Near the town of Aix-en-Provence, rising out of the landscape, you will find the Aqueduc-de-Roquefavour. While on an outing to see the town of Ventabren, we happened upon it.

Even though I lived in Aix-en-Provence for two years and the aqueduct is situated only about 15 kilometers from there, I never knew of its existence.

It was built between the years of 1840-1847 by a young engineer named Franz Mayor de Montricher. The reason for its construction was that the surrounding area (mostly Marseille) which was continuing to grow at a rapid rate was having trouble getting access to fresh, clean water. They needed some way to bring the fresh waters of the Durance to the town. An epidemic of cholera a few years before construction began was a major pushing point in getting the aqueduct built.

It measures 393 meters long and 82 meters high and is comprised of 3 layers of arches. There were around 5000 workers who contributed to its construction. Today it is classified as an historical monument.

To see the aqueduct up close, you can park your car just under the railroad bridge and there you will find access to some steep and narrow steps. Once at the top of the stone steps there is a path just up to the left of the aqueduct. The climb up this rocky path is pretty steep but it gives you access to the next level on which you can stand and see a wonderful view of the surrounding area. Unfortunately, the entrances to go under the arches are now gated and you can’t pass through to walk across, but you can still walk around the area to see different views of it. If you’re like me, you will love getting up close to be able to touch it.

It is in near perfect condition and looks as if it were built recently (except for the architectural style). It is definitely worth a stop if you are on your way to one of the surrounding villages.

We enjoyed a lovely afternoon there and were blessed with great weather, as well.


About backyardprovence

I was finally able to realized my dream of living in France when I moved here in 2010. I love to read,I love history and road trips. I want to be doing anything outside in the fresh air. I want to have an entire room devoted to a personal library.

Posted on April 30, 2012, in Bon Voyage! and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. You find the most interesting places in France. I would want to get up close and touch them too. There’s just something about putting your hand on the places touched by other generations that almost transports you through time.

    • The best finds Renee, are the ones you happen upon just like this one. I love driving around and just ‘finding’ things. It’s this feeling of great discovery that you get and then the whole time your there you’re just dying to know the story of it. It gives me chills! I swear my hand prints have been all over the place here 🙂

  2. It is remarkably well preserved. Although I have spent quite a bit of time in that area, I have never heard about this acqueduct either. I will keep my eye out for it the next time we are traveling around that area too. Thanks for sharing.

    • Your welcome, Michel. Let me know if you are able to make it higher than the first row of arches. I really wanted to hike up higher but didn’t have my good hiking shoes that day (now they are always in the car). I didn’t dare venture farther up, but I would have like to. The view is probably amazing!

  3. Love this spot, gorgeous in summer when its baking hot elsewhere, always cool next to the large rockface. And Ventabren, lovely place to bring visitors – did you find the cafe, childrens play area on the hilltop plateau run by an American lady?

    • Ahhhhh! I missed the cafe, Claire! It was a Sunday, late afternoon, and turned a bit colder by the time we made it to Ventabren (especially on top of the hill). We saw the ruins (and the amazing view) and walked around the town for a bit, but everything was closed and no one was out. Bummer. Now that I know, I must go back!

  4. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    This was precious to read. I greatly envy your travels. Work tomorrow, sighhhhh. But well done to you, whatever you did in your life to make this possible. The way you described it, I could so picture it. Beautiful 🙂 /

    • Thank you very much for reading and your kind words. This was all made possible by sheer will power and a bit of luck and a ton of hard work (YEARS in the making), but mostly just sheer power of will to want it. I treasure each day I am here, even the bad ones when I am complaining! Those complaining days are still days to treasure and since I never know how long this will last, I make sure to make it count 🙂

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