Not far from the Cathedral Saint-Sauveur, there is one of the most beautiful private mansions of Aix-en-Provence, the hotel Estienne de Saint-Jean, which dates from the XVIIth century. Nowadays it shelters the city's history and heritage museum. Its architecture, its decoration (much of which is original) as well as its rich collections deserve the detour.
Pushing its doors is to enter directly into the Grand Siècle - by the way a statue of Louis XIV welcomes you from the hall. Admire the iron work of the staircase leading to the floor of the temporary exhibitions, as well as the dome of the boudoir, with its decor of putti (angels) and flowers.
The museum of Vieil Aix brings together heterogenous collections, they are the witnesses of life and traditions of the inhabitants of the Aix: furniture, faience, thus santons bring happiness to the visitors. One of the most endearing works is undoubtedly the "talking nativity", which depicts the Nativity using articulated puppets, in period costumes (first half of the 19th century). Admire also the characters of the Feast God, which is a very ancient celebration of the city, whose tradition goes back to the thirteenth century! These festivities were immortalized on a beautiful screen of the eighteenth century, also exhibited: we see the ceremonies, parades and other manifestations of this event dear to the Aixois.
The Estienne de Saint-Jean Hotel has shelterd the Musée du Vieil Aix, but it has nevertheless entered fully into the 21st century by offering state-of-the-art technologies to facilitate the visit. In your vestibule, you will find digital touch screens that will allow you to discover its collections, but also to compose you a tour of the different museums of the city.
Located in one of the oldest and most authentic districts of the city (Bourg Saint-Sauveur), and a stone's throw from one of its proudest symbols (the Cathedral of Saint-Sauveur) A must for those who want to understand the life and traditions of this very attractive town of Aix-en-Provence.