[Lat. Aquae Sextiae]
French spa and university city, capital of Provence from the 14th to the 19th centuries. It is situated in the Arc Valley c. 30 km north of Marseille and has a population of c. 125,000. The capital of the Celtic Salluvians, Entremont, was destroyed in 123 bc by Gaius Sextius Calvinus, who set up a fortified camp close to some thermal springs nearby in 124 bc. This became the prosperous colony of Aquae Sextiae, capital of Gallia Narbonensis Secunda from c.ad 375. The city became a bishopric under St Maximinus (fl 1st century ad) and an archbishopric in the 5th century, when the baptistery of St Sauveur Cathedral was built on the Roman forum. In 574 the city was sacked by the Lombards and abandoned.
Situated at what was once a major crossroads of the ancient town, Aix Cathedral is a composite monument, its various parts dating from different ages. Three churches are identifiable—Roman, Gothic and Baroque. The cathedral’s baptistery dating back to the 5th century was transformed in the 10th/11th century, when it was crowned by a cupola, and it was revised again during the Renaissance. In effect the cathedral has grown and changed with the town of Aix itself....