Panorama Massif Du Garlaban Massif De L'etoile Oti AubagnePanorama Massif Du Garlaban Massif De L'etoile Oti Aubagne
©Panorama Massif Du Garlaban Massif De L'etoile Oti Aubagne|JPVallorani



If the Garlaban has become famous, it is thanks to Marcel Pagnol, who featured it in his books and movies.

The Garlaban Mountain

This limestone mountain range dates from the end of the Mesozoic era and overlooks the town of Aubagne.
Landfolds dating back to the Upper Cretaceous, are believed to have caused its shape.

Mainly made of limestone, which was used to produce lime, the mountain range conceals mineral resources that have long been used by man. A land of clay: the use of this material is intimately linked to the history of the Pays d’Aubagne et de l’Étoile.


Garlaban covers an area of about 8000 hectares and peaks at an altitude of 714 meters, offering a fantastic 360° panorama. With each season, Garlaban adapts and surprises.

These days, thousands of hikers walk on the mountain and many trails have been signposted

From Aubagne, La Destrousse or Roquevaire you can walk to the Croix de Garlaban, to the Ridges of Saint-Esprit, to the Mont du Marseillais, to Baume Sourne … these few example trails are graduated from easy, medium, and difficult hikes.

Other sports, for more experienced athletes, are also available in the mountain: rock climbing (190 climbing lanes in the Grand Vallon in Roquevaire), mountain biking, trail running…

You can enjoy the whole variety of its flora and wildlife by walking on our many trails.

Wildlife and flora

The Garlaban Mountain hosts a typical flora, including endemic and rare species. The Garrigue (scrublands) that forms this emblematic landscape is adapted to our extreme climate and to the ground mainly composed of outcropping limestone rocks.

Garlaban’s landscape is rich in thyme, rosemary, kermes, cistus, fennel, mallow, mint, borage, coronilla…

There’s also a variety of trees and shrubs: different species of pines and oaks, juniper, broom, olive, pistachio, sumac, arbutus …

On the “restanques” (terraces) that have been put back into cultivation, there are vineyards, olive trees, almond trees, apricot trees, cherry trees, medlar trees, peach trees… and recently saffron.

Wildlife has developed a thousand tricks to survive here during summer. Among them are mammals (gerbils, shrews, weasels, stone martens, wild boars, foxes …), birds (robins, serins, finches, nightingales, chickadees, orioles, swallows, cuckoos, woodpeckers, pheasants, thrushes, screech owls, eagle owls …) and, of course, these emblematic insects of Provence, cicadas (but also: crickets, locusts, hornets, dragonflies, grasshoppers, the dangerous centipede and the fearful processionary caterpillar…).

This high biodiversity has brought the French government in 2003 to add a large part of the Garlaban Mountain to the Natura 2000 Network.

Portrait Maison Natale Marcel Pagnol Oti AubagnePortrait Maison Natale Marcel Pagnol Oti Aubagne
©Portrait Maison Natale Marcel Pagnol Oti Aubagne

Garlaban is a huge tower of blue rocks, standing on the edge of the Plan de l’Aigle, this vast rocky plateau overlooking the green Huveaune valley.

Marcel Pagnol - La Gloire de mon père (195

Garlaban et Pagnol

Talking about Garlaban and not mentioning Marcel Pagnol would be an offense, as the two are so inextricably linked.

Today, this small scrubland area, which the writer has so perfectly glorified, is famous all over the world. His entire work is imbued with his extensive knowledge of the Massif.

He left such a deep and lasting print there, that nowadays certain places are only known under the names of “Puits de Raimu”, “Ferme d’Angèle”, “Pass of Aubignane”, “Grotte de Manon”, “Grotte du Grosibou”…