Martigues Travel Guide
Martigues is the result of the union, some 400 years ago, of three villages: l’Isle, Jonquière and Ferrières. It is, however, a small town – albeit the largest in the Bouches du Rhône region – utterly charming with its old docks and canals crisscrossed by picturesque bridges which have given it the moniker, "Provençale Venise" – "Venice of Provence." The town has in it clustered and atmospheric old districts, their narrow streets lined with cafés and shops. In its Fisherman's Quarter, dotting the lanes around Canal St. Sebastian, are pastel-colored, 17th-century houses, abodes of film stars and the wealthy lot from nearby Marseille. There's an ancient church in each of the original villages, a pleasure boat harbor right in the heart of town, and pedestrian quays buzzing with a lively café and restaurant scene. Ferrières has some pretty beaches on the sea, while the old district of Jonquières boasts the best shops in town. And during summer, the principal tourist season, Martigues hosts music festivals and live performances in its multi-stage festival center as well as on a temporary, floating stage in the Canal St. Sebastian.
Martigues is located 24 miles (38 km) northwest of Marseille in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in Provence. It straddles the eastern end of the Canal de Caronte, which links the Etang de Berre with the Mediterrandean.
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