Stèle Henri Fabre

Historic site and monument Memorial
  • Stèle Henri Fabre
  • Stèle Henri Fabre
  • Stèle Henri Fabre
Stèle Henri FabreStèle Henri FabreStèle Henri Fabre


The stele was installed in commemoration of the inventor of the seaplane who accomplished his first flight over the Étang de Berre on 28 March 1910.
Born in Marseilles in 1882 from a family of shipowners, Henri Fabre studied science which destined him to become an engineer. He directed research on the seaplane and created many personal devices.

He set up his studio in Martigues in 1906, on the quai Toulmond (in the Île district), to design his creations there after having acquired the "Essor", a tugboat. He will hire Marius Burdin, mechanic, who will become a major element in his success. After a first unsuccessful attempt, he improved his hydro-aeroplane with flat-bottomed floats which he patented. Several attempts and modifications will follow before the creation of the "duck", at the end of 1909.

On March 28, 1910, Henri Fabre attempted a flight over the Etang de Berre. He hoisted himself aboard the "duck", a hydro-aeroplane with a wingspan of 14 meters and weighing 475 kg. It launches the propeller of the Seguin brothers' 50 horsepower "Gnome" engine. The pilot waves his hand, heads out to sea and revs his engine to full power. The furrows disappear after 300 meters of travel: the plane has risen in the air!

The "duck" then travels 500 meters at a height of 5 meters then lands and returns obediently to its starting point. Henri Fabre takes off from La Mède and lands in Martigues, making the first seaplane flight.

A stele was inaugurated on March 28, 1965, in his presence, to celebrate the 55th anniversary of this historic first flight. On this occasion, the brilliant aviator was made honorary citizen of the city of Martigues.

This workshop has become a restaurant, the Villa Sorriso.
  • categories :
    • Town of Art & History
General information
  • Parking :
    • Parking nearby
  • Environments :
    • In centre of town
    • Town location
    • In the old centre
  • Services :
    • Pets welcome
  • Period :
    • 20th C
Services, Tours, Activities and entertainment
  • Environments :
    • Lakeside or by stretch of water
    • Beach within 300 m
  • Historical patrimony :
    • Historic patrimony
    • Sculpture
  • Accessible to disabled visitors :
    • Reception staff sensitized to the reception of people with disabilities
Stèle Henri Fabre
Quai Kléber
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Phone : +33 4 42 49 03 30
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Free access.
Stèle Henri Fabre
Quai Kléber
GPS coordinates
Latitude : 43.405714
Longitude : 5.057085