Aubagne, located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France, is a charming city known for its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant culture. From exploring historical sites to immersing yourself in the local art scene, Aubagne offers a variety of attractions and activities. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Aubagne:
1. Santons Museum
Aubagne is renowned for its traditional Santons, which are handcrafted nativity scene figurines. The Santons Museum showcases an impressive collection of these intricate figurines, providing insights into the local craftsmanship and heritage.
2. Marcel Pagnol’s Childhood Home
Fans of French literature and cinema will delight in visiting the childhood home of Marcel Pagnol, a renowned French author and filmmaker. The house has been transformed into a museum dedicated to Pagnol’s life and works, offering a glimpse into the world that inspired his stories.
3. Garlaban Regional Nature Park
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Nature enthusiasts should explore the Garlaban Regional Nature Park, a stunning natural area that inspired many of Marcel Pagnol’s works. The park is characterized by rugged hills, aromatic Provençal vegetation, and numerous hiking trails, providing an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Mediterranean landscape.
4. Aubagne Market
The lively atmosphere of Aubagne Market is not to be missed. Held on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings, the market offers a delightful array of fresh produce, regional delicacies, local crafts, and vibrant colors. It’s a great place to soak up the local ambiance and indulge in some authentic Provencal treats.
5. Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations
Located in the nearby city of Marseille, this renowned museum is a must-visit for history and culture enthusiasts. It showcases the diverse heritage of the Mediterranean region through a variety of exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays.
6. La Ciotat
Situated just a short drive from Aubagne, La Ciotat is a coastal town famous for its picturesque harbor and beautiful beaches. Spend a day exploring the charming old town, lounging on the sandy shores, or enjoying water sports activities like sailing or kayaking.
7. Provençal Cuisine
Indulge in the flavors of Provençal cuisine during your visit to Aubagne. Local restaurants and cafes offer a range of delicious dishes, such as bouillabaisse (a traditional fish stew), ratatouille (a vegetable medley), and tapenade (an olive paste). Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of local rosé wine, a specialty of the region.
8. Artisan Workshops
Aubagne is known for its thriving artistic community, particularly in pottery and ceramics. Take a stroll through the city and discover various artisan workshops where you can witness the creation of unique, handmade pieces. Some workshops even offer pottery classes, allowing you to try your hand at this traditional craft.
9. Calanques National Park
For breathtaking natural beauty, venture to Calanques National Park, situated close to Aubagne. This protected area boasts a series of dramatic limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, and hidden coves. Hiking, boating, or simply enjoying a picnic with a view are popular activities in this stunning coastal landscape.
10. Festivals and Events
Aubagne hosts several vibrant festivals throughout the year, celebrating music, arts, and culture. The Santon Fair in December, the Marcel Pagnol Festival in July, and the International Festival of Art Pottery in September are just a few examples of the exciting events that showcase the city’s rich cultural heritage.
11. Aubagne Ceramic Trail
Follow the Aubagne Ceramic Trail, a self-guided tour that takes you through the city’s streets adorned with colorful ceramic tiles. These vibrant artworks depict scenes from Marcel Pagnol’s novels and offer a unique perspective on the city’s artistic heritage.
12. Chapelle des Pénitents Noirs
Visit the Chapelle des Pénitents Noirs, a beautiful chapel with a rich history. Admire its architectural features and step inside to appreciate its ornate interior. The chapel often hosts cultural events and exhibitions, adding another layer of artistic expression to your visit.
13. Wine Tasting
Aubagne is located in the heart of the Provence wine region, known for its excellent rosé wines. Take a short drive to the surrounding vineyards and enjoy wine tastings, guided tours, and the opportunity to learn about the winemaking process while savoring the flavors of the region.
14. Hiking in the Massif de l’Étoile
The Massif de l’Étoile, a mountain range near Aubagne, offers breathtaking landscapes and a network of hiking trails. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on an adventure, surrounded by lush forests, rocky peaks, and panoramic views of the Mediterranean coastline.
15. Outdoor Markets
Apart from the Aubagne Market, the city hosts various other outdoor markets throughout the year. These markets often focus on specific themes such as antiques, books, or regional products. Check the local event listings to see if any of these markets coincide with your visit.
16. Mediterranean Beaches
While Aubagne is not directly on the coast, it is conveniently located near beautiful Mediterranean beaches. Head to the nearby towns of Cassis or La Ciotat and spend a day basking in the sun, swimming in crystal-clear waters, or exploring the charming seaside villages.
17. Cité de l’Art Santonnier
This unique cultural center is dedicated to promoting and preserving the art of Santon-making. Visit the Cité de l’Art Santonnier to witness the creation of Santons firsthand, learn about the history and techniques, and appreciate the craftsmanship behind these cherished figurines.
18. Local Cuisine and Provençal Markets
Delight in the flavors of Provençal cuisine by dining at local restaurants or sampling regional specialties at the markets. Look out for traditional dishes like pissaladière (a savory onion tart), soupe au pistou (a vegetable and bean soup), and fougasse (a Provençal bread).
19. Theatre Tours
Aubagne has a thriving theater scene, and you can enhance your visit by taking a tour of the local theaters. Discover the historic Théâtre Comoedia or attend a performance at the Espace des Libertés, where you can enjoy a diverse range of theatrical productions, including plays, musicals, and dance performances.
