The Pavillon Vendôme is the most attractive folie bequeathed to us by the 17th century. It was built at the request of Louis de Mercoeur, Duke of Vendôme. The grandson of Henry IV and Gabrielle d'Estrées, he was appointed Governer of Provence in 1652.
Legend has it that the prince fell in love with Lucrèce de Forbin Solliès, known as the "Belle du Canet", and had this "folie" built for her.
A series of owners succeeded him. In 1906, Henri Dobler, an enlightened art-lover, bought and restored the Pavillon and obtained official recognition for it. In 1914, the Pavillon de Vendôme became the first building in Aix to be listed as a Historic Monument. Dobler bequeathed the building and collections to the City of Aix, and the site was opened to the public as a museum on 8 July 1954.
The double helix staircase in the Pavillon de Vendôme is one of the finest of the Aix series and dates from the early 18th century. It combines a harmonious structure with grandiose decoration. The cast-iron handrail and the plasterwork, garlands, putti and eagle sculptures combine to produce a majestic Baroque effect.
The immense French-style garden has been listed among the Historic Monuments since 1953.
The Pavillon de Vendôme Museum collection is made up of works from the 17th until the early 21st century, including an important group of graphic art works. It regularly hosts contemporary art exhibitions, helping to develop a dialogue between cultural heritage and contemporary creation.
The museum is listed as a historic monument.