Aubagne, Marcel Pagnol’s birthplace, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, is to be discovered, alone or with a guide, for its cultural heritage. An ancient medieval town surrounded by ramparts in the 16th century, the Mediterranean town reveals its typical charm behind its colorful facades, its mansions with period architecture, its gates and door-knockers, etc. The old town has many monuments such as the Porte Gachiou (“Gachiou door”), the Saint-Sauveur church, the clock tower, the Observance triangular bell tower, the Chapel of the Black Penitents, etc.
Aubagne is also a tourist destination famous for clay working. Santon makers and ceramists open the doors of their workshop to let you discover their creations: santons, crockery, earthenware, decorations…
During your holidays, let yourself be tempted, by the local and regional specialties that you will be able to discover on market days: cheese, nougat, olive oil, honey, etc. Various events are organized throughout the year such as the Journées corses d’Aubagne (“Aubagne Corsican Days”), the Aubagne International Film Festival, the ART’M festival, the Flamenco Nights…
The town of Aubagne is also a privileged place for nature lovers who wish to discover the area by walking the hiking trails. You can also discover the surrounding towns such as Gémenos and Parc de Saint-Pons for a nature outing, Carnoux-en-Provence, Cassis or La Ciotat.
Little World of Marcel Pagnol
The Little World of Marcel Pagnol is a living and playful museum, which brings together nearly 200 santons. Each piece was made by local artists. In the heart of Thérèse Neveu’s workshop, between tradition and modernity, the exhibition highlights reconstructions from the world of Marcel Pagnol. You will discover an exhibition made up of photos and slide shows retracing the life and works of Marcel Pagnol as well as sets inspired by the artist’s works. The museum also dedicates a section to Thérèse Neveu.
Marcel Pagnol’s Family Home
The writer, moviemaker, academician, Marcel Pagnol is known and recognized throughout the world. Born in Aubagne on February 28, 1895, he lived in his home at 16 cours Barthélemy until the beginning of the school year in 1897. After being inhabited by other people from Aubagne, the building is now a real museum. On the first floor, you can see two scenic spaces that are the reconstitution of the family’s apartment and an exhibition space with a projection room where his movies and other movies dedicated to him are shown. The museum is also equipped with interactive terminals that will allow you to learn more about the author.
French Foreign Legion Museum
The French Foreign Legion Museum traces the legionary history from 1831 to the present day. Various objects are exhibited and evoke the great epic of the Foreign Legion: distant expeditions, works, fights, etc. You will discover the history of the Men who served France, their weapons, their uniforms, their trophies, and so on. The Salle d’Honneur (“Hall of Honor”) pays tribute to the founders of the Legion: King Louis Philippe and General Rollet. The museum is the only state military history museum in the Bouches-du-Rhône department. The building is located in the heart of the domain of the Château de La Demande, enlarged and renovated.
Chapel of the Black Penitents
The chapel of the Black Penitents now houses the Aubagne art center. Located on the heights of the city, the place is dedicated to visual art. Meetings are also organized. The town passed the building on to the confraternity of Black Penitents from which it takes its name today. It was later used as a hospital, but also as a stable. After some architectural evolution, the monument was awarded the “Les Rubans du Patrimoine” French Building Federation Prize for its restoration. The neo-classical façade dating from the 18th century, inspired by the Pantheon, was a listed historical monument.
Massif du Garlaban
The Garlaban rock overlooks the town of Aubagne and the Huveaune Valley at 714 meters. Staged in the works of Marcel Pagnol, the massif is a playground for hiking enthusiasts. Between garrigue and limestone, different sedentary tribes have inhabited the caves of the massif. The Garlaban is made up of several peaks, including the Taoumé, home to the Grosibou cave, which is mentioned in Marcel Pagnol’s My Father’s Glory and My Mother’s Castle. At the top of the peak, at the orientation table, you can enjoy an exceptional view of the department.
- Tourist Office of Aubagne: http://www.tourisme-paysdaubagne.fr/fr
- Road service: A50 Highway (from Marseille or Toulon), A52 Highway (from Aix-en-Provence)
- Air access: Marseille Provence Airport (45 minutes), Toulon-Hyères Airport (1 hour)
- Railroad access: train station