Off the beaten tracks
A free afternoon is all you need to discover the very best of Istres. After a delicious lunch at La Table de Sébastien, potter about Istres' historic and typically Provençal old town. A visit to Saint-Sulpice Chapel and the Centre d'Art Contemporain will get you in the artistic mood. While a leisurely stroll around the Jardins de l’Étang is the perfect end to the day. We guarantee you'll leave a little piece of your heart in this fortified town!
Simple refinement at La Table de Sébastien
Le N°7 By Gaëlle & Sylvain 7 avenue Hélène Boucher 13800 Istres
After a well-deserved lie in, make your way to La Table de Sébastien. When you see its stone building and the leafy canopy over the courtyard, you already know you're in for a treat. Get there early to make sure you find a table in these beautiful surroundings. The chef Sylvain Devaux skilfully transforms excellent local produce such as Crau lamb into sublime dishes. No surprises then that this establishment is listed in the Michelin Guide!
Visit to the pretty Saint-Sulpice Chapel
Chapelle Saint-Sulpice Chemin De Tivoli 13800 Istres
Next on the list, just a short walk from the town centre, is the quaint Saint-Sulpice Chapel which looks out over Olivier lagoon and affords a stunning panorama all around. The chapel was built in an unadulterated Romanesque style. It is one of the oldest churches in the region. Today, the chapel is embracing the world of contemporary art by hosting a programme of exhibitions all though the year. Don't leave without enjoying a peaceful walk in the Mediterranean garden which surrounds the chapel.
The Centre d'art contemporain: long live the arts!
Centre d'Art Contemporain 2 rue Alphonse Daudet 13800 Istres
Onwards now to the Centre d’Art Contemporain, established in a magnificent 18th century town house in the historic district. Opened in 1993, it puts on three exhibitions a year and supports today's new artists. Its mission is to promote contemporary art and distribute it by working with international partners and to educate younger visitors. Free admission.
A tour of the old town: Provence condensed
Office de Tourisme d'Istres 30 allée Jean Jaurès 13800 Istres
In the second half of the afternoon, you can take a tour around the heart of the once-fortified town of Istres. You'll discover a typically Provençal village centre whose sights include the famous dragon fountain on Place des Bourras, the gate of Arles and the ruins of an ancient kiln. If you enjoy walking, then go by foot to the belvedere next to which sits Notre-Dame de Beauvoir, a 12th century church. Guided tours available.
A stroll around the Mediterranean gardens
Parc Sainte-Catherine 1 esplanade Bernardin laugier 13800 Istres
To conclude your tour of Istres, the Jardins de l’Étang, gardens flourishing with Provençal flora around a lake, are just an hour or two away by foot . Green-fingered visitors are well catered for with some 100 different species to admire. Once you're on the Castellan hill, cool down after your exertion beside the water jet that shoots 50 metres into the air.
- Following the Sentiers de l’eau (water trails) on a guided tour (through the town and along the shore)
- Making the most of the golden sandy beaches with the whole family
- Playing sailors on a solar-powered boat on the Olivier lagoon
The lovely lived-in charm in the historic heart of Provence
The best time to visit
- July and August for the summer festivals and firework shows on the banks of Olivier lagoon.
- Late August to watch the final of the Provence jousting championships in Istres
- Early November to tuck into the wine and gastronomy fair
Off the beaten tracks
All year round
Discover other itineraries
FESTIVAL D'AIX ITINERARY
The Aix-en-Provence Festival is one of the cultural highlights of summer in Provence. The festivities kick off with AIX EN JUIN – the prelude to the Festival d'Aix– and continue until July 22nd. If you want to enjoy the festival to the full, the PASS offers access to all of the AIX EN JUIN public events, together with reduced rates during the Festival itself. Headlining a packed programme of exciting concerts and master classes, this is a wonderful way to get a whole new angle on Aix-en-Provence...
This tour is designed to help you get to know the capital of Bouches-du-Rhône and European Capital of Culture 2013 inside and out. First, pay a quick visit to the 'Bonne Mère', as the locals familiarly refer to the basilica which watches over the city. Next go and listen to the city's beating heart, the Old Port, and while you're there stop for lunch at Chez Madie. Then head to Panier, the city's old town that is home to a vibrant community today. Afterwards, rest your weary limbs a while in the courtyard of the majestic Vieille Charité cultural centre. Once rested, make your way to the MuCEM, one of the city's cultural landmarks, before taking in the sights of the surrounding calanques.If you love being on the water, then this part of the tour is for you!
Traditions, lifestyle, mediterranean cuisine
Celebrating Christmas in Provence with the Thirteen Desserts...
A story that will make you turn to jelly...
As yellow as sunshine and as warm as a winter fireplace... The quince isn't very pretty, but the people of Provence love it. You could even say that a passion has been born between this irregular-shaped fruit, somewhat resembling a dented, rustic pear and our lovers of jams, jellies and pastes.
Provence "à la mode"