Marcel Pagnol

Marcel Pagnol, an emblem of our Provence


In the footsteps of Marcel Pagnol

You've probably heard of them already, but Pagnol's characters - Marius and Fanny for example - are an intrinsic part of Provence. We're going to talk about Pagnol's life and films and follow in his footsteps through towns such as Aubagne and Marseille.

Let's zoom in on Marcel! Pagnol was born in the town of Aubagne, then left to live with his parents in Marseille, where he studied.
He then travelled up to Paris, where he became a teacher and began writing plays evoking Marseille and his famous character Marius. He later returned to Marseille in the Thirties to set up his own film studio. It was here that Marius came to life in 1931, Fanny in 1932, Angèle in 1934, César in 1936 and The Baker's Wife in 1938… In 1941, he bought up Château de la Buzine in the intention of converting it into a 'Cinema City' – a project that never saw the light of day. He continued shooting films, then fell in love with Monaco, where he set up home in 1951.He began writing his childhood memoirs in 1957 with 'My Father's Glory' and 'My Mother's Castle', both immense successes.
He finally returned to Paris where he spent his latter years.

The native house of Marcel Pagnol

The cards game in the bar of the Marine

In Marseille, Pagnol's best-known films are without a doubt the Marius / Fanny / César trilogy. Everyone knows them off by heart and loves them! When he started writing his first plays in Paris, people said that they would never work, that people with a southern accent would never be accepted in the north and that only people from the south would be able to understand them! But the criticism only served to kindle Marcel's enthusiasm – and luckily so, as his works turned out to be a massive success both in France and overseas!

You can plunge into the atmosphere of some of the most famous scenes from his films by visiting:

-- The Bar de la Marine on the Vieux-Port (Old Port) in Marseille: he works there in 'Marius' and the bar belongs to his father César.

«That's right, just carry on insulting customers instead of improving your skills! Well, this is the last time I show you how to prepare a picon-lemon-curaçao. (He goes behind the counter.) Come here!
(Marius moves forward to watch the operation closely. César grabs a large glass, a decanter and three bottles. While speaking, he prepares the beverage.) First, pour one third of curaçao. Careful: one very small third. Ok. Now, one third of lemon. Slightly bigger. Ok. Then, one GOOD third of Picon. See the colour? See how nice it is? And finally, one BIG third of water. Here you are.»
«And now you have four thirds.»
«Exactly. I hope you got it this time.»
(He drinks a gulp of the mixture).
«There are only three thirds in a glass.»
«But it depends on the size of the third, you idiot!»

Bar de la Marine Pagnol

And here's link to the famous !

The Garlaban. «I was born in the city of Aubagne, under the Garlaban crowned with goats, in the time of the last goatherds.» 'The Glory of my Father'

The 'Bastide Neuve', the house where Marcel Pagnol came to spend its holidays, in the 'Treille' near Marseille

-- The 'Bastide Neuve' is situated in the village of La Treille, in the Garlaban hills: it was here that little Marcel came to spend his holidays. Nearby, 'La Tête Ronde' leads to the 'Taoumé' and Grozibou cave, where Marcel recounts that he and Lili sheltered from a storm on their way back from a hunting expedition – and came across a large owl!

Marcel: «Back then, I was still a little boy, but I'd already met the love of my life: the hills of Provence»
Lili: «Joseph, I've got a funny feeling»
Joseph: «Me too, I've got a funny feeling that we're going to have a fantastic holiday!»

-- In the village of Les Camoins, you will find 'Manon's Fountain' where 'Manon of the Springs' was shot.

«It's not me that's crying, it's my eyes!»

There! Now you know everything about Marcel Pagnol!

«You're not a good for nothing… you're bad at everything!» Marcel Pagnol in 'Le Schpountz'

We find the famous characters of Pagnol in Christmas 'santons'!

Things to do

Marcel Pagnol's House

Marcel Pagnol's House


Ce lieu de 130m² rend hommage à l'académicien. Deux espaces complémentaires sont aménagés: une reconstitution fidèle de l'appartement où est né l'écrivain ainsi qu'une salle d'exposition avec des photographies de famille, des cahiers d'écolier, des lettres manuscrites et autres…

17 April to 01 May
Summer Tour
Guided tour

Summer Tour


Air-conditioned bus tour Discovery of the places so dear to the famous Academician, thanks to this bus tour. Bus tour: My Mother's Castle, The Four Seasons Bar, the typical village of La Treille, Manon's Fountain, The Pascaline House and the Bellons Path... Please notice this tour is only…

Le Petit Monde de Pagnol

Le Petit Monde de Pagnol


The ancient kiosk of Aubagne now shelters the Small World of Marcel Pagnol. Besides a little shop where you will be able many gifts, dealing with Marcel Pagnol and its works, you will discover a typivcal Provencal 'creche', a perfect reproduction of places and characters of the famous writer.…

The entire agenda


Lights, Camera, Action! Provence and the Movies

Read more

Villages of Provence

Read more

Paul Cézanne

Read more
More inspirations