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Chapel of Saint Mitre

Chapelle Saint-Mitre-des-Champs
Chapelle Saint-Mitre-des-Champs

Chapel

The Saint-Mitre-des-Champs chapel is in Aix-en-Provence. It is located in the western district of the same name, which has been greatly urbanised over the past 20 years. The city's patron saint, Saint Mitre, is thought to have worked as a farmhand on the land nearby, along the old Roman road, at the turn of the 4th and 5th centuries.

An oratory was first built for the saint and, in 1657, a chapel was dedicated to him, near today's chapel. The land was donated by Balthazar d'André, Counsellor of Accounts. The Canon Mallet paid for all the construction work, which was supervised by Louis Jaubert. It was finished the same year. "This rural chapel was the last of the religious buildings built in Aix in the 17th century. The layout seems to have been inspired by a Roman temple" (J. Boyer). In the late 17th century, the Saint-Mitre priory became part of the new parish of Saint-Jean-Baptiste-du-Faubourg led by the Christian Doctrine Fathers. After being sold as national property during the Revolution, the building was extended in the 19th century and used as an outbuilding for a neighbouring farm. It is still privately owned.

In the 19th century, a project was launched to build today's chapel, and the architect Huot was commissioned to design it. The date 1865 is written on the spire. For a long time the chapel was associated with and under the jurisdiction of Notre-Dame de la Seds church. For a few years, it also became a parish church.

An association, the Friends of Saint-Mitre Chapel, was set up in 1967 and presided by Emilien Tousche, with the aim of giving new life to the chapel. The association was highly active until 1995. In 2001, with Jean-Luc Galéa as president, the association was revived and plans were made for restorations.

Begun in 2002, restoration work intensified from 2008. Absolute respect for the old building and the preservation of the original aspects of the construction were always a main concern. The work was faciliated and supported by an agreement with the Heritage Foundation.

All the inside walls were decorated with murals in the 19th century. The association aims to preserve them in the best possible condition.

The painting of "The Holy Family" is by an unknown artist from the 19th century. The work was given to Monseigneur de Panafieu, the former archbishop of Aix-en-Provence, by an old Aix family. The painting was completely restored in 2017 with the help of donations.

Mass at 9.30 am on the last Sunday of the month.

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