17 – The Gailles well and its washing place



The well is in the Venelles farming plain, along the « Pinchinats » road.

The well belonged to the town, and the water could be used by all the population, especially local families who regularly came to the washing place. The water was considered « cool and pure » and attracted inhabitants from Aix, who came in large numbers to fill up large reserve bottles.

The well’s architecture

The well is designed as a quadrangular stone structure.

It is open to the prevailing winds. A red tile roof protects it from rain, evaporation and dirt.

Rubble stone masonry was a cheap building method, using stones found in the fields. The joints were made with mortar from clay, sand and quicklime.

Water distribution

A handle fixed to the wall of the well operated the water dispenser, then a cast-iron wheel was used to bring the water to the surface.

The water then flowed through two iron pipes: one to directly fill up the buckets and the other to supply the washing place behind the well.

The washing place

The first basin had two water tanks. Above them was a marble plaque and a sloping surface. The water flowed into a second rimmed basin.

The washing place was mainly used by washerwomen on big washing days.

Photo du puits des Gailles