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Texte tiré du livre : Notre Provence (7 Mo) by F. Garrigue et A. Vérola

French Provence

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New misfortunes rebirth Provence under Louis XIII
The absolute monarchy Administration of Provence in 1789


The meeting of Provence to the kingdom of France does not mark the end of its misfortunes. Under the reign of François Ier, it is invaded by the Imperial ones. One needs the heroic resistance of Marseilles to push back them (1524). A few years after (1536), Charles-Quint undertakes a new invasion. Provençaux destroy all that can be used to the invader; Too weak Aix judged to defend oneself is entirely evacuated. Courroucé to find only ruins, Charles-Quint engages a fight without mercy. After heavy losses, its army enters Aix desert. But it manages to take neither Marseilles nor Arles. Its famished soldiers give up it. It must evacuate the conquered territory. The country is free, but ruined. The wars of religion start then with persecutions of Marie de Médicis. Protestants and catholics compete of cruelty. At that time, the plague exists in an endemic state, with time with other some strong epidemics as that of 1580 which costs the life to 20.000 Marseillais.

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The Rebirth which has a so happy influence on arts in France and Italy does not pass without Provence taking part in it. If we will visit the Masséna museum, in Nice, we will see there an exposure of religious tables of Louis Bréa and Duranti which one compares to the Italian great painters. In Turn-of Acute, Gordes, in Saint-Didier, in Lourmarin, one can still see castles which date from the time. The first printing works is founded in Marseilles in 1594. The literary movement is more important. The jurisconsults Oppède, François de Vauvenargues write in Latin. Poets write into of Provence: Bellaudière In Aix, Coye With Arles, Pelabon In Toulon, Large In Marseilles. The king requires that all the administrative texts be written in French: the magistrates and the noble ones speak French, and it is in French that Vincent Leblanc tells his extraordinary adventures and his voyages.

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As of the death of Henri IV, the cities of Provence lend oath to Louis XIII. Richelieu does not like the spirit of independence. The existence of a great number of free cities worries it. It wants to strengthen the royal authority with their costs and to create new taxes. Joined together in Valensole, the communities send a delegation to the court which accomodates it badly. Then the revolt of the "Cascavéù bursts", thus called because each insurrectionist carries a grelot attached by a white ribbon to his hat. Overcome, the insurrectionists however preserve their privileges and Aix his Parliament. In 1636, the Spaniards take the islands of Lérins from where they are driven out one year after, thanks to the valiancy of Provençaux. This devotion does not change the feelings of Richelieu with regard to Provence. It removes little by little its freedoms to them. The Parliament of Aix must undergo the presence of a second Parliament, elected by the king: the six-month period. They control alternatively six months per annum. Dissatisfaction goes until the revolt: it is the "war of the six-month period".

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Under the Sling, the Parliament of Aix puts at price the head of the cardinal of Mazarin. Here, the Slingers are called the "Sabreurs", because their chief always says: "I will sabre you". The Sling particularly disturbs Marseilles, Aix and Draguignan In 1658, Marseilles with which one wants to remove his municipal freedoms is raised, under the control of Gaspard de Glandevès-Niozelles. The crushed revolt, Niozelles is convened in front of Louis XIV to be excused. It refuses to kneel and to be discovered, in front of the monarch. Its house is shaven and it flees. It is the last hero of independence of Provence. Mazarin benefits from it to persecute the city: it disarms it and removes all its old freedoms. To prevent it from starting again, it makes build strong the Saint Nicolas's Day and, later, strong Midsummer's Day which dominate the city. Louis XIV does not leave any freedom with the provinces, the particular history of Provence finishes there. From now on, its grounds are confused with the others, its laws are the French laws and its history is closely related to that of France. During the war of succession of Spain, the English, wanting to destroy our first wearing of war, besiege Toulon. Defended by the marshals of Villars and Tessé, the city is saved. With the treaty of Utrecht (1713), France obtains Barcelonnette. The winter of 1709 is so hard that the fruit trees perish and that the olive-trees freeze. During the "Century of Louis XIV", the Marseillais Pierre Puget is one of largest French artists the. With the time painter, sculptor, architect, it is not let influence by the Parisian modes and its work is really personal. It creates in Marseilles the districts of Canebière. The city would become most beautiful of the time if its plans were entirely carried out. The woodcarving, then extremely appreciated, us left masterpieces in the churches of Cogolin and Saint-Maximin. The first years of the reign of Louis XV are remembered by the terrible plague of 1720. During the war of succession of Austria, 40.000 Austrians and Piémontais cross the VAr and approach Antibes after having plundered Grasse. The marshal of Beautiful-Isle their fact of passing by again the VAr. They leave behind them a true desert: the wells are filled, destroyed harvests, the cut olive-trees. On sea, the baillif de Suffren puts in failure the powerful English fleet. He is the largest French sailor of the time.

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Since the return of Provence to France, it knew to keep its particularism: after a fashion our old constitution remained. Each community, almost independent, is directed by an elected council. The country, divided of 22 vigueries, is controlled by the formed States of the representatives of the Nobility, the Clergy and the Third. They meet in Aix and vote a contribution for the government of Paris. Such is the essence of the Constitution of Provence that the kings of France unceasingly try to destroy and that the revolutionary assemblies soon will abolish.