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

  • Contact

    Chaîne de l'Etoile

  • 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

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…

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…

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. New Hôtel Select

    Hotel

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  2. Villa Parpaillouns

    Holiday rental

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  3. La Maison Peissot

    Holiday rental

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  4. Le Grand Puech

    Food guide restaurant

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Where to stay

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…

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.…

Jas De Veyran
B&B

Jas De Veyran

Allauch

Between sea and hills between the mounts of Etoile and Garlaban, a stop for nature addicts. On an organic farm (vegetables, eggs, olives, saffron), beautiful farmhouse in a green setting. Between preserved nature and landscaped garden, a family bed & breakfast with very nice indoor and outdoor…

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…

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…

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…

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 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.

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 de 14m² (pour 2 personnes) et sa…

Things to do

Le Moulin Bleu
Greed, Greediness

Le Moulin Bleu

Allauch

As soon as you push the door of the blue mill, a "smell of Provence" invaded you.Both odors, mixtures of chocolate, Orange, flower vanilla or better still by his warm and Provencal atmosphere.You really enter deep Provence. Of authenticity, Moulin Bleu, a line of allaudiens confectioners since…

Le Grain de Selle
Craftsman

Le Grain de Selle

Mimet

Leather worker

Usine Electrique
Monument

Usine Electrique

Allauch

L'Usine Electrique a été construite sur l'emplacement d'un ancien four à chaux en 1906. Elle était destinée à transformer le courant venant d'une usine installée sur les bords de la Siagne (Alpes-Maritimes) afin d'alimenter en électricité Allauch, La Bourdonnière, Plan-de-Cuques,…

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.…

Les guides des Calanques et du Verdon
Low mountain guide

Les guides des Calanques et du Verdon

Allauch

Les Guides des Calanques vous proposent de découvrir la Provence et les calanques en pratiquant le canyoning, le canyon, l'escalade, le rafting et la randonnée.

Théâtre de Nature
Cultural place

Théâtre de Nature

Allauch

Le théâtre de Nature se dresse au coeur de la carrière Imbert à l'entrée Est du village. Il a été édifié en 2000 dans la carrière, acquise par la commune en 1978. La carrière Pierre Imbert, dernière en exploitation à proximité du village, employait quelques ouvriers et chaque jour…

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 Village de Cadolive
Site

Le Village de Cadolive

Cadolive

L'histoire de Cadolive est intimement liée avec celle de Saint-Savournin car jusqu'en 1900, Cadolive n'est qu'un hameau de Saint-Savournin. L'eau de la fontaine alimente le village en eau potable depuis 1867 suivant un débit moyen de 15 litres à la minute. Comme tous les villages aux…

JG Brod
Craftsman

JG Brod

Allauch

Family business, JG Brod is specialized in industrial embroidery on all materials (leather, clothing, sports equipment,...).Guillaume and Jo��lle Bugeja personalize and realize all your projects whether you are professional or special.

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

The herbs de Provence

The herbs de Provence

'Herbes de Provence', the perfume of our sun-baked hills...

The siesta

The siesta

Lifestyle

Provence… the perfect place to relax and chill out

Marcel Pagnol

Marcel Pagnol

Tradition

Everything you ever wanted to know about Marcel Pagnol!

Candied Fruit

Candied Fruit

A gourmet treat…

Provence has been famed for its candied fruit from time immemorial. In the early 16th century, the region was fairly impoverished. Fruit grew here in abundance, but much of it was lost every year.