We continued via train south along the French Riviera from Antibes to an area first settled by Gallo-Romans in the fifth century BC. Martigues took shape in the middle ages, with three fortified villages: Ferrières in the north, L’Isle in the middle and Jonquières in the south. These villages sprung up in a highly strategic location which controlled access to L’Etang de Berre from the Mediterranean Sea. Anxious to dissolve the rivalry between these three villages, and to preserve the strength of the site against the Spanish, King Henri III ordered unification and a treaty was signed on April 21, 1581.
We stayed in an awesome 2-bedroom villa that was right off the main business district of the Jonquières village of Martigues. This plaza area has restaurants, shops and bars (although there’s no guarantee one will be open when you want :), and they also hold a farmers market every Thursday and Sunday mornings (score!!). The best handmade macaroons we’ve ever had!
Chateau La Coste – amazing winery in the Aix-en-Provence area which was about an hour drive from our place in Martigues. We rented a car locally and drove ourselves to the winery. This winery has art installations that are truly breathtaking and make for quite the experience given the setting. The gorgeous backdrop of the winery mixed with the unique artistry of each piece provided an experience that will forever be held in memory.
Chateau Simone – a winery we stopped at on our way back to Martigues, which, unbeknownst to me, doesn’t offer tastings. However, we were rewarded with the most magnificent of grounds, a friendly dog and a private introduction to their wines and story. We purchased a bottle of rosé to drink later, expressed our gratitude for the hospitality and left at the same time as some sort of law enforcement/police/public armed agents (weird?! not one of us were really bothered by them and S. Rad pulled over on the windy road out for them to pass us. So, off we went back to Martigues without any law enforcement interaction 🙂
Our final dinner in this provincial town was at Bertrand Roy – a cozy restaurant only a stones throw from our villa. We had a delightful French meal consisting of local ingredients, delicious wine and regional specialties.
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