26 Best Places And Things To Do in Martigues, France

Martigues, also known as “Venise Provençale” (Provençal Venice), is a charming city located in the Bouches-du-Rhône department of France. Situated between the Mediterranean Sea and the Etang de Berre lagoon, Martigues offers a delightful mix of historical sites, natural beauty, and cultural attractions. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Martigues:

1. The Venice of Provence

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Martigues is famous for its picturesque canals, earning it the nickname “Venise Provençale.” Take a leisurely stroll along the canals in the historic center, known as “Ferrières,” and admire the colorful houses, quaint bridges, and charming boats. Explore the narrow streets and discover hidden gems, including local shops, cafes, and restaurants.

2. Martigues’ Market

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Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Martigues’ market, held every Thursday and Sunday morning. Indulge in fresh produce, regional specialties, and local crafts. It’s a great opportunity to taste the flavors of Provence and interact with the friendly locals.

3. Fort de Bouc

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Located at the entrance of the Etang de Berre, Fort de Bouc is a historic fortress that offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Take a boat trip to the fortress and explore its ancient walls, enjoying the stunning vistas of the Mediterranean Sea and the lagoon.

4. Musée Ziem

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Visit the Musée Ziem, named after Félix Ziem, a renowned 19th-century landscape painter. This museum showcases a remarkable collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, providing insight into the cultural heritage of Martigues and its surrounding region.

5. Beaches

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Martigues is blessed with several beautiful beaches. Head to La Couronne, a sandy beach known for its crystal-clear waters and family-friendly atmosphere. Engage in water sports activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. For a quieter and more secluded beach experience, explore the stunning Plage du Verdon, nestled in a natural setting.

6. Chapelle de l’Annonciade

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This charming chapel, located in the historic center, is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. Admire the stunning frescoes painted by Raoul Dufy, a renowned French Fauvist painter. The chapel itself is an architectural gem, reflecting the rich history of Martigues.

7. Parc de Figuerolles

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Nature lovers will enjoy a visit to Parc de Figuerolles, a beautiful park spread across 130 hectares. Embark on hiking trails, discover lush landscapes, and spot various species of birds and wildlife. The park also features a lake, picnic areas, and playgrounds, making it a perfect spot for a family outing.

8. Traditional Festivals

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Martigues hosts several lively festivals throughout the year, offering a glimpse into the local traditions and culture. Don’t miss the “Fête de la Saint-Pierre” in late June, which celebrates the city’s maritime heritage with boat parades, fireworks, and traditional music.

9. Gastronomy

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Indulge in the flavors of Provence by sampling the local cuisine. Martigues boasts numerous excellent restaurants offering regional delicacies, including bouillabaisse (a traditional fish stew), aioli (a garlic and olive oil sauce), and fresh seafood dishes.

10. Aix-en-Provence

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Explore the charming city of Aix-en-Provence, located just a short distance from Martigues. Stroll through the picturesque streets lined with elegant mansions, visit the iconic Cours Mirabeau, and immerse yourself in the artistic and cultural heritage of this vibrant city. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the renowned Atelier Cézanne, the former studio of the famous painter Paul Cézanne.

11. Calanques National Park

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Embark on a memorable adventure to the Calanques National Park, a stunning coastal area characterized by rugged cliffs, turquoise waters, and hidden coves. Hike along the trails, go rock climbing, or take a boat tour to admire the breathtaking natural beauty of this protected area. The Calanques offer fantastic opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and diving in pristine marine environments.

12. The Luberon Villages

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Venture into the enchanting landscapes of the Luberon region, famous for its picturesque hilltop villages. Explore Gordes, a stunning village built into the cliffs, and admire its well-preserved medieval architecture. Visit Roussillon, known for its vibrant red and ochre-colored cliffs, and take a leisurely stroll through its charming streets. Other notable villages worth visiting include Bonnieux, Lacoste, and Ménerbes.

13. The Martigues Contemporary Art Museum

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Art enthusiasts should not miss the Martigues Contemporary Art Museum, known as MAMAC. This museum showcases a diverse collection of contemporary artworks from local and international artists. From paintings to sculptures and installations, the museum offers a thought-provoking experience for visitors interested in modern art.

