This grid-pattern district was designed in the 17th century by Archbishop Mazarin, the Cardinal's brother. It was a "luxury housing estate" for members of Parliament and the bourgeoisie of the period, arranged around two main roads: rue Cardinale and rue du 4 Septembre.
Rue Cardinale: its name still recalls Archbishop Mazarin, who became a Cardinal. Its magnificent private mansions make it one of Aix's most attractive streets.
It crosses place de la fontaine des Quatre Dauphins the fountain dates from 1667 and was created by the sculptor Jean-Claude Rambot. Its circular basin is made of Sainte Beaume stone. Its four dolphins rest on waves with their fins raised, supporting the obelisk topped with pine cone, and illustrate the Baroque art that was so popular with Aix's nobility. The Mignet College where Paul Cezanne, Emile Zola, Darius Milhaud and many others have studied is also located in this street!
Rue Cardinale leads to the Church of Saint Jean de Malte and the Granet Museum.
The Church of Saint Jean de Malte stood on open ground before the construction of the Mazarin district it was the church of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (the future Order of Malta), established in Aix in the middle of the 12th century. It is designed in the Provençal Gothic style and has, above its nave, a 16th-century bell tower 67 metres high with an arrow at its top at sunset, its tapering proportions evoke the shape of a minaret. Next to the church is the Granet Museum, the city's art gallery.
The second thoroughfare of this district is rue du Quatre Septembre. This was the first street built when the city was enlarged. Mazarin named it rue Saint-Sauveur, after his church in Paris, but the locals called it rue des Quatre Dauphins, after the square it crossed.
In this street is the Arbaud Museum, named after its founder. In 1910 this erudite man bequeathed to the city of Aix one of the largest existing collections of Provençal pottery, and a large number of manuscripts and paintings. The Museum houses a regional library (closed for an indefinite period).
In the district ... rue Joseph Cabassol with Hôtel de Caumont built between 1715 and 1742 under the guidance of Georges Vallon for the Marquis of Cabanes, President of the Court of Auditors. It is now the Centre d'Art.
The district is crossed by Rue d'Italie, the oldest street in Aix, since it follows the route of the Aurelian Way where it entered the Roman colony.