Port-de-Bouc, Bouches-du-Rhône, France

Port-de-Bouc is a French commune, located in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône in the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Its inhabitants are called the Port-de-Boucains.

Port-de-Bouc is located at the mouth of the Caronte canal which connects the pond of Berre to the Gulf of Fos and to the Mediterranean. The town is also the point of arrival of the Arles to Bouc navigation canal.

A peninsula juts out towards the Mediterranean Sea, facing the imposing stature of Fort de Bouc, which majestically watches over the incessant ballet of fishing and pleasure boats. From navy blue to hill green, the visitor will be seduced by these precious assets, which make up the wealth of this pretty Port d’Attache.

Port de Bouc has been able to promote the energies of the sea in its economic development and its leisure activities. The presence of an exceptional seafront and several wooded areas has made it possible to preserve a pleasant living environment in this territory, where cultural diversity enriches everyday life and colors human relations.

Port-de-Bouc was originally several hamlets located in the municipalities of Fos and Martigues. Port-de-Bouc is mentioned as Portus de Boc in 1147.

Napoleon Bonaparte ordered in 1805 the development of the port and the city, by imperial decree; but in 1820, only the pier was completed, and the plans established were never carried out. Alexandre Dumas, who visited the site in 1834, found only “three houses, two of which were closed for lack of tenants, and the third of which transformed into an inn”. The September 2, 1866, Port-de-Bouc became a municipality by dismembering the municipalities of Fos and Martigues.

Embracing the sea, the city asserts its industrial and maritime vocation, it becomes sea land. The art of boats and the transformation of energies from the sea has found its home port. In 1850 for the development of the commercial port, as well as industrial activities such as the salt works, the lead factory, we are in 1876 for the installation of the Cabissol de la Lèque cod dryer, we are in 1894 for the opening of the “La Phocéenne” oil refinery. In 1899, at the door of the xx th century the Building and Workshops Provence, specialized in shipbuilding are implanted in Port-de-Bouc. A few years later, two chemical products factories, Saint-Gobain and Kuhlman, also chose Port-de-Bouc.

In 1944, as soon as the town was liberated, the population, with the help of the American allies, carried out the rehabilitation of the port, and from the end of August 1944, Port-de-Bouc was the first French port in the Mediterranean to welcome the Liberty Ships, and subsequently Toulon and Marseille, one of the three Allied Supply Ports. FinallySeptember 1944, Port-de-Bouc had already received 23 ships with 37,400 tonnes of equipment and 50,740 m 3 of fuels unloaded. Port-de-Bouc was the first French port in the Mediterranean for the unloading of fuels facilitating a rapid advance of Allied troops in the Rhône valley. An oil pipeline started onSeptember 10, 1944connected Lyon in November which allowed a rapid supply and freed the railways and road for other goods.

In 1946, archaeologist and historian Fernand Benoit began underwater excavations of Fos and its gulf, and discovered the remains of a submerged city which extended to the approaches to the town of Port-de-Bouc. This city has been renamed the “engulfed Fos” due to its geographical proximity to the city of Fos. It was discovered that a tribe had been living since the 16th century thanks to the architecture of the dwellings discovered in the remains of the city. However, this mysterious lost city has never been inhabited, nor even built by man. The divers found remains of buildings but no precious objects, pottery, or any trace of humanity. By carefully studying the composition of construction materials, the researchers of Fernand Benoit’s team have still not succeeded in solving this mystery.

In summer 1947, an event marked the city of Port-de-Bouc forever: 4,500 passengers of the Exodus, Holocaust survivors, remained parked for three weeks on board three cage boats of the British navy in the harbor. from Port-au-Bouc. Standoff between the two nations, France and England, a chain of solidarity is organized by the Port de Boucains around refugee and France refuses to force passengers survived the concentration camps of two of world war get off the boats, passengers who were supposed to reach the land of Palestine. His refugees were transferred by the British back to deportee camps in Germany. It was not until 1948, after the establishment of the State of Israel, that a first part of the passengers of the Exodus reached Palestine.

During this period, the population increases and diversifies. It acquires there its status as a hospitable city. In 1966, the city recorded 14,000 inhabitants from all walks of life: French, Spanish, Maltese, Italians, Greeks… First fracture, which occurred in 1966, the Chantiers et Ateliers de Provence, which forged the identity of the city, whose streets still bear indelible traces today, are closing their doors after bankruptcy and bankruptcy. The Provence car ferry, the last ship built, is towed to La Ciotat for finishing, despite striking workers doing everything to prevent its departure. A major economic development which destabilizes the whole city. Two thousand jobs disappear then. In the 1970s the whole region saw the prospect of the gigantic industrial complex of Fos-sur-Mer. Thousands of jobs are expected to be created. Lorraine steelworkers are arriving in the region, determined to contribute to the promised development.

Port-de-Bouc has land reserves, and pushed by the national authorities is facing the arrival of 7,500 new inhabitants by building reception infrastructure. This hope for the city and for all the families lasted only a few years. Disillusionment arose in 1975 with the cessation of development of the ZI de Fos, closely followed by the steel industry crisis which immediately hit the units of Solmer and Ugine Acier.

