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Nerthe hill discovery hike

Sport, Pedestrian sports, Hiking itinerary in Marseille 16ème
7.9 km
4h
  • Between the Etang de Berre and the Estaccian seaside, here we are in the Nerthe hills above Marseille.

  • A hike that takes in the heights of the village of l'Estaque, the hamlet of La Nerthe, the Galline chapel and photogenic industrial remains.

    Although access by car is possible along the 3-kilometre-long Chemin de la Nerthe, parking spaces are scarce, isolated and unsupervised. So it's best to take the RTM 36 bus, which drops you off at the "La Nerthe" terminus, and to consider the start of the walk up the Chemin de la Nerthe as a good warm-up before reaching the starting point of the...
    A hike that takes in the heights of the village of l'Estaque, the hamlet of La Nerthe, the Galline chapel and photogenic industrial remains.

    Although access by car is possible along the 3-kilometre-long Chemin de la Nerthe, parking spaces are scarce, isolated and unsupervised. So it's best to take the RTM 36 bus, which drops you off at the "La Nerthe" terminus, and to consider the start of the walk up the Chemin de la Nerthe as a good warm-up before reaching the starting point of the itinerary.

    The actual starting point is in front of the chapel of Notre-Dame de la Nerthe (la Galline) (1).

    The chapel is dominated by several sections of wall, reminiscent of the (ruined) Château de la Nerthe, built in medieval times.
    Further along, on the right, you'll see the last farm in the area. Continuing along the main road, you pass an anti-tank wall built in 1943 by the Germans to protect access to the nearby quarries. After a handsome manor house and garden (2), the remains of two cement pillars (3), framing a passageway, are revealed in the greenery. This is the entrance to Domaine de Cossimont. Take the tarmac road to the right. Pass the main entrance to the Lafarge quarries. From here, it's a 15-minute walk to the Cossimont ruins.

    The industrial remains of La Nerthe and the Cossimont estate

    All around you, a garrigue landscape, and on the left you'll probably see a short brick chimney (4).

    After a slight climb along an olive grove, you'll see the ruins of the Domaine de Cossimont (5) on your left as you round a bend. Follow this path, regularly used by the Rove goats! In fact, very close to the ruins, you'll have a view of the land of one of the last goatherds.

    Leave the estate under the plane trees (there's a well on the right), then take the path to the left, which runs alongside a tiled wall. Go past the remains of a masonry entrance fence, leaving the lone cypress tree on your left, and take the narrow path upwards (6). On your right are the remains of a sheepfold. Follow the path up and then down to a DFCI track.

    At a bend in the road, take a small path that climbs up on the left (a shortcut) to rejoin the DFCI track a little further on.

    On the left, pass a square building. Enjoy the view over the hills, olive groves, harbor and the large commercial port of Marseille. The highest point is a large round median (7). Cross it and follow a small path along a ridge and down to a DFCI track.

    At a hairpin bend (8), go straight ahead on a narrow path that leads back to the Chemin de la Nerthe and the Chapelle de la Galline, passing the remains of an old German bunker.
  • Departure
    Marseille 16ème
  • Difference in height
    331 m
  • Environment
    • Sea view
    • Panoramic view
  • Spoken languages
    • French
  • Documentation
    GPX / KML files allow you to export the trail of your hike to your GPS (or other navigation tool)
Points of interest
2 Last farm in the sector
It has several buildings: a pigsty, a henhouse, a vegetable garden, the dwelling and a wheat threshing floor.
dernière_exploitation_agricole©hkotcm.jpg
3 Masonry remains
The remains of two cement pillars framing a passageway. This is the entrance to the Domaine de Cossimont.
entree_maconnee_cossimont©hkotcm (2).jpg entree_maconnee_cossimont©hkotcm (1).jpg
4 Short brick fireplace
This is one of 24 chimneys on the Avignon-Marseille SNCF line, the tunnel of which runs under the Nerthe hills. Each chimney actually covers an access shaft that was used to dig the tunnel.
cheminée©hkotcm.jpg
5 Domaine de Cossimont
The ruined architecture is a nostalgic reminder of the working-class occupation of these hills. The current buildings stand on a huge estate whose origins date back to the 18th century. At the instigation of the Marquis de Marignane, a hunting lodge was built. No trace of this remains. The estate was developed at the beginning of the 20th century, following the division of the property of Pierre Sacoman, a tile manufacturer, in 1902. Then Société Coloniale des Chaux et Ciments de Portland acquired the site. Its director, André Lindenmeyer, is said to have lived there from 1913, and the estate is said to have supplied fruit and vegetables to the cement works workers. This is a unique example of a large-scale farm.

In the early 1950s, Mr Lindenmeyer made the buildings accessible to his employees, and a day-care centre was set up to the delight of the workers' children. For almost 25 years, the children of Estacia spent unforgettable holidays in this corner of paradise. A shuttle bus would leave from the bottom of the village and make several stops to pick up the children. It was like a long journey for them! In 1980, the site was no longer in use. The Lafarge company, which owned the entire estate as well as the "La Coloniale" installations (factories, cement works, administrative buildings scattered around the Riaux district) had the roof at Cossimont demolished, subject to a very high tax. The first demolitions took place, followed by abandonment.

The estate's buildings were built on three terraces. All the features of a wealthy farm can be seen: an avenue of plane trees, a large field, remnants of a garden and orchard. A long line of trees can be seen
Of course, it takes imagination to see it all! But the Cossimont estate remains intact in the collective memory of the people of Estaqué, and today it's a walk in the footsteps of childhood memories.
tuile_sacoman©hkotcm.jpg Cossimont©hkotcm.jpg cossimont_bâtiments©hkotcm.jpg chevres_et_cossimont©hkotcm.jpg
6 Clarification of the path to follow
Here is the point with the isolated cypress tree and the narrow path that climbs up in front of you. On your right are the remains of a sheepfold. Follow the path up and then down to a DFCI track.
ruines_bergerie_et_cossimont©hkotcm.jpg
7 Large open area
This is the highest point with a beautiful view over the harbour and the port of Marseille.
hauteurs_nerthe_vue_gpmm©hkotcm.jpg
8 Hairpin bend
This is the starting point of a tiny path that drops off to the left of the anti-tank wall. On this last stretch of path, you will come across the remains of a bunker and you will also have a good view of the ruins of the Château de la Nerthe, which overlook the chapel of Notre-Dame de la Nerthe (la Galline).
hameau_de_la_nerthe©hkotcm.jpg IMG-20210508-WA0007.jpg sentier_descente_hameau_nerthe©hkotcm.jpg
331 meters of difference in height
  • Maximum altitude : 275 m
  • Minimum altitude : 33 m
  • Total positive elevation : 331 m
  • Total negative elevation : -167 m
  • Max positive elevation : 72 m
  • Min positive elevation : -34 m
Services
  • Services
    • Pets welcome
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