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Aix Martigue Itinerary

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Moustiers photo

Maps icon This route is 140 km, 2h45 driving time, from Aix-en-Provence to Arles, via Martigues, Istres and Salin-de-Giraud.   Route Map
A side trip from Istres to Miramas and Saint Chamas adds 30 km (40 min), round trip.

Route. [53 km, 40 min] Go south out of Aix and get on the A8/E80 autoroute westbound, and follow the signs for the A8 direction Marseille. In 3 km take the A51 direction Martigues (going south towards Marseillel). Another 16 km merge onto the A7. In 3 km exit to the A55 and continue for 23 km to exit 13a/13b for Martigues.

The area between Marseille and Martigues is pretty built-up, but there are interesting villages along the south coast, and some nice places in the hills along the middle of the area.


The Venise de Provence has provencal houses along the canals, many narrow streets, shops and markets.
Location: 30 km northwest of Marseille, on the Etang de Berre.

Route. [15 km, 23 min] Go north on Ave du President Allende along the shore of the Etang de Berre, that merges with the D5 to Istres. There are various sites along the way, including fortified ruins at Saint Mitre-les-Remparts.


Ancient and Medieval maritime town with a high fortified church, theatre, a lovely lake-side park and a good paleontological museum.
Location: 40 km northwest of Marseille; on the northwest shore of the Etang de Berre.

Route. [34 km, 60 min] Southwest from Istres on the N569, past Fos-sur-Mer towards Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône — it's all very industrial. Just outside Port-St-Louis, go northwest, following the signs for the "Bac de Barcaran", the little ferry boat that crosses the Rhone to Salin-de-Giraud.
Alternate Route. [10 km, 14 min] Go north from Istres directly to Miramas.


The picturesque old town vieille ville sits on a hilltop 3 km from the new town.
Location: 10 km southwest of Salon-de-Provence; 30 km southeast of Arles; northern edeg of the Etang de Berre.

Alternate Route. [5 km, 5 min] From Miramas southeast to Saint Chamas.

Saint Chamas

An ancient fortified town and fishing village, with a direct history from the 5th century. It has a "comb" of rectilinear streets by the port and a 17th-century black powder factory. Nearby Pont Flavien, 1st-century Roman bridge, museum and olive oil mill.

Alternate Route. [44 km, 1h18 min] Retrace your route northwest to Miramas (5 km) and southwest on the N1569, bypassing Istres. Follow signs for Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, then on to Salin-de-Giraud.


A Camargue town, with salt pans and salt mountains, picturesque ferry crossing of the Rhône, and a couple of funky hotels. A road goes southeast through the marshes along the mouth of the Rhone, and you'll find out here the lovely Palissade Natural Park were we often go for long walks and observing the migratory birds when they arrive from North Africa. A good stop for wandering around the western part of the Camargue.
Location: In the southeast part of the Camargue, 30 km south of Arles.

Route. [38 km, 41 min] Take the main D36 road north from Salin-de-Giraud to Arles. There are some little roads along the way for exploring the rice paddies and bird marshes of the eastern side of the Camargue.


Marshy fields of black bulls, white horses, Provencal cowboys, pink flamingos and migratory birds.


Large Gallo-Roman town on the Rhone, with its Arena and Theater; Van Gogh painted here; rice festival and bull fighting. Museums, hotels and restaurants.
Location: 30 km southeast of Nîmes; 35 km south of Avignon.

- (Beyond the French Riviera) ®
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