14. Château d’If

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Take a boat ride from Martigues to the famous Château d’If, located on a small island off the coast of Marseille. This historical fortress is renowned for being the setting of Alexandre Dumas’ novel “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Explore the prison cells, walk along the ramparts, and enjoy panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea.

15. Le Parc de la Poudrerie

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Located in nearby Saint-Chamas, Le Parc de la Poudrerie is a former gunpowder factory turned nature park. Explore the expansive grounds and enjoy walking or cycling along the well-maintained paths. The park features diverse flora and fauna, a lake, picnic areas, and even an outdoor fitness circuit.

16. Les Lavandes de Cazan

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Just a short drive from Martigues, Les Lavandes de Cazan offers a beautiful lavender farm experience. Visit during the blooming season (usually from June to August) to immerse yourself in the fragrant fields of lavender and enjoy the stunning purple landscapes. The farm also offers guided tours and a boutique where you can purchase lavender products.

17. Wine Tasting

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Martigues is surrounded by vineyards that produce excellent wines. Embark on a wine tasting tour in the nearby region of Côteaux d’Aix-en-Provence or Côtes de Provence. Visit local wineries, learn about the winemaking process, and sample a variety of reds, whites, and rosés, accompanied by delicious local cuisine.

18. Théâtre des Salins

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Experience the vibrant performing arts scene of Martigues by catching a show at the Théâtre des Salins. This contemporary theater hosts a variety of performances, including theater, dance, music, and comedy. Check the schedule to see what’s on during your visit and enjoy an evening of cultural entertainment.

19. Parc Julien Olive

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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind in Parc Julien Olive. This peaceful park offers lush green spaces, shady trees, and benches where you can relax and enjoy a picnic. Take a leisurely walk or rent a bike to explore the park’s pathways and discover its serene beauty.

20.Nautical Activities

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Martigues’ coastal location makes it a perfect destination for water sports enthusiasts. Try your hand at activities like kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding, or sailing. There are various rental shops and schools along the coast where you can get equipment and take lessons if needed.

21. Les Croisières du Soleil

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Take a boat cruise with Les Croisières du Soleil and explore the stunning coastline of Martigues and the surrounding areas. Choose from different types of cruises, including sightseeing tours, sunset cruises, and even trips to nearby islands. Enjoy the panoramic views, sea breezes, and the opportunity to spot marine life along the way.

22. Les Halles de Martigues

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If you’re a food lover, make sure to visit Les Halles de Martigues. This covered market offers a wide variety of fresh local produce, seafood, meats, cheeses, and more. Wander through the stalls, interact with friendly vendors, and savor the flavors of Provence.

23. Les Joutes Provençales

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Witness the traditional sport of “Les Joutes Provençales” if you happen to visit during the summer months. This centuries-old tradition involves jousters on boats trying to knock each other off balance using long poles. The atmosphere is lively and festive, and it offers a glimpse into Martigues’ rich cultural heritage.

24. Shopping in the Old Town

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Martigues’ historic center is a treasure trove for shoppers. Explore the narrow streets lined with charming boutiques, artisanal shops, and galleries. Find unique souvenirs, local handicrafts, stylish fashion items, and Provencal specialties to take home as mementos of your trip.

25. La Couronne

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La Couronne is the most well-known beach in Martigues, and it offers a long stretch of golden sand and clear blue waters. This family-friendly beach is equipped with amenities such as beachside restaurants, snack bars, and showers. It’s an ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, building sandcastles, and playing beach games. Lifeguards are present during the peak season, ensuring a safe swimming experience.

26. Ferrières Beach

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Situated in the heart of Martigues’ historic center, Ferrières Beach is a charming urban beach nestled between the canals. Although it may not be as extensive as the other beaches in Martigues, it offers a unique atmosphere and convenience for visitors staying in the city center. You can enjoy a refreshing swim, soak up the sun, or simply relax while watching the boats pass by.