Marseille's local fine wines
By Liz Berry MW and Elizabeth Gabay MW
This Guide was last updated on 24 April 2011
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Celebrated by writers such as Thomas Mann and Aldous Huxley, this is a popular seaside town and port. There are activities during the summer for holiday makers, but, apart from the ambiance of the harbour and the pleasures of the sandy beaches, little of interest. Better to go inland to the attractive villages of La Cadière d’Azur and Le Castellet (see below).
A pretty little seaside port cascading down the hillside – which means walking up and down hills. In summer the lush vegetation in the squares, gardens and balconies add to the picturesque scene. The sea views around the bay are film-like – palms and pines, sailing boats, cliffs and little beaches. A park and ride scheme is in action here to avoid congestion in town and the nightmare of finding somewhere to park.
Birthplace and home of Marcel Pagnol who wrote such evocative novels of life in early 20th century Provence ('Jean de Florette', 'Manon des Sources', 'Marius', 'Fanny', 'Gloire de Mon Père', 'Château de ma Mère', etc.). A museum and guided walks are dedicated to Pagnol. The town has also attracted other artisans and is a centre of production of santons – the traditional Provencal figurines used in the creation of the Christmas crèches.
A popular tourist village with its 15th century castle, walls and fortified gateways. Old stone houses, narrow winding roads, abundant flowers and arts and crafts shops make this a picturesque and photogenic village to visit. In fact, its very photogenic character resulted it in being used in Pagnol’s film 'La Femme du Boulanger' (The Baker’s Wife) in 1938. In complete contrast, just up the road from the village, is the former Formula One racing track – the Paul Ricard Circuit, now a test track.
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