Martigues and the Mediterranean Ponds (28.04.2010)

If you have enjoyed this short article, you can visit my two first blogs:    and:      If you don’t read French, have a look anyway at some photos among more than 1000. Look also at the Archives, on top of the page. Please write me there:

St.Blaise archaeological site, located 40 km north-west of Marseille on St.Mitre-les-remparts territory, is lying on top of a ridge and is overlooking four stretches of water called ‘ponds’ but actually the size of rather large lakes.


Just outside the park stands Saint Blaise Romanesque chapel. The site is protected by a fence and closed on Mondays but the entrance is free of charge. We are kindly greeted and given a fold-out page with a map. Here is a natural bunch of wild Ophrys orchids.

The archaeological site is a very ancient oppidum (antique and generally defensive settlement) that dates back as far as Etruscan and Phocean times (The Phoceans were the Greeks who founded Marseille toward 600 BC). The hellenistic wall, from the 2nd century BC, more than 1 km long and built in perfectly drafted large stones, is the site’s star turn.

Southwards, close to the site but outside the fence, an old necropolis is lying. We go for a small hike, heading southwards along the ridge. We have a look westwards at Lavalduc and Engrenier ponds, but from here it’s difficult to enjoy a fine view because of their industrial background.


East of the ridge, Pourra pond, the most photogenic and natural of this area’s lakes, is a refuge for some aquatic birds.

St.Mitre-les-remparts village overlooks Pourra pond. Here is now Citis pond.

We drive now to Martigues, a few km southwards. The town’s heart, like a small Venice, is built on the water, between Berre pond and the Caronte canal that links this large lake to the sea. Here are two small docks. The second, tiny, is called ‘Birds’ mirror’.

We are stubborn photographers and we would like to take this view from the A55 motorway viaduct. Since it’s neither possible to stop the car there nor to go on foot, the only way is to drive on the viaduct rather slowly northwards, the passenger taking several pics with a wide-angle lens, holding blindly the camera through the open window, high, above the railing. Here is a photomontage of two snapshots. If you’re tempted to do the same, choose a fine afternoon, or maybe a sunrise.

From ND.des Marins chapel (3 km North Martigues centre), fine views -albeit less gripping than those from the viaduct- stretch on the town site, Berre pond and the canal of Caronte to the Mediterranean. The viaduct with its two crutches is visible on the right (above, click to enlarge).

Here is Martigues ‘downtown’ and then Berre pond, now with a bit of zooming.            Huberaime

About Huberaime

Enseignant, né en 1955, passionné de photo, nature, rando et patrimoine provençal. N'hésitez pas à m'écrire si vous voulez gratuitement des photos non filigranées, faire des sorties avec nous ou simplement échanger des impressions:
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7 Responses to Martigues and the Mediterranean Ponds (28.04.2010)

  1. english13 says:

    Hi Huberaime,
    Je suis un anglais qui habite à Martigues depuis 2010 et je suis aussi passionné pour le photographie. Votres images, dans toutes votres sites, sont superbes!
    (English:) What I particularly like about your images, apart from their aesthetic qualities, is that they show the nature and local culture of this area to their best. I’m discovering the area more and more, but you obviously know it very well. Are you from Martigues? You also offer the possibility of doing an outing with you. I would be very interested in this. Can you tell me more, please.
    best wishes and happy Christmas
    Phil NEWMAN

    • Huberaime says:

      Hello Phil
      Thank you for your visit and your comment. I’m not from Martigues, I live in Mazan, near Carpentras. When we plan next outing, I’ll tell you and invite you to join us. There is a small problem, though: we usually make up your mind just a day or two in advance, because of the weather: we want fine conditions for the photos. I’ll write to you at the time of our next excursion and we’ll be able to meet sometime. Best regards and Merry Christmas time. Huberaime

  2. Huberaime says:

    Not ‘make up YOUR’, but ‘OUR’, of course…

  3. Huberaime says:

    Phil, I’ll explore your site and leave you a comment. See you Huberaime

  4. english13 says:

    Thanks Huberaime, it’d be really nice to meet up some time. I hope you like my site, but my articles there are quite long and perhaps even a little boring? I write them as an aid to understanding more about French culture, British culture and culture in general. Perhaps this is also an area where we could exchange ideas? You are evidently ‘au fait’ with the cultural particularities of Provence.

  5. english13 says:

    I’m also about to invest in a new camera around the 5OO + euros mark. Ar present I have oly an old automatic and I’d like something with greater resolution and control over speed/aperture/zoom/ depth of field etc. Any model you could recommend?
    Happy Christmas,

  6. Pingback: ‘Flâneries au Miroir’ in Martigues (9 Sept. 2012) | PHOTOS OF PROVENCE

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