Martigues in Provence July 04 2018, 0 Comments

This month we are discovering the village of Martigues in Provence, often called the Venice of Provence. You can easily reach Martigues from Marseille, (15 Miles) which is near Marseille’s airport (15 min driving). The town is located at the entrance of Etang de Berre. The downtown is divided in three areas : Ferrières , île Brescon (Island Brescon), and Jonquières. Canals are running through the island. 

Martigues is a very pleasant town, water is everywhere around you as you walk the city, as you eat a plater of seafood just pluked out of the sea. The many  canals coupled with colourful façades make this town stunning and unique in Provence! 

This seaport is a must stop and deserves its nickname of the Venice of Provence. So, let Calisson by Gilles brings you to Martigues.


A bucolic way to reach Martigues is to take the train of La Côte Bleue. 

From Marseille, this little train which follows the Côte Bleue is certainly the most memorable way to reach Martigues. The sceneries from the train are stunning and you will fully enjoy it. The train makes stops on picturesque little ports such as l’Estaque, Calanque of Niolon, Sausset les Pins, Carry le Rouet. 




Cultural heritage

Martigues is a quiet town with a strong heritage. You will be surprised to see such jewels. Calisson by Gilles will detail the must see attractions, the artistic legacy that can be felt all over the city. The water mingling with houses and tiny pedestrian streets gives Martigues such a feeling of peace. It is so appreciable when you are in South of France. 

Annonciade Chapel 

Calisson by Gilles strongly recommends the visit of the Annonciade Chapel. The building is listed as a Historic Monument. The architecture is Baroque and the paintings within the Chapel are sumptuous with stunning optical illusion.

Fort de Bouc 

Fort de Bouc was built in the Middle Ages to control the sea traffic between the gulf of Fos and the Berre lagoon. Its imposing fortification is still standing and you can visit it. 

For more information about visit hours, check the website of the tourism office of Martigues. The guided tours are opened only  during summer time and only accessible by boat. 

Ziem Museum

The Félix Ziem museum enjoys a nice reputation in Martigues and is worth the visit. Félix Ziem was a French painter of the 19th century who gave a major contribution to the city of Martigues through his works. 

You can gaze his representations of Venice (Italy), Constantinople (Turkey) and other Provençal landscapes. You will discover a traditional Mediterranean sailing boat named “Tartanes” in Provencal dialect. 


Retrace the footsteps of Caesar

A free history path gives you the opportunity to discover the ancient sites of Martigues. It starts from the old town and reaches the Côte Bleue while highlighting archeological sites. 

Among them: the site of Tholon where the vestiges of a Gallo-Roman agglomeration remains; the chapel St Julien les Martigues and the quarries of Baou where the colourful pink stone was used to build numerous monuments of Marseille. 


How to have a good time in Martigues?

Calisson by Gilles gives you some tips.

The park of Figuerolles 

The Park of Figuerolles is the lung of the city of Martigues and is ideal for family fun. 

Many activities are possible: joging, pony rides for the kids, mountain bike, little train ride or a stroll via ferrata. The park has also a teaching farm and a botanical trail to discover Mediterranean natural plants. 



The beaches of Martigues 

The town of Martigues has beautiful beaches which figures among the best of the Côte Bleue: the beach of Verdon, Carro, Sainte Croix and many others. Most of them are awarded each year for the quality of the water. These beaches are very popular during the summer so we advise to wake up early and go there in the morning or late afternoon. 


Have a stroll in Martigues

The best way to enjoy Martigues is to walk and most particularly on its island. Take your time strolling between the picturesque tiny streets with colorful façades. The island of Martigues is quiet, peaceful and bucolic.

You can also walk along the little sea port where fisher boats are moored, giving to the place the real purpose of the island. Continue your walk by going down to the end of the island. It offers a splendid panorama on the sea which is dominated by the viaduct highway, a kind of Golden Gate Bridge made in Provence. 


After a stroll along the canal, you can book a table in one of the numerous restaurants. The restaurant called Bouchon à la Mer has earned its place within the famous Michelin Guide. The plates are generous with fresh and seasonal  products. Wherever you are eating the decor is very pleasant with a stunning view of the Canal of Martigues; an unforgettable experience! 

The perfect after dinner walk is to reach le Mirroir aux Oiseaux (Bird’s Mirror), a lovely little spot whose reflective waters inspired many great masters. You will be instantly charmed and it is the best moment to enjoy our delicious Calisson by Gilles. 

The atmosphere of this moment coupled with the Provençal way of life is clearly reflected in our delicacy. After that you will be able to pick up some pictures and selfies of the fishermen's cottages reflecting in the canal.

What a great souvenir!



About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.