The Etoile chaine

Roquevaire, Allauch, La Destrousse, Cadolive, Mimet, Simiane Collongue, Peypin, Bouc Bel Air, Septèmes les Vallons, Les Pennes Mirabeau, Plan de Cuques, Saint Savournin, Marseille, Aubagne - Mountains

Located in the southeastern quarter of the Bouches-du-Rhône, the Massifs de l’Etoile and Massif du Garlaban encircle a major part of the territories of Marseille and Aubagne, situated to the South. These chains are bordered by the Arbois, Montaiguet, Collines de Gardanne and Regagnas chains to the North, by the Valley of Aubagne to the East and the A7 highway to the West, which forms a barrier between the massif and the Côte Bleue coast.

The two massifs are separated by the D908 main road.

The Massif de l’Etoile forms a semi-circle comprising an East-West oriented peak of 14 km in length and 7.5 km in width: it rises to an altitude of 778 metres at Grand Puech, while its lowest point (172 metres) is located to the South of Vallon Dol. To the southeast, it extends into the Massif du Garlaban: a circular massif rising to an altitude of 729 m at Plan de l’Aigle, and descending to 120 m in the Valley of Huveaune. The many steep slopes and numerous North-South facing valleys (East-West on the western face) carving out its relief make terrestrial fire-fighting in this chain extremely difficult. It forms a genuine natural barrier, with an extremely hilly relief, at the gateway to Marseille.

The relief and general East-West orientation of the Etoile-Garlaban chain provoke a strong masking effect, with striking contrasts between the adret (South-facing) and ubac (North-facing) slopes.

The southern slopes of the Etoile and Garlaban are characterized by a typical Mediterranean climate.

The northern slopes are characterized by a cooler and wetter micro-climate, with lower temperatures, higher rainfall and shorter summer droughts. …

The Massif de l’Etoile's marked relief and high-altitude gradient lends it a highly varied character, with fairly fertile northern slopes (often-veteran Aleppo pines, Norway pines, Durmast oaks and even Austrian pines), contrasting with the rather barren southern slopes, with predominant Aleppo pines growing mainly in the bottom of valleys spared from fires. Scrubland populated with gorse or kermes oak and rosemary, covers the plateaux and shallow-soiled slopes, as a result of climatic and pedological constraints, coupled with repeated forest fires. Forests cover 12,800 acres of the Etoile chain, i.e. 58.46 % of its surface area.

The Massif de l'Etoile and Massif du Garlaban comprise a natural barrier between Marseille, Aix, Gardanne and Aubagne, and largely influence the urban dynamics of the surrounding towns. Their peri-urban location means they are the target of extensive development projects moreover, the absence of a transition zone between the highly urbanized and natural areas is extremely apparent.

In their role as a peri-urban massif and genuine green lung of Marseille, Aubagne and their neighbouring towns, the Massif de l’Etoile and Massif du Garlaban play a significant social role, with an estimated frequentation of 250,000 visitors per year, most of which are locals due to their somewhat "confidential" access routes.

The massifs are home to numerous historic and prestigious sites, including oppida (ancient fortified hilltop settlements), oratories, Notre-Dame des Anges monastery, the Pilon du Roy rock and Garlaban hills.

They form part of the Etoile-Garlaban Natura 2000 site.

Information provided by Provence Tourisme

  • Surrounding cities

    Allauch
    Aubagne
    Bouc Bel Air
    Cadolive
    La Destrousse
    Les Pennes Mirabeau
    Marseille
    Mimet
    Peypin
    Plan de Cuques
    Roquevaire
    Saint Savournin
    Septèmes les Vallons
    Simiane Collongue

Outings

Topo 13 : Simiane-Collongue : la Montagne du Baou Traouqua
Walk

Topo 13 : Simiane-Collongue : la Montagne du Baou Traouqua

Mimet

Deux parcours tracés en belvédères mais un mérite unique : celui de pouvoir embrasser d'un seul regard Marseille et la mer d'un côté, le pays d'Aix et la Sainte-Victoire de l'autre. Cette exclusivité, le randonneur la doit au massif de l'Etoile, dernier rempart calcaire qui sépare la…