Last public auction in the entire PACA region for the sale of fish, the Halle à Marée must close its doors in december 2009, followed a few years later by Copemart which marketed blue fish. From now on, the fishing activity in Port-de-Bouc has become almost non-existent. Neighbor of activities related to fishing, boating; the port is home to boats from all over Europe.

The urban requalification undertaken over the past ten years has given Port-de-Bouc a new face. While improving the living environment of Port-de-Boucains, the attractiveness of the city has increased.

Guide Tour
Port de Bouc is a fine example of successful conversion, which continues its history with the sea… Its maritime identity endures through time and characterizes its economic development around the marine trades: maritime and port services, sale and processing of sea products. In summer, the Tourist Office organizes guided tours, highlighting the local maritime expertise.

Lamanage Cooperative Society
Little is known about the mooring activity, yet it is an essential port service for safety, which consists of retrieving the moorings of ships on their arrival in port, using specialized boats, transferring them to the quayside and to position them on the bollard (or mooring post). The dockers work on all port traffic, on arrival and departure of freight, oil and cruise ships.

Mooring co-operative society
The activity of the mooring is not known, it’s an essential port security service, which recovers vessel on arrival at the port, using specialty boats, transferring to the port and positioning to the bollard. The mooring society is involved on all port traffic, the arrival and departure of cargo goods, petroleum tanker or cruise lines.

Pilot Station
The pilots have a public service mission organized by the State, which determines the conditions of their activity, and in particular the mandatory area of their intervention. They assist the captain of the vessels by advising on the maneuver to carry in the Golfe de Fos. Overview of the operation of the Steering Service, the particular status of Professional Union, followed by the visit of the Vigie and a pilot boat (fast boat used to transport pilots to board the ships).

Mediterranean Maritime Services Company (MSM) – Anse Aubran district
Created at the start of 2001 in the built-up area of Port de Bouc to take over a harbor activity in the Port de Bouc / Fos sur Mer sector (provisioning of ships, crew relief, etc.), this company has diversified by building ” a ship maintenance workshop and the development of coastal towing. In 2007, it launched a passenger cruiser activity operated under the “Navettes Provençales” banner.

Star of the SNSM of Martigues (National Society for Rescue at Sea) – Pont Van Gogh
The Martigues Rescue Station is made up of 25 volunteers, always ready to intervene in less than 15 minutes, to bring rescue and assistance to anyone in difficulty at sea and on the coasts.

Culture heritage
The Arles à Bouc canal, inaugurated in 1834.
The Moralès museum: 600 metal sculptures by Raymond Moralès over 5,000 m 2 of exhibition space.
Archeology: the town is home to some archaeological sites (for example, the oppidum of Castillon) even if very few have been the subject of real excavations.
The statue of Christ 1660-80 listed as historical monuments
The regional nature reserve of Pourra – Domaine du Ranquet

“Sardinades” and Mediterranean specialties
Inaugurated in 1988, the “Sardinades” of Port-de-Bouc are at the origin of a new concept of open-air events, based on conviviality and the promotion of seafood. Over time, the notoriety of the “Sardinades” has gone beyond the borders of the City, making it an unmissable regional summer event, which welcomes an average of 1,500 people per evening, with particularly increased attendance on weekends and holidays, up to 2,500 people.

In the picturesque setting of the Port de Plaisance, a festive village is set up during the two summer months, the town’s restaurateurs and the “Promomer” association welcome guests for a dinner by the sea. On the menu for these summer evenings, a gigantic “Sardinades” and Mediterranean specialties: grilled fish, mussels, prawns, lobster…

Merry-go-round, children’s games, artisanal nights, musical entertainment every evening and evenings with orchestra from Thursday to Sunday evening. As an extension of the “Sardinades” area, many restaurants offer their terrace to visitors, as an invitation to travel around the Mediterranean.

Peninsula park
In summer season: above ground swimming pool on registration, water games, food stands and various activities

The forest of Castillon
A green setting at the gates of the city… A stone’s throw from the Mediterranean shores, the blue of the sea meets the green of the hills. A real oxygen lung, the national forest of Castillon dominates the city and offers visitors a natural wooded area of 288 hectares, which is home to a rich flora and fauna.

The salt ponds, umbrella pines, oaks and all the garrigue of the Provençal south tastefully decorate the city of Port de Boucaine. A protected site, sheltered from real estate operations, it is up to all of us, as responsible citizens, to respect the harmonious life of forest life. It is possible, as long as we all do simple things that are synonymous with a good quality of life.

The forest is beautiful, let’s respect it. Respect the fauna, the flora, and the nesting of animals; pheasants, partridges, rabbits, squirrels, etc… Do not let pets wander. Keep our dogs on a leash. Camping, caravanning and barbecue are prohibited.

The use of fire, in all its forms, is prohibited, the slightest spark being able to cause a fire and destroy the forest. No car, motorbike or moped are allowed on forest roads. Cyclists and mountain bikers must ride with caution, stay off the trails and give priority to pedestrians and riders.

