Step back in time Hotel de Caumont in Aix
You can almost hear the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves maneuvering their master’s carriages on the cobblestones. Glance through the majestic iron gates into the cour d’honneur at l’Hôtel de Caumont and let the elegant limestone façade transport you to another era. The grand entrance was unique even in the chic Quartier Mazarin in Aix-en-Provence.
On property previously owned by l’Eglise de St Jean de Malte, the first stone was laid for the foundation of the regal dwelling, on April 4, 1715. François Rolland de Réauville commissioned a residence appropriate to his ranking as the second president of la Cour des Comptes d’Aix-en-Provence.
This address eventually became known as Hôtel de Caumont.
Hôtel de Caumont built in a Baroque style had no equivalent in Aix-en-Provence. It was the largest private property, the only residence with both a gala entranceway (mentioned above) and a Versailles-style private garden. Hôtel de Caumont pays homage to the legacy M. Réauville constructed, with his cursive initials “RR” found throughout the property and his family’s coat of arms on the facade.
On May 6, 2015, the Hôtel de Caumont was reincarnated as a public art centre as part of the Culturespaces portfolio. The inaugural exhibit is Canaletto: Rome, London, Venice the Triumph of Light. It is the first time that the artist’s work has been brought together into a comprehensive show.
The doors to the Caumont Centre d’Art opened after a 26.6 million Euros (10 million for land acquisition and 12.6 million for construction) and an 18-month restoration project. The attention to detail and historical relevance are unmistakable in each of the rooms refurbished under the direction of Mireille Pellen (Achitecte du Patrimonie).
Visit Mme Caumont’s bedroom and you get the impression that she will return at any moment. Relax with a meal in le Café Caumont in sitting rooms decorated to suit the époque. Take a moment to enjoy in the garden, redesigned with plants that would have existed in the 1720s.
Mostly, revel in the fabulous craftsmanship and careful research required to return this noble mansion back to its former glory.
Details for your visit:
Address: 3, rue Joseph Cabassol 13100 Aix-en-Provence
Hours: Open daily. From May to September : 10 a.m to 7 p.m. // from October to April : 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Late night opening on Tuesday until 9.30 p.m during exhibitions.
Le Café Caumont is open daily from 11:30 they do not take reservations
Lounge Bar Caumont for light bites and drinks is open until 23h
Image Credits: All images (except the garden photo) were provided by and published with the permission of Culturespaces.