Allauch : les collines de Pagnol
Hike

Allauch : les collines de Pagnol

Allauch

Entre la chaîne de l’Etoile et le Garlaban, dans le vallon sauvage creusé par le Jarret, affluent de l’Huveaune, le village de La Fève, sur la commune d’Allauch, sera le point de départ de la randonnée. Vous partirez à la découverte de l’envers des collines de Pagnol par un…

Massif de l'Etoile - Simiane-Collongue/Mimet, from Pilon du Roi to Baou Traouqua
Walk

Massif de l'Etoile - Simiane-Collongue/Mimet, from Pilon du Roi to Baou Traouqua

Simiane Collongue

These two mountain-top itineraries both offer fabulous views over Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Aix area and Sainte-Victoire mountain on the other - an exclusive viewpoint owed to the Massif de l’Etoile chain, the last limestone rampart separating Marseille and the…

Nearby

  1. Le 13 Original

    B&B

    Read more
  2. Tournesol

    Holiday rental

    Read more
  3. Le Chateau

    Holiday rental

    Read more
  4. Bastide Le Temps des Secrets

    B&B

    Read more

Where to stay

Le Cedre
Holiday rental

Le Cedre

Mimet

A proximité du village de Mimet, le plus haut des Bouches du Rhône, le cèdre vous accueille dans un studio aménagé pour vous au rez de jardin d'une villa. Ambiance familiale, vous partagerez la piscine, sa plage, la pelouse.

A L'ombre Des Lauriers
B&B

A L'ombre Des Lauriers

Allauch

Au pied du village et des collines chères à pagnol, grande chambre provençale de 80 m² située au Rez-de-jardin de la maison des propriétaires. A votre disposition, la chambre avec 1 lit/2 pers. SdB avec baignoire et douche. WC indépendants. Séjour/salon privatif avec 1 canapé…

Le 13 Original
B&B

Le 13 Original

Saint Savournin

Au pied de la Chaine de l'Etoile, dans le triangle d'or " Aix Marseille Cassis " le 13 Original vous propose 1 suite de 47m2 composée de 2 chambres et 1 salon/chambre à la décoration soignée. Proche d'Aubagne (14kms), Cassis (20kms), Aix en Provence (20kms) ou Marseille (25kms). A votre…

Villa Parpaillouns
Holiday rental

Villa Parpaillouns

Saint Savournin

Villa indépendante, situation dominante, dans clos résidentiel sur un terrain de 1000m² avec vue dégagée sur les collines. Grand séjour avec cheminée, cuisine équipée. 4 chambres, 2 salles de bains, 2 WC. (2lits de 160x200, 2 lits de 90x190, 1 clic-clac de 130x190). Une grande mezzanine…

Mme Jouandeau
B&B

Mme Jouandeau

Allauch

Sur les hauteurs des collines d'Allauch chères à Marcel Pagnol, notre maison de type provençal bénéficie d'une jolie vue, de calme et d'ensoleillement. Nous serons heureux de vous y accueillir et de mettre à votre disposition une chambre d'hôte et sa tropézienne (petite terrasse) situées…

Colibri
B&B

Colibri

Allauch

In a beautiful villa in absolute calm to the doors of the Domaine Departemental de Pichauris and hiking circuits Marcel Pagnol, large bedroom 25 m² provence host located on the 1st floor of the House of the owners. At your disposal, the room with 1 bed 2 people, 1 child bed on request, 1 room…

Tournesol
Holiday rental

Tournesol

Cadolive

In the countryside, in a very quiet environment with hiking trails directly leaving from the house, the gite Tournesol is a haven of peace out of time. With adjoining terrace, it is located on the 1st floor and is adjoining another gîte. 3 other gites on site in total. A guard lives on the spot.…

New Hôtel Select
Hotel

New Hôtel Select

Marseille

Marseilles and its famous Canebière. The New Hotel SELECT is only a minute away from the Saint Charles train station and its TGV (French high-speed train), the metro (underground) and Gambetta car park. This is the perfect location, a veritable nerve centre for the business person, but also…

Le Chateau
Holiday rental

Le Chateau

Mimet

Dominant le village de Mimet à 600 m d'altitude, avec une vue panoramique sur la Montagne Ste Victoire et la Chaîne de l'étoile, notre logement est apprécié en été pour sa fraîcheur à l'abri des épais murs de pierres ainsi que pour sa piscine.

