Nicknamed the “Venice of Provençal", Martigues lies in the middle of a passage that links the Etang de Berre to the Mediterranean Sea. It was founded in the 13th century on the site of a Roman camp and is clustered with centuries-old buildings, fishermen’s cottages and lively squares.
Things to do in Martigues
Stroll between the beautiful old residences that dominate L’Île, Martigues’ central island. Dominating Place Mirabeau is a grand 17th-century fountain, while brightly painted fishermen’s houses line the Canal San Sébastien. Also known as the Miroir aux Oiseaux (the Bird Mirror), this scenic waterway has been depicted in paintings by Eugène Delacroix and Raoul Dufy. Nearby is the Musée Ziem, which showcases ethnographic, archaeological and contemporary art collections and hosts live concerts and workshops.
Not to miss is the Eglise de Sainte Madeleine, a 17th-century church that exhibits Italian influences in its Provençal Baroque design. Take note of the Corinthian capitals on its four columns and the richly carved facade, then step inside to admire the church’s 19th-century organ. Overlooking nearby Place Maritima is a reconstructed Gallo-Roman residence dating back to the 5th century BC.
Travelling with kids? Spend a day at Magic Park Land, a Wild West-themed amusement park with more than 40 family-friendly attractions. Nestled in a Mediterranean pine forest, it hosts daily circus shows and stunt performances that appeal to all ages.
Getting around Martigues
Martigues is around 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Marseille and 25 minutes from Marseille Provence Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. Trains connect to Gare de Martigues and buses travel throughout the city. The centre of Martigues can easily be explored on foot.