After having moved to Marseille, Julia Child and her husband Paul decided to take a trip along the southern French coast toward Cannes. They stopped for a picnic near La Ciotat, a small fishing village at the time. Today, tourists find La Ciotat appealing and maybe it is second only to Cassis for a day trip from Marseille.
One day I joined Paul for a business trip to Cannes, which was about four hours east of Marseille by car. We took six hours, in order to explore the windy side roads. What a beautiful countryside. The hills rising from the coast were all golden with flowering mimosa. In a little beach town called La Ciotat, where Charlie and Paul had visited in the 1920s, we stopped for a picnic lunch on the edge of the sea. We sat in the hot sun on flat rocks in a strong breeze. —Julia Child, My Life in France.
La Ciotat has some historical significance: it is said that pétanque was invented there, and the Lumière brothers, among the first filmmakers in history, filmed one of the earliest films there L’Arrivée d’un Train en Gare de la Ciotat, or “The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat,” and Napoleon, as a captain of the artillery, had stayed in a house in La Ciotat during the 4th and 5th of September in 1793 while preparing the siege of Toulon.
Taking the #69 bus from Marseille to La Ciotat is simple once one locates the Halte routière Sud bus stop near Place Castellane. It is on a side street at 11 Rue du Rouet, across from Cantini Medical if one looks on Google Maps. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
I would not recommend taking the train to La Ciotat and expecting a regular, frequent bus service to the town center. But wait, there’s more!