Collect in moderation, mushrooms, asparagus, aromatic plants without devastating the environment, while respecting the reproduction of the species. Picking is only permitted for personal consumption. Let’s use the parking lots reserved for us. Let us leave the emergency access free.

Respect the environment. The Castillon forest is not a garbage can. Let’s keep the pine forest clean, let’s use the baskets made available to everyone. From September to the end of February, on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, hunters use the forest. More than ever, on these days, let’s avoid walking off the marked trails.

Hiking Trails
The national forest of Castillon occupies the northern part of the city and represents an exceptional natural space, rich in Mediterranean flora, populated by many species of birds and flanked by four ponds. Arranged with car parks, equipped with information panels and relaxation areas, this 288 ha forest estate allows the practice of various activities: hiking or running, fitness trail, discovery of natural and historical heritage, hunting, horse riding, mountain biking … And also a family picnic. Concerned about preventing fires and ensuring a pleasant welcome to the public, the ONF regularly undertakes reforestation and lightening actions that promote biodiversity, and particularly highlight the biological, landscape and heritage resources of the forest while respecting his identity.

“Pourra discovery trail” (markings: flamingo) This trail allows you to go in search of an area rich in both natural and heritage terms through a series of thematic panels: the local flora, the pond and the birds that inhabit it, the problem of fires and the regeneration of vegetation, the different types of rocks and the traces of past human activities (stone mining, agriculture, water management). 1.6 km course, overlooking part of the pond of Pourra, accessible to individuals in free visit. Possibility of organizing guided tours for groups by reservation at the Tourist Office.

“Path for people with reduced mobility” Along the rural road for 2 km, this path is accessible to people with reduced mobility, strollers and children’s bicycles. It offers a clear view of the pond of Pourra and the village of St Miter les Remparts and benefits from parking lots and fountains nearby.

“Canal trail” (markings: squirrel) From the equestrian center, this trail allows you to make a 3.6 km loop around the Castillon plateau. It walks partly along the small canal that once supplied Martigues with water (mountain biking allowed).

“Bird trail” (signposting: flamingo) 5.2 km trail that allows you to get as close as possible to the birds of the pond of Pourra and to observe gray herons, mallards, coots, flamingos, shelducks… (MTB allowed).

A pleasant maritime walk of nearly 2 km extends the stroll by the sea to various fine sandy or pebble beaches.

The beach of Aigues Douces
Composed of natural coves – Sports activities on site

The Combattants beach
Sandy beach and toilets accessible to people with reduced mobility – Restaurant on site

Bear beach and Pointe de Vella
Pebble beach – Site of discovery of a “necropolis” of 12 tombs dating from 200 BC. Tennis court nearby

Bottaï Beach
Sandy beach, labeled “Blue Flag” – Restaurant, campsite and nautical base nearby. In summer, a beach monitoring system is set up by the municipality from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Two items of equipment that improve the comfort of people with reduced mobility are available and delivered to the beaches on request from the supervisors: the “Hippocampe” wheelchair facilitating movement on the sand and entering the water and the “Tiralo”, wheelchair amphibious, allowing accompanied swimming.

The Port
Since July 1, 1985, the Port de Plaisance, baptized Port “Renaissance” has been participating in the interest of visitors for Port de Bouc. A real center of activity, it has revived the site of the old shipyards in the heart of the city. Many boaters have chosen it as their home port for its direct access to the sea, its exceptional setting and its efficient services.

All year round, the berths throughout the port are occupied, but from March 1 to August 31, with fine weather, “things are running at full speed”. And of course, it is by the hundreds that visitors discover Port de Bouc by sea.

Year-round tenants, or passenger tenants, three quarters of port users do not live in Port de Bouc (the Port de Boucains owning a boat are, in their majority, members of the Nautical Society and drop anchor there). Temporary or year-round boaters are of various origins. They are linked by sea to the Renaissance port from Holland, Italy, Spain, Belgium… Or even near us Marseille, Hérault or Vaucluse.

The advantages are certain. It is first of all a team which, day and night and from one end of the year to the other, unlike other ports which only operate in season, ensure human surveillance, yachting area and fishing area. Rounds and checks, assiduous and serious boat clockings, which goes from checking a good mooring to safety surveillance. It is a decisive pledge of confidence in the choice of an anchor point for a boat. Especially since all agents are particularly attentive to boaters, give advice, troubleshoot.

Other absolutely positive advantages, the port operates 24 hours a day with a fuel station, open 24 hours a day, and a pulling service ashore operational 7 days a week. Complete maritime and land infrastructure, the marina is a trump card for tourist activity.

Boat trips
Throughout the summer the Tourist Office organizes boat trips from Port de Bouc, lasting 45 minutes to 4 hours depending on the destination. Boarding at L’Estaque for a discovery of the Old Port of Marseille, with an exceptional view of the Mucem, the forts of St Jean and St Nicolas, Notre Dame de la Garde and the provence market… the visit continues towards the famous creeks from Marseille and Cassis