La Treille village

Marcel Pagnol's childhood village

To discover the heart of Marcel Pagnol’s childhood region, you need to start with the ‘town’ part, even though it is actually a preserved village core that has undergone little change over the decades. As you will have gathered, this is La Treille.

The village of La Treille

Halfway between Allauch and Aubagne, and precisely between the Martheline and Passe-Temps valleys, the Treille district is a small village in Marseille’s eastern suburbs, perched on a hill in the Etoile massif and close to the Camoins district.

La Treille and the Bastides Blanches

La Treille has retained its charm of yesteryear. Lovers of Pagnol can take a stroll through the village, immersing themselves in the past and rediscovering the elements that served as natural backdrops for many of the stories, films and adaptations. The village inspired the novelist to write the ‘Bastides Blanches’ in his two-volume novel, ‘L’Eau des collines‘.

The church of Saint-Dominique

Dating from the late 19th century, this church is remarkable for its multi-storey bell tower built on an openwork narthex adjoining the façade. Its nave still echoes with the sermons of the ebullient priest of the ‘Bastides Blanches’. In Pagnol’s films, the square is featured in ‘La fille du puisatier‘ (1940) and ‘Manon des Sources‘ (1952).

The fountain

This is located in a small square near the church. This is where the precious and rare ‘hill water’ has been gushing out since 1870. Today, this fountain is known as the ‘Fontaine de Manon’.

The Villa Pascaline

In the 1930s, Marcel Pagnol rented this house, which can still be seen from Chemin des Bellons. He even shot several scenes from his film ‘Cigalon’ (1935) here.

La Bastide Neuve

The Pagnol family used to cross La Treille on foot to get to La Bastide Neuve, in the Bellons hamlet (Allauch town), located on the outskirts of the village. In 1904, Joseph Pagnol, Marcel’s father, decided to rent a house so that his wife could enjoy the fresh air, due to her frail health. The house still exists, although it has been abandoned.

Did you know?

The magic of cinema: Yves Robert’s lovely 1990 film, based on the novel of the same name ‘La Gloire de mon père‘, actually used several Provencal villages for the shoot. Charleval is home to Joseph Pagnol’s school. Grambois is the setting for the village of La Treille. Its narrow streets and square were used for the bartavelle hunting scene where Marcel Pagnol’s father comes to be photographed by the priest with his trophies. Allauch is home to the house that was used as the setting for ‘Bastide Neuve’, in reality a private hunting estate in the Pichauris district.

The cemetery

Located at the foot of the village, all members of the Pagnol family are laid to rest here. The site is an undeniable place of contemplation.

Le Cigalon

The name of this restaurant in La Treille is a deliberate tribute to the film of the same name. When the film was being shot, Pagnol and his crew used to have lunch here. Find out more about Le Cigalon

After this stroll through La Treille, there are the famous hills surrounding the village, with many other points of interest to immerse you in Marcel Pagnol’s world.

10 things to do around La Treille

1/ Fall in love with a terracotta creation from the Poterie Ravel
2/ Enjoy the charm of staying in a Provençal house at the Bastide des Escourches
3/ Get an insider’s view of a prestigious army corps by visiting the Foreign Legion Museum
4/ Visit the Château des Creissauds and its many attractions (presentation of the Ferroni house, tour of the rum and whisky cellars, tour of the pastis maceration and ageing room, bar in the trees, etc.).
5/ Brush up on your classics and Pagnol’s works with a visit to the Château de la Buzine, the famous ‘Château de ma mère’.
6/ Climb Garlaban massif to reach the cross, then go in search of the Garlaban engravings.
7/ Follow the interpretation trail at Domaine de la Font de Mai
8/ Join an expert on a guided tour of the village of La Treille and follow in the footsteps of Marcel Pagnol
9/ Take a seat under the shade of the plane trees at the Cigalon restaurant to discover traditional Provençal cuisine.
10/ Practice responsible tourism by staying at the Garlaban campsite, which offers unusual accommodation in cabins, ecolodges or habitable wooden huts.

How do I get to La Treille?

The 12s bus will take you directly to the village of La Treille: just get off at the ‘Métro la Timone’ bus stop and get off at the ‘La Treille’ terminus.