Things to do

L'ancien castrum d'Allauch
Site

L'ancien castrum d'Allauch

Allauch

The former castrum of Allauch was built on the site of a construction of lesser importance by the canons of the Major in Marseille, lords spiritual and temporal of Allauch since 1121 approximately between 1141 and 1148.Today, this heritage is us through a path down climbing along in Pine Hill.…

Santons de Provence Gilbert Orsini
Christmas crib figures

Santons de Provence Gilbert Orsini

Allauch

On the central square, the Church and the old town hall which today houses the Museum of Allauch, under the shade of the plane trees, Gilbert Orsini has installed its small santons dressed workshop: creation, modelling, molding, painting, dressing of santons dressed 25 and 30 cm.It offers…

Chapelle Notre Dame du Château
Monument

Chapelle Notre Dame du Château

Allauch

Formerly Chapel Notre Dame de Beauvoir, to remind the magnificent panorama you can enjoy from this location, or Belv��zer our Lady of Ch��teau date from the 12th century. It has retained its foundations and some walls of origin. Several times restored, formerly Parish Church of Allauch,…

Sacro e Profano
Clay

Sacro e Profano

Allauch

Sculptor author, Mario offers artistic creations on all materials (plaster, paper, resin and bronze or marble), and moulds in plaster and ��lasthom��re and casts, but also to the creations of architecture of Interior and exterior (masks, columns, fountains, statues, busts, lamps...).…

Esplanade des Moulins
Site

Esplanade des Moulins

Allauch

The mills were first was probably located within the Castle (12th century), and then North Dame Street before to find on the current place of the San Sebastian Church. The construction of cutting them wind and requires to move, once again, to the current Plaza which was then only a mound at the…

Le Grain de Selle
Craftsman

Le Grain de Selle

Mimet

Leather worker

Moulin Ricard
Monument

Moulin Ricard

Allauch

Le Moulin Louis Ricard, cinquième et dernier moulin construit sur l'esplanade Frédéric Mistral, fut bâti en 1729 par Louis Ricard, boulanger à Allauch. Le moulin Louis Ricard est le seul parmi les 5 situés sur l'esplanade qui possède une cave. Seuls quelques moulins en Provence sont…

Le Village de Saint-Savournin
Site

Le Village de Saint-Savournin

Saint Savournin

Petit village provençal, Saint Savournin est construit sous le rocher de la chaîne de l'Etoile. Il est situé entre Aix et Marseille. Composé de plusieurs quartiers et du hameau de la Valentine, le village s'étend au milieu de terres cultivables et de forêts. Plusieurs sentiers balisés…

Atelier Prévitera Création
Craftsman

Atelier Prévitera Création

Allauch

Artisan jeweller, jewellery, the Pr��vitera workshop is at your request any custom jewelry. Creation and manufacture of gold jewellery or fantasy, exclusive model, processing, repair, way, redemption of the old gold work. You will also find a former jewelry space. Free quote.

Where to eat

Le Grand Puech
Food guide restaurant

Le Grand Puech

Mimet

L'hôtel Restaurant Le Grand Puech à Mimet, village le plus haut des Bouches-du-Rhône vous propose un cadre exceptionnel, sa vue dégagée sur la chaîne de l'Etoile offre lors de vos déjeuners ou dîners d'affaires un dépaysement total. Le nouveau chef Matthieu MATHERON nous arrive tout…

Inspirations

Provence's markets

Provence's markets

Terroir

A fertile region with many local products and specialities

The soap

The soap

Tradition

'Savon de Marseille', how to tell the real from the fake

Between Bad Boys and Mia... Rap in Marseille

Between Bad Boys and Mia... Rap in Marseille

Thanks to the huge success of bands such as IAM and La Fonky Family, Marseille has earned its status as one of France's foremost rap capitals. Hoisted to heritage status in this city known for its gift of the gab, the movement has propelled a new generation of signature names to the front of the scene: the heirs have arrived.

Lights, Camera, Action! Provence and the Movies

Lights, Camera, Action! Provence and the Movies

The history of cinema in Provence dates back many years. And similarly to the region's artistic hall of fame, it was inspired by light...

As you may know, the very first moving picture was screened by the Lumière brothers ('Lumière' meaning 'light') on September 21st, 1895 in La Ciotat.