Sponsored : Explore Martigues, La Ciotat and Istres

Martigues: La Belle Escale

A tourist resort and listed Town of Art and History, the so-called ‘Venice of Provence’ is bathed in the special light that has attracted many great painters and filmmakers over the years.

From the heart of the Côte Bleue to the banks of the Étang de Berre
Martigues has a double coastal façade: on the Mediterranean at the heart of the Blue Coast, and on the Étang de Berre, upon which the town centre and its rich cultural heritage are reflected.

Lively events and town traditions
Numerous markets bring the town to life throughout the year and during the summer period: traditional and fish versions, those showcasing local producers, and those held after dark. Exciting events punctuate the annual calendar too, especially between May and October.

At the heart of unspoilt nature
Lovers of water activities can enjoy beaches and coves, as well as spots ideal for surfing and windsurfing; hikers will be spoilt for choice of coastal trails, vineyard trails and archeological sites.

Must-have experiences:
• A visit to Bouc Fort
• A boat trip on the Côte Bleue and Étang de Berre
• An exploration of the seabed at the Regional Marine Park
• A ride on the Côte Bleue train from Martigues to Marseille

La Ciotat

Gateway to the Calanques National Park, and cradle of film and pétanque
Entry point of the Calanques National Park, La Ciotat has been a classified seaside tourist resort since 1928 and is the birthplace of cinema and pétanque. The beauty of its landscapes, the brightness of its sky and its ever-mild climate make it a great place to vacation.

The Mugel and Figuerolles calanques, and Mugel Park
Admire these two magnificent calanques, whose particularity lies in the nature of the ochre-coloured rock. The ease of access to the coves of La Ciotat is an undeniable asset. Cliff names include Bec de l’Aigle (‘Eagle’s Beak’) and Tête de Chien (‘Dog’s Head’). Above the Calanque du Mugel, a 30 acre botanical park with lush vegetation and many Mediterranean and tropical species, you can access the 260 foot-tall clock tower which boasts a panoramic view of the islands of Marseille.

The Route des Crêtes
Thanks to the many lookout spots along this classified scenic route, you can admire the Bay of La Ciotat and the highest sea cliffs in Europe, whose highest point reaches 1292 feet above sea level.

The Eden Theatre cinema
Visit the world’s oldest fully rehabilitated cinema, which played host to the first ever cinema screening in 1895 by Auguste and Louis Lumière, inventors of the art form.

The Museum of Old La Ciotat
Browse the museum’s 15 exhibition spaces, which retrace the history of the city. Several themes are presented: maritime history, Provençal traditions and customs, and the inventions of cinema and pétanque.

Istres’ attitude

At the crossroads of heritage and modernity, Istres explores all horizons and opens the ‘field of possibilities’ to those who like surprises.
Influenced by Provence, the Camargue and Crau, Istres comes alive all year around with its omnipresent water and astounding natural environment, and rich culture and heritage. Here both young and old, residents and visitors, join together to take part. Istres is creative and charming.

Istres’ Provençal ID card:
5 ponds
1 marina
2 landscaped beaches and many wild coves
France’s tallest water jet, rising to 50 metres
A 4-flower rating for its status as a Town in Bloom (the highest distinction)
45,000 inhabitants
A classified tourist resort

Get the most out of Istres:
Lie on the Romaniquette beach
Flit from the Castellan hill to the flowery gardens of the Étang de l’Olivier
Slither through the old town, past the Portail d’Arles at the Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir church
Scramble around looking for the Vulcanodon at Dinosaur’Istres
Swarm around the ‘Jeudis Étoilés’ (‘Star Thursdays’) at events such as Shepherd’s Day
Prepare to be amazed.