Les Goudes, a village in the city

Deep in Marseille's 8th arrondissement, at the end of a winding road that seems to lead nowhere, Les Goudes is a cluster of cottages and villas built around a tiny traditional fishing port. When you first see the little village round a bend in the road, you really feel as if you've left the city of Marseille. And yet, this formerly industrial site, which has now become a tourist hotspot thanks to its authenticity and the small-scale neighbourhood life that has developed there, is very much a Marseille! Visitors are regularly reminded of this by the smiles and lilting accents of its inhabitants. Les Goudes is also one of the gateways to the Calanques National Park. As you continue along the road to the Baie des Singes, opposite Maïre Island, you really get the feeling of arriving at the end of the world. Follow the guide, we'll tell you all about this unique place.

When you arrive at Les Goudes, you feel as if you've left Marseille.

- © MortenHeiselberg / Shutterstock
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The history of Les Goudes

Les Goudes has long been a small fishing port. It was once a freshwater supply point for passing ships. In 1720, the village was even a place of refuge for crews suffering from the plague. In 1804, the first soda factory was built, occupying the entire bottom of the Anse des Goudes.

In the mid-19th century, lead ore was imported via the port of Marseille, and it was decided to set up a lead factory in Les Goudes due to its low population density. The industrial potential was so great that a railway line was planned in 1875 to link Les Goudes to the centre of Marseille. This project never came to fruition, but a tramway line was inaugurated between the village and the Madrague de Montredon, before the construction of the winding road.

The small fishing port of Les Goudes.

- © emka74 / Shutterstock

The lead industry went into crisis only a few years later, and the factory was destroyed in 1879. The tramway remained in operation, however, enabling a few yachtsmen to settle in Les Goudes in makeshift dwellings known as cabanons. Gradually, the area gained in popularity, and the "city folk" began to take an interest in this enchanting setting. Today, luxury villas stand side by side with the typical little cabanons, and the tramway has disappeared. There are also a few military relics from the Second World War dotted around Les Goudes and the surrounding creeks.

What to do in Les Goudes

At the very end of the winding road that runs alongside the sea, just before the Calanques National Park, the village of Les Goudes is a must-see at least once. Often inaccessible during the summer because of the road traffic that accumulates on the only access road, it is a quiet village in a dream setting that you can discover out of season.

The Baie des Singes is accessible from Les Goudes.

- © EA Photography / Shutterstock

In Les Goudes, stroll through the picturesque village streets and the small fishing port. There is also a small beach where you can enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean. Many restaurants serve fresh fish, which you can enjoy with a view of the sea. After lunch, continue the walk along Cap Croisette to the famous Baie des Singes, which looks like a film set. A small restaurant below, a tiny beach and a handful of cottages make this protected cove a must-see. Bring trainers and a swimming costume, and avoid windy days.

The port of Callelongue at the end of Les Goudes.

- © eric laudonien / Shutterstock

If you continue straight ahead on the winding road instead of turning right to reach the village of Les Goudes, you will come to Callelongue. Here you'll find a restaurant and a few private homes, but this little port built into the limestone rock is above all the gateway to the calanques. Numerous hiking trails start here before branching out to cover the whole of the National Park. Just an hour's walk away, the calanque of Marseilleveyre has a small beach combining sand and pebbles, surrounded by scrubland.

Sleep in a cottage in the heart of Les Goudes

Charming Cabanon in Les Goudes with sea view Marseille
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Charming Cabanon in Les Goudes with sea view

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Practical information for Les Goudes

Les Goudes is the very end of the world in Marseille, and a must-see when visiting the city. Plan to spend a day there to take full advantage of the authentic village and the unique nature that surrounds it.

📍 How do I get to Les Goudes?

A single winding road leads to Les Goudes so many tourists take their private cars to reach the village, which creates a lot of traffic jams as soon as the fine weather arrives.

A small bus operated by the metropolis also uses this road, line 20, but the last journey from Les Goudes to the town centre is at 8pm, so you won't be able to have dinner there.

There is also a shuttle bus service to the end of the Marseilles world, costing €5 to get to Les Goudes from the Pointe Rouge and €8 from the Vieux Port.

Map of Les Goudes.

- © Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock

🍴 Our favourite restaurant in Les Goudes

Tuba Club is a hotel-restaurant on the road to Les Goudes that's well worth a visit. A white décor on the rock dressed with hints of orange and pop touches houses rooms and a restaurant fit to satiate marine cravings: casarecce with clams, fish grilled in a rock broth, grilled supions, and gourmet desserts like this lemon-pistachio cracker chou or an iced white chocolate panna cotta. Worth trying!

A few tips for your visit

  • Les Goudes is very busy at weekends and in summer, so there can be several hours of traffic jams to get there and back. If possible, go during the week out of season, or take the maritime shuttle.
  • On the same principle, book your table at the restaurant in advance if you plan to come on a busy day.
  • If you venture into the calanques around Les Goudes, please follow the safety instructions and do not damage the site.
by Faustine PEREZ
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