The Pavillon de Vendôme museum, a private mansion dedicated to art

In the north-west of Aix-en-Provence city centre, just a stone's throw from Place des Cardeurs, the Pavillon Vendôme museum is not to be missed. The facade of this historic monument, with its classical architecture, mouldings and statues, is well worth a visit. The building is set in the heart of splendid formal gardens, now public, covering almost 9,000 square metres. The gardens are perfect for a stroll on a sunny afternoon. Inside the museum, a collection of works of art and portraits from the 17th and 18th centuries awaits you. This is sometimes accompanied by temporary exhibitions focusing on modern and contemporary art, offering a skilful blend of the ancient and the modern. What can you see at the Pavillon de Vendôme museum? How do I get there? How much does it cost? How much time should you spend there? We tell you all about it in this article!

© Rebius / Shutterstock
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The history of the Pavillon de Vendôme

In 1652, Louis de Vendôme, cousin of King Louis XIV, was sent to Provence to pacify the region and reinforce royal authority. The gentle, pious man was much appreciated by the people of Aix and was appointed Governor of Provence in 1654. Ten years later, he was offered 20,000 pounds to build himself a private mansion in the heart ofAix-en-Provence.

Legend has it that the construction of the Pavillon de Vendôme was motivated by the Duke's love for Lucrèce de Forbin-Solliès, also known as the "Belle du Canet", who would meet him there at nightfall. He died there in 1669, aged just 57, and it is said that his 'exercises' with the Belle ended up killing him...

The Pavillon de Vendôme in Aix-en-Provence.

- © Rebius / Shutterstock

The Pavillon de Vendôme then passed from hand to hand, becoming in turn an artist's studio, a teaching establishment and a boarding school. It was listed as a historic monument in 1914 and became a public museum in 1990.

Why visit the Pavillon de Vendôme museum?

The first thing that strikes you on arriving at the Pavillon de Vendôme museum is its classical-style architecture. Its main façade is adorned with magnificent Baroque atlatls, mouldings of fruit garlands and a mascaron that looks like the Belle du Canet.

A statue on the façade of the Pavillon de Vendôme.

- © Eric Y Y Chan / Shutterstock

Inside, a colossal double-revolution staircase welcomes visitors, who can then wander through the museum's permanent collection ofworks of art, including portraits, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Pavillon de Vendôme museum also regularly hosts temporary exhibitions of contemporary and modern art, bringing together ancient heritage and contemporary creation.

The gardens of the Pavillon de Vendôme.

- © Marina VN / Shutterstock

Outside, the formal gardens are perfect for a country stroll through history, lulled by the continuous gurgling of the fountains. The gardens cover more than 9,000 square metres and have been reconstructed from 17th-century documents. Every day, the gardeners put their skills to good use in the rose gardens, flower beds and pruned box trees.

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Practical information for the Pavillon de Vendôme museum

The Pavillon de Vendôme, a listed historic monument, is a must-see on your next visit to Aix-en-Provence. You'll have time to tour the majestic building and formal gardens in around an hour's visit.

🚌 How do I get to the Pavillon de Vendôme museum?

The Pavillon de Vendôme is located just outside Aix-en-Provence city centre, a short walk from Place des Cardeurs. The nearest bus stop is Vendôme, served by buses no. 3, no. 5, no. 6, no. 12, no. 13, no. 16 and no. 25.

If you wish to come by car, the Cardeurs car park is nearby.

The Pavillon de Vendôme in Aix-en-Provence.

- © Rebius / Shutterstock

⏰ Opening hours of the Pavillon de Vendôme museum

The Pavillon de Vendôme museum welcomes visitors every day except Tuesday. From mid-April to mid-October, it is open from 10:00 to 12:30 and from 13:30 to 18:00, it closes at 17:00 the rest of the year.

👉 The museum is closed on 24, 25 and 31 December, 1 January and 1 May.

The gardens are open to the public free of charge all year round from 9am, closing times vary according to the season, you can find out more online on the official Aix-en-Provence Tourist Office website.

👉 The gardens are closed in the event of strong winds.

👛 Prices for the Pavillon de Vendôme museum

  • Full price: €3.7
  • Under 26s: free
  • Guided tour: €5.3
  • Aix-en-Provence City Pass: free

For full prices, visit the official Aix-en-Provence Tourist Office website. Tickets and guided tours cannot be booked online. Go directly to the site to buy your ticket.

A few tips for your visit

  • The Pavillon de Vendôme museum is open to the public on the first Sunday of each month.
  • Cash, bank cards and cheques are accepted as methods of payment.
  • The Pavillon de Vendôme sometimes hosts shows and concerts: a must for a unique experience!
  • The Pavillon de Vendôme museum may close for a few days to allow time for a new exhibition to be set up.
by Editorial Team
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