With its grand staircase, medieval arches and 17th century wings enclosing an almost square space, the courtyard of the former archbishop’s palace in Aix is a jewel in the architectural crown of Aix-en-Provence and one of the locations that most memorably evokes the past of its historic centre. It was made into a theatre in 1948 and is now the venue most closely associated with the Festival.
It was last refurbished in 1998, when the facades were restored and work was undertaken to create a special relationship between stage and audience. Every summer, the Théâtre de l’Archevêché exudes a magical atmosphere, which François Mauriac described as reminiscent of “Don Juan among the stars”.
Located close to the Saint-Sauveur Cathedral, opposite the Théâtre de l’Archevêché, the Hôtel Maynier d’Oppède takes its name from an old family of magistrates. A double entrance door, sculpted in the style of the first half of the reign of Louis XV, opens onto a shaded courtyard that provides, un June and July, an ideal venue for the summer evening concerts and recitals, in particular those of the Académie.
This is where Louis XIV used to play ‘la paume’ – an early type of indoor tennis in 1660. Converted into a theatre during the following century, it is one of the last surviving examples – together with the Théâtre de la Reine in Versailles – of an 18th century Italian-style auditorium. Its plush red velvet décor makes it an ideal venue for intimate operas, contemporary creations, recitals or chamber music concerts.
The Darius Milhaud Conservatoire (CRR) lies at the very heart of the Aix cultural centre. It was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and inaugurated in 2013. His Campra auditorium, crafted mainly out of wood, boasts a 240 m² stage, can accommodate an audience of 500 people, and with great accoustics.
Designed by Vittorio Gregotti, this theatre was inaugurated in July 2007 by the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence with a performance of Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre. Its entirely curved volume encloses a seating capacity of 1,350, some 950 of which are in the stalls. The theatre is situated in the area between the new town and the historic centre of Aix.