burning bush. On the foreground is Moses amazed by the view while looking after his flock. This evokes the memories of the burning bush in the book of Exodus in the Bible
The sculpture of the St. Come and Damien Chapel which serves as the narthex of the baptistery of the Aix Chapel is stunning. This masterpiece which dates back to the 16th century is believed to incorporate marble sarcophagus from the 6th century. There are so many explanations to the portraits on the sculpture, but many believe that it is Saint Mitre.
The oldest part of the Aix Cathedral is the baptistery which dates back to the 5th and 6th century. It is believed to be the oldest in France. The rotunda of the baptistery has eight columns; two of them made from granite and the remaining six from cipollino marble.
At the adjoining south side of the cathedral lie the archbishop’s place and the 12th-century Romanesque cloister. The cloister has capitals bearing carvings of biblical events and symbols including the Christ washing his disciple’s feet and the crucifixion.
A unique feature of the Aix cathedral is its triple nave; the central Gothic nave, the north aisle, and the left Romanesque aisle (which used to be the main nave). The keystone of the Aix Cathedral rises to a height of 20 meters which is lower than all other French Gothic cathedrals.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
When you are done touring the Aix Cathedral, you can extend your itinerary to nearby attractions. One of such places is Tapestry Museum. The museum boasts of 19 tapestries and 9 panels showcasing the life of Don Quixote. There are other collections that are presented on a rotating basis like performance art and contemporary textile art.
Other points of interests close to the Aix Cathedral that you should make effort to visit are the Clock Tower, Archbishop’s Place in Aix-en-Province, and Musee Estienne-de-Saint-Jean (du Vieil Aix). The architecture of some of these places is influenced by the magnificent architectural elements of the Aix Cathedral.
Searching for accommodation? There is a large diversity of restaurants in this area that you can pick from. A good number of restaurants in this area offer Wi-Fi services which give you the opportunity to take pictures and share with your friends. Likewise, there is a rich diversity of restaurants like Follia and Chez Feraud around the Aix Cathedral where you can enjoy the best of French cuisine.