Parlement de Provence
(1501-1785)

Closed aged c. 284

A parlement (French pronunciation: [paʁləmɑ̃] ) was a provincial appellate court in the France of the Ancien Régime, i.e. before the French Revolution. In 1789 13 parlements existed, the most important of which was by far the Parlement of Paris. While English word parliament derives from this French term, parlements were not legislative bodies. They consisted of a dozen or more appellate judges, or about 1,100 judges nationwide. They were the court of final appeal of the judicial system, and typically wielded much power over a wide range of subject matter, particularly taxation. Laws and edicts issued by the Crown were not official in their respective jurisdictions until the parlements gave their assent by publishing them. The members were aristocrats called nobles of the gown who had bought or inherited their offices, and were independent of the King. From 1770 to 1774 the Lord Chancellor, Maupeou, tried to abolish the Parlement of Paris in order to strengthen the Crown; however, when King Louis XV died in 1774, the parlements were reinstated. The parlements spearheaded the aristocracy's resistance to the absolutism and centralization of the Crown, but they worked primarily for the benefit of their own class, the French nobility. Alfred Cobban argues that the parlements were the chief obstacles to any reform before the Revolution, as well as the most formidable enemies of the French Crown. He concludes that the "Parlement of Paris, though no more in fact than a small, selfish, proud and venal oligarchy, regarded itself, and was regarded by public opinion, as the guardian of the constitutional liberties of France." In November 1789, early in the French Revolution, all parlements were suspended, and they were formally abolished in September 1790.

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Commemorated on 2 plaques

Elliott Brown on Flickr
Elliott Brown on Flickr

Palais de Justice La destruction en 1785 du palais comtal, vétuste, imposait la construction d'un palais de justice. Commencé en 1787 sur en projet grandiose de Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, il fut terminé entre 1822 à 1833 par l'architecte Michel Penchaud, sur un plan bien plus modeste. C'est que la Révolution et l'Empire avaient ramené Aix, capitale de la Provence, au rang de simple sous-préfecture. Le bâtiment final est précédé d'un portique hypostyle (sur colonnes) qui domine les statues de Portalis et de Siméon. Le premier, juriste né au Beausset avocat, participa à l'élaboration du Code civil, rédigea les articles organiques du Concordat et fut ministre des Cultes de Napoléon (Académie française, 1803). Le second, comte Siméon, juriste, fut ministre de Louis XVIII et membre de l'Institut. L'exercise du pouvoir judiciaire, d'abord par les Comtes de Provence dans leur cour , puis par le Parlement de Provence dans ses Chambres, enfin par les Magistrats au sein du Palais de Justice, fut et demeure un aspect essentiel de la vie d'Aix.

English translation: Palace of Justice The destruction in 1785 of the old Comtal Palace required the construction of a courthouse. Started in 1787 on a grand project by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, it was completed between 1822 and 1833 by architect Michel Penchaud, on a much more modest level. The Revolution and the Empire had brought Aix, the capital of Provence, to the rank of a mere sub-prefecture. The final building is preceded by a hypostyl portico (on columns) that dominates the statues of Portalis and Simeon. The first, a lawyer born at the Beausset lawyer, participated in the drafting of the Civil Code, drafted the organic articles of the Concordat and was minister of the Cults of Napoleon (Académie française, 1803). The second, Count Siméon, a lawyer, was minister of Louis XVIII and a member of the Institute. The exercise of judicial power, first by the Counts of Provence in their courtyard, then by the Parliament of Provence in its Chambers, and finally by the Magistrates in the Palais de Justice, was and remains an essential aspect of Aix's life. [AWS Translate]

Le Palais de Justice, Place de Verdun, Aix-en-Provence, France where it sited

Palais des Comtes de Provence Ici se dressait jusqu'en 1785 le palais des Comtes de Provence. Remarquable témoignage des temps, il reliait l'Antique et la Renaissance dans un complexe assemlage architectural. Le palais était solidement assis sur les deux tours romaines de la Voie Aurélienne menant à Rome (aujourd'hui rue d'Italie). Le Moyen Age les comtes de Provence et leur ville. Le Roi René, au milieu 15e siècle y adjoint un corps de bâtiment dont la façade présentait un agencement symétrique, ouvert d'une galerie, et dont la haute toiture aux tuiles vernissées lui était inspirée peut-étre de l'Anjou. Les comtes de Provence y étaient entourés de leur cour et de leurs administrations. Elles y furent remplacées par le Parlement de Provence et ses aprés le rattachement de la Provence à la France en 1481.

English translation: Palace of the Counts of Provence Here stood until 1785 the Palace of the Counts of Provence. Remarkable testimony of time, he connected the Antique and the Renaissance in an architectural complex. The palace was firmly seated on the two Roman towers of the Aurelian Way leading to Rome (now rue d'Italie). The Middle Ages the Counts of Provence and their city. King René, in the middle of the 15th century, added a building body with a symmetrical façade, opened by a gallery, and whose high roof with varnished tiles was perhaps inspired by the Anjou. The Counts of Provence were surrounded by their court and administrations. They were replaced there by the Parliament of Provence and its successor to France in 1481. [AWS Translate]

Place de Verdun - Rue de Mondar, Aix-en-Provence, France where it sited