An extraordinary ecosystem
Scientists prefer to refer to the Sainte-Baume forest as a “relic forest” or “climax forest”. Located 30 km east of Marseille, this forest covers 2076 hectares and has a particularly rich ecosystem according to botanical specialists. Exceptional and contrasting weather conditions explain the diversity of this vast natural expanse.
Indeed, the state forest is located between the sea and the mountains. The view from the ridge shows the striking contrast between ubac and adret, that is to say between the least sunny (north) and the most sunny (south) slopes. In this way, on the northern flank of the state forest, one can observe the fauna and flora traditionally found in more northerly forests. Trees that need moisture, cold or shade are present in large numbers, such as beech, holly, yew and maple. The beech forest of the mountain range – culminating at 1147 m and consisting of high limestone cliffs – prevents the trees from suffering from summer drought. As for the southern slope, it is mainly populated by a typically Mediterranean forest where trees that are more sensitive to light grow.
The Sainte-Baume forest is home to a diversity of mammals and birds such as rabbits, wild boars, foxes, hares, bats, owls, etc. In order to preserve this unique ecosystem, hunting is prohibited. The forest as such is an invitation to the imagination and to dreaming. Every branch, every plant and every stump can be the starting point for a magical story. All it takes is a little imagination and fantasy to immerse yourself in it.