The first Calanques National Park visitor centre soon opens its doors
With 3 million visitors a year, the National Park is delighted to soon be able to welcome, in a dedicated venue, visitors, children, schoolchildren and anyone interested in the unique biodiversity, hidden treasures and environmental issues of the Calanques.
A visitor centre is an essential place for a National Park. All over the world, visitor centres welcome the public to share and discuss the riches of the territory, the best ways to discover them, as well raise awareness to the threats biodiversity faces.
A heritage site once again accessible to all
The first visitor centre will take residence in an emblematic 18th-century country house, located at the very entrance to the core area of Calanques National Park in La Ciotat. Indeed, this La Ciotat heritage gem once belonged to Michel Simon, a legendary theater and movie actor of the 20th century. Michel Simon was an environmental protection pioneer as well.
Sold to the town of La Ciotat by the actor's heirs, focus of a great deal of attention from the cultural world over the last ten years, the Michel Simon Villa was entrusted to Calanques National Park in 2020 to create a venue for welcoming the public and raising awareness on the environment.
A large-scale project is currently underway to restore this historic site, refit its interior spaces and redevelop the rich network of hiking trails that offer spectacular views of the sea and the cliffs of La Ciotat.
What will be there to find at the visitor centre?
- A museum area
- Guided tours
- Discovery itineraries
- School workshops
- Activities and film screenings
- A space dedicated to the memory of Michel Simon
- Numerous other initiatives organised with the partners of the National Parks
Take part in the refitting of the future National Park visitor centre!
Bringing this historic site back to public life is everyone's business! To celebrate nature and the memory of its former owner, Calanques National Park is inviting you, proud inhabitant of La Ciotat, lover of the Calanques or admirer of Michel Simon, to contribute to the refitting of the villa. Join us and make a donation..
If you wish to donate with a French check, download, print and send the donation coupon on this flyer.
Every little bit counts!
Don't miss out: in France and as an individual, 66% of your donation is tax deductible (to up to 20% of your taxable income).
This crowdfunding is organised in partnership with the Fondation du patrimoine.
The restoration of the Villa is supported by the département des Bouches-du-Rhône, the plan France Relance financed by the European Union and the ministère de la Transition écologique et de la cohésion des territoires.
Other visitor centres are being planned to welcome visitors entering from the Marseille side of the National Park.