Le Castellet is renowned for its famous racing circuit where prestigious Formula 1 races take place. It is also one of the most beautiful villages in France.
Only two access doors
Enclosed in its walls with only two access doors, the village of Le Castellet is very representative of the medieval habitat. From the passage of the « grand portal », the castle, the 12th century church, the wash house, the fountain and the winding streets plunge us into the past, and evoke the peaceful life of the inhabitants. Through the “Trou de Madame”, to the left of the castle, the entire wine-growing plain of Brûlat and Sainte-Anne spreads out, bordered by olive trees and pine forests. The white line of the Sainte-Baume massif contrasts with the deep blue of the sky.
The south dear to Marcel Pagnol
Everything here invites you to stroll : the small sloping streets that climb towards the castle, the architectural richness of each house, the craft shops with beautifully crafted products. Everywhere persist the sweetness of life and the accent. Lower down, the oratories invite you to discover these landscapes where the silence contrasts with the continuous flow of the sea which is just a stone’s throw away… Here reign the sweetness of life and the accent of the south dear to Marcel Pagnol who filmed « the baker’s wife » there. Thanks to the richness of its cultural heritage, a preserved natural environment, its craftsmen and the quality of its tables, Le Castellet is labeled « Station Verte ».
Places not to miss in Le Castellet :
• The castle : Current from the 15th century, it belonged, among others, to the Viscounts of Marseille, then to the De Castillon and De Lombard families. Sold during the French Revolution, it was transformed into a stable and oil mill. The wedding hall on the ground floor bears traces of the « chapels » of the mill. Currently, it houses the Town Hall. You can admire its imposing facade and defensive towers on the north and east sides.
• The church : The Saint-Sauveur de la Transfiguration church was built in 1030 by the bishopric of Marseille. Its existence is only mentioned in 1153 when it is placed under the term « Transfiguration of Christ ». In the 18th century, having become too narrow, it was enlarged, the orientation was changed and two Gothic vaults were built perpendicular to the Roman axis. The Romanesque part of the facade is then surmounted by a bell tower with three arcades and topped with a small campanile.
• Place de l’Ormeau : For a long time it was the center of village life with the school and the town hall. The unobstructed view of the « beak of the Eagle » of La Ciotat, the bay of Lecques and, closer, the village of La Cadière-d’Azur allows you to appreciate the strategic site of Le Castellet.
• Le Trou de Madame : postern opening in the ramparts on the walkway. We discover a remarkable panorama: in the distance the massif of Sainte-Baume with its famous cave, the hamlet of Brûlat, and the church of Sainte-Anne du Castellet. Legend has it that its name comes from the gente Dame du Castellet who watched there for the return of her knight. • Place de la Fontaine: Really called Place de l’Avenir, this square located in the heart of the village is home to a fountain built in 1895.
• Le Portalet : Was opened in the ramparts in the 17th century for the convenience of Castellans going to the fields, the great invasions ended. It is easily recognized in various scenes from the film « La femme du boulanger » by Marcel Pagnol, which was shot in the village.
• The Grand Portal : Rebuilt in the 14th century, was for hundreds of years the only access to the village. We still notice the defensive character of this work.
• The washhouse : The water was collected in the 16th century from Ferrages, nuns of Puech. It was led to a public fountain located at the bottom of the village by an aqueduct. In 1665, Antoine Esturia, engineer of King Louis XIV had installed the fountain with two pipes which was the basis of the water supply of the Castellans.