This picturesque Provençal village lies just east of Marseilles, and is surrounded by the Etoile mountain range and the Garabalan massif. Its origins lie far in the distant past, as the discovery of flint dating back to the early Neolithic period, and of ancient pottery in nearby caves, bear witness. After the rule of the Viscounts of Marseilles, the village of Allauch-le-vieux was destroyed and the current village of Allauch was built on the site of the Château de Fontvieille in the 16th Century. Today, the only remnants of this castle are the gateway, ramparts, square tower and the Notre-Dame du Château chapel - all of which date back to the 12th Century. The aftermath of the French Revolution brought the village its first mayor. The restored chapel of Notre-Dame du Château, which houses many thanksgiving offerings and has become a place of pilgrimage, dominates the landscape of the village but by wandering through the narrow backstreets, you'll discover a multitide of treasures. Visit the 17th-Century windmills, of which about a fifth are still intact, and the vantage point at the top of the street opens onto a delightful view of Marseilles and its surroundings. Also worth noting is the 19th-Century Town Hall, the 16th-Century church of St. Sébastien containing paintings by Serre and Monticelli, the 17th-Century seigneurial residence of the Bishops of Marseilles, the Petit Goûter bar where scenes from Marcel Pagnol's Angèle were filmed, and the old 19th-Century Basin - a former reservoir now used as an exhibition hall. While you are here, don't forget to taste some of the local specialities such as nougats, suce-miel, casse-dents and chiques. Stop off at the Moulin Bleu (No.7 Cours du 11 novembre) where you can take a break and sample some of the specialities in a typically Provençal setting. Allauch also makes a good point of departure for exploring the nearby hills of the Allauch massif that were so dear to Marcel Pagonol. Festivals and parades take place here all year round, such as the Pastorale Maurel in January, theatre and variety performances in the summer, the feast of St. Jean in June, a beer festival in August, an annual painting exhibition in autumn and a wine fair in November. However, the busiest month in the village's calendar is easily December with a succession of events and activities including a Provençal Nativity crib, the Day of the Donkey, a Christmas market, and Provençal Midnight Mass with the Descent of the Shepherds (a living Nativity).
Attractions & Landmarks