Martigues is a picturesque town located in the Provence region of southern France, known for its charming canals and bridges that have earned it the nickname “The Venice of Provence.” Situated between Marseille and the Camargue region, Martigues is a popular destination for visitors who want to experience the beauty and culture of southern France without the hustle and bustle of larger cities. With a history that dates back to ancient times and a stunning natural setting, Martigues offers a unique blend of history, art, and outdoor activities that make it a great destination for travelers of all interests. Join us discovering Martigues now!
History of Martigues
Martigues has a rich and diverse history that dates back to ancient times. The area was inhabited by the Celto-Ligurian tribes in the 6th century BC and was later conquered by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. The town grew during the Middle Ages as a center of fishing and trade, and was fortified by the Counts of Provence in the 13th century to protect it from attacks by pirates and other invaders.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Martigues was an important port for trade between France and the Mediterranean, and was also a center of shipbuilding. The town played a key role in the French Revolution, with the citizens of Martigues staging a revolt against the government in 1790.
Martigues in modern times
In the 19th century, Martigues became a popular destination for artists and writers. Many famous painters, including Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh, were in love with the landscapes and people of Martigues.
Today, Martigues is a thriving town that celebrates its history and culture through festivals and events, such as the Venetian Festival, which takes place every summer and features colorful parades and water-based performances. The town also boasts several museums and galleries dedicated to the art and history of the region, making it a fascinating destination for anyone interested in exploring the heritage of southern France.
Things to do in Martigues
Martigues offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the top things to do in Martigues.
Explore the canals and bridges
Martigues is known as the “Venice of Provence” for its picturesque canals and charming bridges. Take a stroll through the town and admire the colorful houses and boats that line the waterways.
Visit the Museum Ziem
The Museum Ziem is dedicated to the life and work of painter Félix Ziem, who was known for his depictions of the Mediterranean landscape. The museum features a collection of his paintings and drawings, as well as works by other artists.
Go to the beach
Martigues is home to several beautiful beaches, including Plage de la Saulce and Plage du Verdon. Relax on the sand, go for a swim, or try your hand at water sports like paddleboarding or windsurfing.
Hike in the Parc Régional de Camargue
The Parc Régional de Camargue is a nature reserve located near Martigues that is home to a variety of wildlife, including pink flamingos and wild horses. Take a hike through the marshes and sand dunes to experience the natural beauty of the region.
Visit the Fort de Bouc
The Fort de Bouc is a 17th-century fortress located on an island in the Etang de Berre. Take a boat tour to the island to explore the fort and learn about its history.
Enjoy local cuisine
Martigues is known for its seafood and local specialties, such as bouillabaisse and chard tart. Visit one of the town’s many restaurants to taste the flavors of Provence.
Attend a festival
Martigues hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Venetian Festival, which features colorful parades and water-based performances, and the Jazz à Martigues festival, which showcases jazz music from around the world.
How to get to Martigues
Martigues is easily accessible by car or public transportation. Here are some options to consider.
Martigues is located about 30 kilometers west of Marseille and can be reached by car via the A55 motorway. There are several parking areas throughout the town, but be aware that parking may be limited during peak tourist season.
The nearest train station to Martigues is in Marseille, which is served by high-speed trains (TGV) and regional trains (TER) from major cities throughout France. From the Marseille train station, you can take a local train or bus to Martigues.
There are several bus companies that provide service to Martigues from Marseille and other nearby towns. The bus station is located near the town center and offers connections to destinations throughout the region.
The nearest airport to Martigues is Marseille Provence Airport, which is located about 25 kilometers northwest of the town. From the airport, you can take a taxi, rental car, or public transportation to Martigues.
Enjoy our discounts in Martigues
Useful information about Martigues
Where to find Martigues?
Martigues is a town located in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southern France. It is between the cities of Marseille and Montpellier, on the Mediterranean coast. Martigues is on the Etang de Berre, a large saltwater lagoon that is connected to the sea via the Canal de Caronte. The town is also bordered by several smaller bodies of water, including the Canal Saint-Sébastien and the Canal Galliffet.
Is Martigues safe?
Martigues, like any other city, has some areas that may be safer than others. However, overall, it is a relatively safe town to visit. As with any travel destination, it is always important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings, especially at night or in less populated areas. Keep an eye on your belongings and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuables with you. As long as you use common sense and take reasonable precautions, your visit to Martigues should be safe and enjoyable.
When is the best time to visit Martigues?
The best time to visit Martigues is during the summer months of June through August, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the town comes alive with outdoor events and festivals. However, this is also the busiest time of year, and the town can be full with tourists. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are also good times to visit, as the weather is still pleasant, and there are fewer crowds.
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