The scenic route of the "Train de la Côte Bleue" with an approximately length of 70 kilometers between Miramas and Marseille Saint-Charles via Port-de-Bouc is considered as one of the most beautiful railway lines in southern France. During the 80-minute journey 23 tunnels and 18 viaducts are passed. If you start the journey in Miramas, sit on the left to enjoy the appearance of the "Etang de Lavalduc" and the "Etang d'Engrenier". Shortly before Martigues the "Canal de Caronte" is crossed. It connects the Gulf of Fos in the Mediterranean Sea to the largest lake in France, the "Étang de Berre".
The most beautiful part of the journey is undoubtedly between Martigues and L'Estaque. There you enjoy right hand almost throughout a great view of the Mediterranean Sea, while the existing limestone hills "Chaîne de l'Estaque" can be admired on the other side. From the stop Niolon you also have a panoramic view of Marseille.
Tickets and Prices
The trains on the "Ligne de la Côte Bleue" are operated by the SNCF (French Railways). The price of a train ticket one-way from Miramas to Marseille St. Charles via Port-de-Bouc is about EUR 10 (March 2015).
Between 1 July and 30 September, the SNCF offers the "Pass Bermuda". This ticket offers unlimited trips for only EUR 6 on the line of the "Train de la Côte Bleue" during one day of the weekend or public holidays.
In August two people can take as many trips on the "Ligne de la Côte Bleue" during one day (weekdays and weekend) for EUR 10.
If you want to travel outside of main season or use the TER trains in this region more often, the purchase of a "Carte Zou" may be worth (issued at the ticket counter, passport photo required).
Zou Carte: 50%-75%: for EUR 15 (under 26 years) or EUR 30 (for 26 years and older), the cardholder gets on every ride in the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur 50% discount off the regular price, and may take up to three companions which also benefit from this discount. 75% discount applies to a by yourself set of route (only available in packs of ten).
Carte Zou: Pass: for EUR 15 per day one person is allowed to have unlimited trips on TER trains in a selected département of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region (offer valid from 01.06.-30.09.).
Tickets are available at the blue ticket machines "Billetterie Régionale" (payment with coins and/or credit card) and at all ticket offices of the SNCF.
Sights along the "Ligne de la Côte Bleue"
Along this route you have the option for several interesting stops and excursions.
- Port-de-Bouc: small, remarkable fishing port near the train station
- Martigues: worth seeing downtown, because of the many canals, the city is also known as the "Venice of Provence"
- Sausset-les-Pins: beautiful harbor and beach promenade near the train station
- Carry-le-Rouet: "Calanque des Eaux Salées" with the famous "Viaduc des Eaux Salées", from the Carry-le-Rouet train station turn left, follow the signs for "La Plage du Rouet", then towards "Calanque of Eaux Salées". At the "Tunnel de Matheron" turn right into the small path (stairs!), now just follow the rail tracks to the viaduct (approximately 1h).
- La-Redonne Ensuès: "Calanque of Anthénors" signposted from the nice harbor with the "Viaduc de la Redonne" (approximately 15 minutes).
- Niolon: "Calanque de Niolon", directly below the railway station, panoramic views of Marseille.
- L'Estaque: panoramic view of Marseille and its large harbor.
Train tickets for France
Train tickets for France are available online via Trainline or SNCF. Also at ticket machines and stations.