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.