We tested for you: Odyssey in Provence treasure hunt

Awaken the adventurer in you! Rest assured, there is no question of diving or climbing, but just observation and spotting.
"My Explore Bag" - as the name suggests - is a backpack, a good pair of sneakers and a smartphone. So, are you ready to go on an adventure ?

We dared to take up the challenge and we tested it for you !

Scheduled departure from the Martigues Tourist Office, we collect the backpack.

The "My explore bag" backpack contains a closed envelope entitled "Une Odyssée en Provence". We decide to open it on the spot. It contains a compass, four black and white photographs, 3D glasses, a large format sheet with symbols and numbers, the explorer's guide, a very nice notebook, a pen for taking notes and of course, the rules of the game All in a sustainable approach since everything is made of recycled paper and the backpack in hessian. Everything is ours, we don't give anything back at the end of the game (neither the backpack!).
First watchword : Unsheathe our smartphone and connect to the messenger.
  •  - © Otmartigues - KarimK

A few tips before you start
the "An Odyssey in Provence" treasure hunt

- Be equipped with good shoes (count 5.30km of walking)

- Recharge your phone before leaving (or have an external battery)

- Cap and water bottle on summer days / Hat and scarf on winter days
(yes, the treasure hunt is done all year round!)

- Connect to the messenger before leaving to chat with the chatbot.
He will serve as our guide in our quest.

- Read the rules issued by your traveling companion (allow 15 minutes)

- Essential tip: Know how to use a compass (you will need it!)

Here we go !

Local explorers (us!) Were called in to help re-map Provence by highlighting the best areas of interest. Being very playful, they have deliberately omitted to trace an important element….
Our mission ? Collect all the clues to trace it on the last page of the explorers guide.
  •  - © Otmartigues - MyriamF
  •  - © Otmartigues - SergeT

On the way to our first destination: The Théâtre de Verdure.

Along the quay, we see many boats moored here, and the maritime shuttle that connects the three districts. We will borrow it on the way back, I promise!

On the way, we meet the statues "The fisherman and the mender", one of the curiosities of Martigues;
and we succumb to the urge to take some pictures.

Located near the Etang de Berre, the Théâtre de Verdure stands proudly (and all in bloom!). It is surrounded by more than 70 trees and 27 Mediterranean plant species. This open-air theater is a place of festivities where shows and concerts take place throughout the summer season. But above all, it is a peaceful place where locals like to get together for a well-deserved break. It’s not yet time for us to rest, we hasten to notify our chatbot friend that we have arrived.

This is where the word explorer takes on its full meaning (we leave you with a surprise!).
  •  - © Otmartigues - SergeT
  •  - © Otmartigues - SergeT
  •  - © Otmartigues - SergeT
  •  - © Otmartigues - SergeT

Some tips and recommendations
to enjoy the Ferrières (Martigues) district:

- Take the time to observe the panorama in front of you. Can you recognize the Sainte-Victoire mountain?

- Right next to the Théâtre de Verdure is Ferrières beach (sandy beach in the city center). From June to September, straw huts are open for lunch and dinner. Let yourself be tempted by dishes, burgers, salads, pancakes, ice cream, cold or hot drinks…. To eat on the sand, in the garden or on the terrace.

- Stop at the Ziem museum (admission is free year round) located at Boulevard du 14 Juillet
(500m - 7 minutes walk from the Théâtre de Verdure)

- In the same district, is the Théâtre des Salins.
What if we looked to see if a performance was scheduled for the next few evenings?

- And like us, take your selfie with the statues of the fisherman and the mender,
and share your photo with #martiguestourisme

Once all the answers are in our pocket (don't worry, the questions are not blocking. Our chatbot friend will not penalize you), we get the first clue that we put aside.
  •  - © Otmartigues - SergeT

Head to the Ile district.

Note: The treasure hunt can be done out of order (there is no recommended direction).

The route takes us to the tip of the Island, say "La pointe San Crist".

Along the quai Toulmond, we stop in front of the fresco by Guillaume Bottazzi. World famous, we are fortunate to have one of his works in Martigues. Its colors warm our hearts, we take a few minutes to analyze it and make our own interpretation.

Another world-famous work awaits us on San Christ Point, "219.5 ° Arc x 15" by Bernar Vernet. We go to the end of the point - imagined as the prow of a boat - to admire this exceptional panorama. From the point, the passengers of the maritime shuttle (free) wave to us.

Once again, our fellow traveler puts us to the test. We must, here, observe our environment several times (we still have to agree on what we see).
In the distance, we can see the Calen, one of the last traditional fishing grounds. It is also an ancestral fishing practice still alive in Martigues. We're not telling you more just yet (we don't want to spoil the suspense!).

Once the second clue has been collected (and which we carefully note down), we meet at the next point of interest: The famous Bird Mirror.
  •  - © Otmartigues - SergeT
  •  - © Otmartigues - SergeT

But before that ….

Let's go say hello to our friends Bourvil and Fernandel. Immortalized in the heart of the Ile district, this bronze work echoes a scene from the film "La Cuisine au Beurre". The film was shot in Martigues and in particular at the Maison en chapeau de gendarme which is located just opposite.

