Essential Martigues

Off the beaten tracks

Your tour of Martigues is designed for lazy contemplation and new discoveries. It's a quiet town so you might be surprised to see such rich heritage there, from the Annonciade Chapel to Fort Bouc and the Ziem Museum. The 'Venice of Provence' has a strong artistic legacy and you won't fail to be enchanted by the legendary 'Miroir aux Oiseaux', the place that gave so much inspiration to great masters. All rounded off with a gourmet meal on the canal side, what more could you want?

Guided tour of Annonciade Chapel

Boulevard Richaud 13500 Martigues

Start your day with a visit to Annonciade des Pénitents Blancs Chapel. Listed as an Historic Monument, this Baroque-style chapel boasts sumptuous décor featuring trompe-l’œil paintings, a gilded reredo and a Venetian ceiling. While you're there, visit the 17th century church of Saint-Genest whose façade includes the statue of the founder of the Order of the Saint John (Ordre de Malte).

Musing at Quai Brescon or the 'Miroir aux Oiseaux'

Quai Brescon 13500 Martigues

The perfect after-dinner stroll, head to the Miroir aux Oiseaux, a lovely little spot whose reflective waters inspired so many painters. Just like Delacroix, Ziem or Dufy, you'll be instantly charmed by its colourful façades and shrubbery once filled with birds. You won't be able to resist taking souvenir photos of the fishermen's cottages reflected in the canal.

The Musée Ziem: from Orientalism to archaeology

Boulevard Du 14 juillet 13500 Martigues

Ready for some culture? Then step inside the Félix Ziem museum, named after the major contributor to Martigues' most important arts centre. See works produced by this artist who defies classification at temporary exhibitions and permanent collections on show. With his representations of Constantinople, Venice and other Provençal tartanes (a Mediterranean sailing boat), Ziem bathed his canvases in a particular light that captures and holds the regard. Also to see: the top floor dedicated to archaeological digs in Martigues.

Visit to Fort de Bouc, the guardian of the sea

Chemin De la Jetée 13500 Martigues

To conclude your visit of Martigues, set sail for Fort de Bouc. Built during the Middle Ages to defend the passage between Fos Gulf and Berre lagoon, this imposing fortification with its pink limestone walls sits at the mouth of the Caronte channel. Accessed by boat, guided tours available in summer only (2.5 hours in total).

Can't-miss experiences

  • Sunbathing with the locals on the patrolled Verdon beach, a beautiful stretch of fine sand awarded a Blue Flag
  • Spending time with the family in the huge Parc de Figuerolles, in the north of the town
  • Catching the train from Martigues station that travels along the stunning Côte Bleue

We love

  • Walking hand in hand through the heart of the Venice of Provence along the canal lined with colourful houses
  • Tasting poutargue (the caviar of Martiques!) while admiring the view over the Miroir aux Oiseaux
  • Exploring the rich heritage of Martigues, in particular Annonciade des Pénitents Blancs Chapel and Fort de Bouc

The best time to visit

  • In April to take part in the kite festival on Verdon beach
  • July-August to attend the Festival de Martigues, Jonquières night market and the votive celebrations in Saint-Julien
  • Early September to relish all the flavours and aromas of Les Italiennes, an Italian farmers market
  • Theme

    Off the beaten tracks

  • Duration

    1 day

  • Transport means

    On foot

  • Visited cities

    Martigues

  • Ideal for

    All year round

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