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

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…

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…

Nearby

  1. Le 13 Original

    B&B

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  2. Mimet Tourist Office

    Tourist office

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  3. A L'ombre Des Lauriers

    B&B

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  4. Tournesol

    Holiday rental

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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…

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…

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…

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.

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 " Aubagne (14kms), Cassis (20kms), Aix en Provence (20kms) ou Marseille (25kms), le 13 Original vous propose 2 chambres à la décoration soignée. 1 chambre avec 1 lit/2 pers., 1 chambre ado/enfants avec 2 lits…

La Maison Peissot
Holiday rental

La Maison Peissot

Allauch

Villa de 190m² avec jardin et piscine, située à Allauch, une commune à proximité de Marseille et de Cassis, qui a su garder son caractère et ses traditions provençales. Vous y serez à l'écart de l'agitation de la ville et du littoral, et vous apprécierez la fraîcheur des pins qui…

Bastide Le Temps des Secrets
B&B

Bastide Le Temps des Secrets

Plan de Cuques

La Bastide Le Temps des Secrets est Leader en chambres d'hôtes avec jacuzzi privatif en France depuis près de 10 ans. Son concept unique de personnalisation vous permettra de créer l'ambiance que vous désirez, comme si vous aviez vous-même préparé votre chambre pour votre moitié. 2…

Mas Des Bannieres
B&B

Mas Des Bannieres

Allauch

Located at the foot of the hills of the famous village: Allauch. On the heights, the House has a very nice view, direct access to hiking trails and Sun all year. You will have a suite non-smoking in Garden in a recent Provencal villa with independent access. The House appealed to a large closet…

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.…

Things to do

Bijouterie l'écrin
Craftsman

Bijouterie l'écrin

Allauch

Creation, manufacture and repair of jewellery jewellery. Work way and free estimate. Lionel manufactures jewellery at the request of the client. No limit to its creation.

Sacro e Profano
Clay - Pottery - Ceramic

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…

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.

Le Grain de Selle
Craftsman

Le Grain de Selle

Mimet

Leather worker

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,…

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…

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…

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.…

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

Garlic

Garlic

It all starts with a crushed clove...

Provencal cuisine simply wouldn't exist without garlic

The Thirteen Desserts

The Thirteen Desserts

Celebrating Christmas in Provence with the Thirteen Desserts...

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.

Rosé

Rosé

Lifestyle

Finer by the year, Provence's rosés are chic, casual and loved by all