We won't have the chance to have a drink with them, but we still take the time to take some pictures.

Some tips and recommendations
so as not to miss anything in the Ile district (Martigues):

- At midday or in the evening, take a well-deserved break in one of the restaurants located nearby (on the quay, on the Place de la Liberation, near the Miroir aux Oiseaux…. You have the choice!) .

- At the foot of the blue bridge, admire the boats of the Venetian rowers of Martigues,
a sporting activity that is still very popular with us!

- Quai Toulmond, admire the fresco by Guillaume Bottazzi,
a pretty painting 10 meters high by 8 meters wide.

- In the heart of the Ile district, there is also the Louis Aragon media library. Book lovers will be able to stop there (free entry, compulsory health pass).

- The house in a gendarme's hat is an atypical house that can be recognized by its shape, and which has inspired many painters and photographers.
We also see it in the movie "The Butter Kitchen", it was used as a restaurant.

- Strike a pose alongside actors Bourvil and Fernandel and share your photo on #martiguestourisme. You will see, the details are startling!

Here we are at the Miroir aux Oiseaux.
The emblematic site of Martigues highlights the traditional boats and houses with colorful facades. This water point has inspired many painters including Félix Ziem and Duffy who have made a pretty Provencal representation of it.
  •  - © Otmartigues - KarimK
  •  - © Otmartigues - SergeT
  •  - © Otmartigues - SergeT
  •  - © Otmartigues - KarimK
Here, another accessory available in the backpack will be essential…. This will allow us to learn the history of this place. Our sense of direction (and observation) will come in handy in getting to an adjacent location. This is where you should spend a little more time because one detail that is well hidden will make you lose your mind. Clue number 3 recovered, we are on our way to the end of the game.

If you would like to stroll around the Ile district a little longer, we invite you to take a detour to Rue République to take advantage of the open shops, and also visit the following tourist sites:

- The archaeological showcase of Martigues will take you back to the Middle Ages and in particular to the time of the Gauls.

- Enter the Sainte Marie-Madeleine church (and observe its architectural details)
because it is one of the most beautiful in Martigues
- Stroll on the Place de la Liberation, walk along its canals, and get closer
the monument of Étienne Richaud (son and grandson of a fisherman, he was the first Governor General of Indochina).
We change neighborhood to go to Jonquières. This district is considered to be the main city center of Martigues by its large number of traders.

  •  - © Otmartigues - MyriamF
  •  - © Otmartigues - MyriamF
  •  - © Otmartigues / MyriamF
  •  - © Otmartigues - SergeT

Welcome to the Cours de Martigues

On the Cours du 4 Septembre, you can take the opportunity to sit on the terrace of a café under the plane trees, and take a well-deserved break. Not sure that after enjoying the typical Provence atmosphere, you would want to leave anytime soon! The opportunity to linger on the explorer's guide and answer the first question asked.

The next clue is just a few meters from the Cours, we have no trouble finding it.
The Jonquières district has a course dotted with a fountain that makes a little more reference to Provence, which is all the more pleasant.

By following what our digital guide tells us, we find ourselves in the shopping street of the district. The opportunity to do some shopping (or scouting) before continuing our quest. The clues given speak for themselves, we will not reveal anything to you except to strongly advise you to enter the heart of the Chapelle de l'Annonciade. It’s a little gem in the heart of Martigues!
  •  - © Otmartigues - KarimK
  •  - © Otmartigues - KarimK
  •  - © Otmartigues - KarimK
  •  - © Otmartigues - KarimK
After answering a few questions, we retrieve the fourth clue.
It is time for us to carry over the clues found on our explorers guide.

The reconstruction of the 4 clues allows us to form a fifth hidden GPS point.
After several tests, we finally manage to locate a precise point in Martigues (if you are not located in the city center of Martigues, it is because the combination of the numbers is not the right one .... Courage, you are there are almost!). But before we get there ...

Some tips to discover
in the Jonquières district (Martigues):

- Take the time to stop at the Cours du 4 Septembre for a drink, a snack (or lunch!), And soak up the atmosphere of Provence.
- Meet at our master pastry chef "Les perles de l'Etang" for a well-deserved treat (the sign is located on the Cours).
- If you prefer to taste an artisanal ice cream, stop at "Gelateria Arnaldo" (shopping street, Rue Lamartine) or "Les Glaces Martégales" at the entrance of the Course.
- We offer you an improvised (and free) visit of the Chapelle de l'Annonciade, the doors of which reopened in 2015 after 22 years of restoration.
We take the opportunity to take the free maritime shuttle and go to our last meeting point. Here we have to look for a symbolic object and map part of the map.

Our mission ends here. We have solved part of the Odyssey in Provence!
  •  - © Otmartigues - SergeT
You will have noticed that the common thread is water. Each clue was placed near a water point, and the same pattern will be repeated for the other three cities. All that remains is to reach the towns of Istres, Salon-de-Provence and Miramas-le-Vieux. No need to chain the 4 cities in a weekend (it takes 2 days to complete the quest), we can resume the game whenever we want.

If you too want to join the My explore bag adventure and become an explorer of Provence, get the backpack and…. Good luck !