Office de tourisme intercommunal

Domain of La Font de Mai

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Discover this three-century-old domain of one hundred ha, at the foot of the Garlaban Massif, with its ancient Provençal house, outbuildings, crops, beehives and paths.

Located in Aubagne, at the foot of the Garlaban hills, in exceptional landscapes, set of numerous books and films of Marcel Pagnol, this property is the starting point for hiking trails.

It has kept all traces of the evolution of Provencal farmhouses. Its mansion and its outbuildings still reflect the reality of the peasant traditional life of the beginning of the last century.



The Provençal house shelters an ecomuseum devoted to the environment, geology, fauna, flora and traditional agriculture.


 The Font de Mai activities

 From April to December, workshops, events and excursions are
 organized on this exceptional site:
 • workshops, strolls,
 • by night: tales, observation of the sky and stars, night walks in
 the domain,
 • initiation Qi Qong and Pilates.

 The 2018 program of the "Font de Mai" activities is
 available with the tourist office. Tel.:+33 4 42 03 49 98.

The richness of this site, particularly its biodiversity, is preserved by both the "NATURA 2000" perimeter of the Étoile massif and by a "Zone naturelle d’intérêt écologique et faunistique" (natural area of ecological and fauna interest). The hills of La Font de Mai are also included within the area of "Espaces Naturels Sensibles" (natural and sensitive spaces) of the Bouches-du-Rhône, a necessary protection for a site particularly vulnerable to fire risks.

Follow the path of the domain, travel in the past :

  • The threshing floor

After the harvest, in July and August, began the hard work of separation of grain from the corncob. In the center of the circular area was planted a wooden pole on which was fixed a turnstile that enhanced the circular move of the horse. The seeds on the area were then ventilated, the straw brewed and gathered in barns.

  • The Apers (the "bee wall")

Completely forgotten, we rediscover, sometimes recently,  apers (or “apié” in Provencal) built inside walls. These remarkable works, cbuilt with dry stone of our region, take the form of cells where beehives were nested in hollow tree trunk. According to the old beekeepers, the high walls forced bees to gain height to find their way.

  • Vineyard

The presence of massive wine vats that can contain up to 20,000 liters shows the importance of this activity. Nothing surprising! During the 17th and 18th centuries, the most profitable trade in Aubagne was the wine. The vine and its stock has covered the vast majority of cultivated areas of the Font de Mai until the mid-20th century. If there is now little marks of its culture, its wine-growing past has left its marks in the farm..

  • The "garrigue" (scrubland)

Many species were found on the property, typical of limestone massifs of Provence, and particularly of the Garlaban massif, and you will see them along your walk.

  • The mulberry tree

Introduced in the mid-16th century in France, the Murrier de Chine has literally flooded Provence. Entire fields and roadsides were covered with the famous "golden tree". Its leaves, prized the silkworm, begin to grow in May, the worms are put to hatch, it's the time of "magnanarelles".

 

Regulation

From 1st June to 30th September, access to natural areas (as the Domain of La Font de Mai and to the hiking trails of the Garlaban Massif) is regulated by an order from the prefect, depending on weather conditions. Access conditions are established the day before from 5.30 pm. Check the massifs access conditions, or call either the massifs information number at  +33 (0)811 20 13 13 (0,06€/minute) or the Tourist Office for more information at +33 (0)4 42 03 49 98.

How to get there ?

We suggest you to use public transport as an alternative to cars in order to preserve the site of the Font de Mai (parking places are limited on site).

  • By free bus (call +33/(0)4 42 03 24 25 for more information www.lignes-agglo.fr ) - Line 10, from "Pôle d’échanges" - "La Treille", bus stop "La Gastaude: Monday to Saturday, regular departures from "pôle d’échanges" (bus station) from Aubagne.
  • By tourist bus: stop at the intersection of la Carreirade d’Allauch

Contact

Intermunicipal Tourismt Office of the Pays d’Aubagne et de l’Étoile
8, cours Barthélemy – 13400 Aubagne
Tel: +33/(0)4 42 03 49 98 – Fax: +33/(0)4 42 03 83 62