Before Cours des Carrosses (Mirabeau) was built, place des Prêcheurs was the busiest thoroughfare in Aix en Provence. All day long merchants sold their wares, actors played out their roles, and chivalrous tournaments were held there. It deserved a majestic monument.
Jean Chastel, the renowned master sculptor, built the fountain in 1757.
The fountain consists of a narrow, square, low-rimmed basin. In the centre is an impressive pedestal decorated with draperies.
The water, flowing from large inverted shells, used to come from the Pinchinats spring.
At its centre stands a magnificent obelisk made of Calissanne stone, supporting, at its top, a sphere surmounted by a white eagle spreading its wings. The eagle was imposed on Chastel during the project it symbolises reason and looks daggers at the place where the city's scaffold stood at the time.
Criminals breathing their last, at the mercy of the law incarnated by the Eagle perched so high on the obelisk that it can hardly be seen, give the statue an allegorical importance that goes beyond the art and physical usefulness of ordinary fountains.
Four lions positioned on the corners of the pedestal guard the portraits of important characters of the time. On the north side is Louis XVIII aged 5, Count of Provence on the east is Sextius Calvinus, the founder of Aix en Provence on the south is Louis XV, King of France and on the west is Charles III of Maine