20. Provençal Perfumeries
Provence is known for its fragrances, and Aubagne is no exception. Take a trip to one of the local perfumeries and learn about the art of perfume-making. Explore the aromatic gardens, discover the different scents, and even create your own custom fragrance to take home as a unique souvenir.
21. Music Festivals
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Aubagne hosts various music festivals throughout the year, showcasing a wide range of genres and styles. From jazz and classical music to contemporary and world music, there’s something to suit every taste. Check the event calendar to see if any festivals coincide with your visit.
If you’re a golf enthusiast, you’ll find several excellent golf courses in and around Aubagne. Enjoy a day on the greens, surrounded by picturesque landscapes and stunning views, while practicing your swing and challenging yourself on the well-maintained fairways.
23. Visit Marseille
Aubagne’s proximity to Marseille makes it an ideal base for exploring the vibrant port city. Take a short train ride and explore Marseille’s iconic attractions, such as the Old Port, the Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica, the MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations), and the picturesque neighborhood of Le Panier.
24. Outdoor Activities
Surrounding Aubagne, you’ll find ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as cycling, horseback riding, and rock climbing. The diverse landscapes, from mountains to forests, provide the perfect backdrop for an adventurous day exploring the great outdoors.
25. Yoga and Wellness Retreats
If you’re looking to unwind and rejuvenate, Aubagne and its surrounding areas offer serene settings for yoga and wellness retreats. Immerse yourself in mindfulness practices, indulge in spa treatments, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the Provençal countryside.
26. Explore the Provencal Countryside
Venture beyond Aubagne and explore the scenic Provencal countryside. Take a drive through picturesque villages like Gémenos, Roquevaire, or La Destrousse, where you can immerse yourself in the charm of the region and discover hidden gems along the way.
27. Vineyard Tours
Indulge in the region’s renowned wine culture by embarking on vineyard tours around Aubagne. Explore the scenic vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and sample exquisite wines produced in the Provençal terroir. From robust reds to crisp whites and refreshing rosés, you’ll have the opportunity to taste the flavors of the region.
28. Aqueduc de la Candolle
Visit the Aqueduc de la Candolle, an impressive Roman aqueduct that once supplied water to the city of Marseille. Marvel at the architectural feat and explore the surrounding area, which offers picturesque views and a peaceful atmosphere for a leisurely walk or picnic.
29. Olive Oil Mills
Olive oil production is an integral part of Provence’s culinary heritage. Take a tour of a local olive oil mill and witness the traditional methods of olive oil extraction. Learn about the different varieties of olives, taste the flavorful oils, and gain insights into the importance of olives in the Provençal gastronomy.
30. Les Ateliers Thérèse Neveu
Discover the art of pottery and ceramics at Les Ateliers Thérèse Neveu. Participate in workshops where you can learn the techniques of pottery-making and create your own unique piece. The studio also features exhibitions of contemporary ceramic art, showcasing the creativity of local and international artists.
31. Les Plages d’Aubagne
Aubagne is not far from the stunning beaches of the French Riviera. Spend a day soaking up the sun and enjoying the Mediterranean coastline at Les Plages d’Aubagne. Relax on the sandy shores, take a refreshing swim, or indulge in water sports activities such as paddleboarding or snorkeling.
32. Historical Walking Tours
Join a guided walking tour of Aubagne’s historic center to delve deeper into its fascinating past. Learn about the city’s medieval origins, discover hidden alleys and charming squares, and listen to intriguing stories that bring Aubagne’s history to life.
33. La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie de l’Aubagne
Engage in hands-on science exhibits and interactive displays at La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie de l’Aubagne. This science and industry museum offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages, allowing you to explore various scientific concepts and technological advancements.
34. Les Enfants du Paradis
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Pay a visit to Les Enfants du Paradis, a theater dedicated to puppetry and marionette shows. Immerse yourself in the magical world of puppetry and enjoy captivating performances that will entertain both children and adults alike.
35. Château de la Buzine
Explore the Château de la Buzine, also known as the “Castle of My Mother.” This historic castle was made famous by Marcel Pagnol’s film adaptation of his novel, and it now serves as a cultural center dedicated to cinema and the arts. Admire the beautiful architecture, explore the surrounding gardens, and immerse yourself in the world of French cinema through film screenings and exhibitions.
36. Village de Marcel Pagnol
Step back in time and visit the Village de Marcel Pagnol, a recreated village that reflects the settings from Marcel Pagnol’s novels and films. Wander through the quaint streets, explore the traditional Provençal houses, and experience the atmosphere that inspired Pagnol’s timeless stories.
37. Les Jardins de l’Espérance
Take a peaceful stroll through Les Jardins de l’Espérance, a botanical garden that offers a serene oasis in the heart of Aubagne. Discover a variety of plant species, enjoy the fragrant flowers, and relax in the tranquil surroundings of this hidden gem.
38. Église Saint-Michel
Visit the Église Saint-Michel, a beautiful church located in the center of Aubagne. Admire its stunning architecture, intricate stained glass windows, and ornate decorations. Take a moment for reflection and soak in the spiritual ambiance of this historic place of worship.
39. Provençal Festivals
Aubagne and its surrounding region are renowned for their vibrant Provençal festivals. From traditional folk celebrations to lively music and dance events, these festivals offer a glimpse into the cultural heritage and traditions of the region. Check the local event calendar to see if any festivals coincide with your visit.
Places and Things To Do