Three Elms Fountain

Fontaine des Trois Ormeaux


In 1524 Constable Bourbon, leading the troops of Charles V, arrived in procession to take the key of the city from the provost Honoré de Puget. Bourbon's procession was to be acclaimed by the crowd, but when the provost asked a Provençal peasant to shout "Long Live Bourbon!" he refused.

Three elms stood there, all of them shading a small well, and the peasant was hanged on one of them. It is said that the elm died within a year.

The Three Elms Fountain, built over the well in 1632 after various earlier structures had been destroyed, is surrounded by three tall trees which protect the square from the sun and keep the water cool.

As the fountain bears this name, it is likely that the trees in question were elms however, a disease destroyed these trees in the 19th century, and they were replaced first by plane trees and then by maples.

The fountain was recently renovated, but its shape and decoration remain unchanged.

It stands on an octagonal basin and has an elegant pedestal supporting a cylindrical block, a vase of Calissanne and Bibémus stone, decorated with vine leaves and flowers, with a superb cluster of grapes at its top.

The basin is thick and high, and passers-by can sit there and rest, listening to the music of the water flowing from the four outlet pipes.

The Three Elms Fountain has stood the test of time with its modest and simple beauty.

The focus of the square is the fountain, and on three sides the houses seem to withdraw, leaving us in the enchantment of the majestic trees and the sound of the water.