Aubagne is located in the Huveaune valley and surrounded by the mountain ranges of Garlaban with Sainte-Baume to the north and Douard to the south 17 km (11 mi) east of Marseille Port.
Aubagne was the main city of the former Agglomeration community of Pays d'Aubagne et de l'Etoile, and is part of the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis since 2016. It is the sixth largest city of the department of Bouches-du-Rhône by population.
It is the main producer of Santon figurines and also hosts many cultural events each year. The French Foreign Legion has its headquarters in Aubagne. Public transport has been free at the point of use since the year 2000.
Access to the commune is by the A50 autoroute from Marseille which continues south to Toulon. The A501 and A52 autoroutes branch off the A50 in the commune and merge to go north to Aix-en-Provence. Numerous departmental roads go through the commune including: the D96 which goes north to Roquevaire, the D2 which goes east to Gémenos, the D8N which comes from Marseilles and goes south-east to Cuges-les-Pins, the D41E which goes south to Cassis, and many other connecting roads within the commune. There are several smaller towns and villages in the commune apart from the main town: Les Arnauds, Les Grands Mellets, Pinchon, La Martelle, L'Agrie, La Coueste, La Thuiliere, and Font de Mai. A large proportion of the commune is urban with mountainous terrain to north and south
The main railway from Marseille passes through the commune splitting into two lines - one going north-west and one going south with a station in the town.
The Huveaune river flows through the commune from the east flowing west into the Mediterranean sea at Prado beach in the 8th Arrondissement in Marseilles.
Regional trains link the Gare d'Aubagne railway station with Marseille and Toulon. Aubagne was the first commune in France to be completely surrounded by autoroutes: the A50 autoroute Marseille-Toulon, the A52 autoroute to Aubagne-Aix-en-Provence, and the connecting motorway A501.
From 2009, Aubagne made bus travel zero-fare.
A 14-kilometre (9-mile), two-line tram network is planned. This project is criticized as it is not common for a city of that size. Line 1 will be from the station to Le Charrel and Line 2 will be from the station to La Penne-sur-Huveaune. Construction started in 2012 for an opening of the first phase in 2014. The tram is a long-term project to be linked with the Marseille tramway.
The tram will also be zero-fare, making it one of the first zero-fare trams in the world with Tallinn.
The death of Queen Joanna I of Naples began a conflict of succession as to who would become the head of the County of Provence. The Union of Aix, a confederation of cities in the region of Provence, supported Charles, Duke of Durazzo, rather than Louis I, Duke of Anjou. By the spring of 1382 the Lord of Aubagne, François des Baux, supported the Duke of Anjou. This support was conditional upon the Duke helping to restore the queen to her throne.
On 4 April 1402 in Brantes, at the foot of Mont Ventoux, and in the presence of his wife Alix des Baux, Odon de Villars bestowed upon his nephew Philippe de Lévis the fiefs of Brantes, Plaisians and their dependencies: the Lordships of Saint-Marcel, Roquefort, le Castellet, Cassis, and Port-Miou which were dependencies of the barony of Aubagne, as well as La Fare-les-Oliviers, and Éguilles. In return, Philippe de Lévis would be surety for Viscount Raymond of Turenne for the agreement between Odon de Villars, his wife Alix, and himself. If Odon and Alix failed to respect the terms of the agreement, they would have to pay 50,000 florins to the viscount.
Between 1965 and 2014, Aubagne has elected three Communist mayors: the municipal council is composed mainly of communist, socialist, and other left-leaning members. Still, a significant portion of the population supports centre, right-of-centre, or even far-right political positions. In the second round of elections in 1988, both a representative of the French Communist Party (Parti communiste), Jean Tardito, and a representative of the far-right National Front party (Front National), Joëlle Melin, were elected. Edmond Garcin, of the Community party, was elected mayor from 1965 to 1987.
In 2001, the resignation of Jean Tardito brought Daniel Fontaine (PCF) to the position of mayor. In 2008 there were 4 candidates in the first round of municipal elections: Daniel Fontaine for The United Left and a civil society, Sylvia Barthelemy for the UMP and the New Centre, Jean-Marie Orihuel for the Democratic Movement, and Joëlle Melin for the National Front. In the second round the United Left, the Civil Society, and the Democratic Movement joined together to form the Left Union list which was renamed the "rainbow". In 2014, the mayorship shifted as Gérard Gazay (UMP) was elected to the position of mayor after an alliance with Sylvia Barthelemy during the second round.
List of Successive Mayors
(Not all data is known)
Agenda 21 sets the terms and conditions for sustainable development in Aubagne which includes providing free public transit, offering a recycling program, encouraging energy conservation and energy demand management, launching awareness campaigns in schools to promote sustainable development and eco-citizenship, and giving incentives for purchasing solar panels. More than 4,000 individual bins and 15,000 recycling bags are available to residents.
The city of Aubagne conducts its environmental, social, and economic policies in collaboration with neighbouring communities to help enhance sustainable development and improve living conditions.
Communal transport: Since 15 May 2009 municipal buses have been free and the Tramway of Aubagne will also be when it opens in 2014. This has reduced the commune's transportation-related ecological footprint: 15% more buses have been put into service, and bus usage has increased by 175%, with 35% of these users from modal shift.
Compiègne and Châteauroux have done the same but with goals that are more socioeconomic: making the centre of town more dynamic, improving buying power, reducing isolation, etc.
In 2010 the commune had 46,423 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.Population change (See database)
Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)
Zones of Activity (ZAC): Paluds, La Martelle (shops: Auchan and others), Napallon Business Park;
Thales Underwater Systems currently has one of two establishments in France at Aubagne. The other is at Brest;
Agriculture: there are farms at various locations in Aubagne (Huveaune Valley, Beaudinard, Napollon);
Ceramic Crafts:: terracotta, Santon figurines; the appearance of domestic nurseries has allowed the development of Santon makers who now continue this art in a dozen workshops;
Janot Distillery: produces its Gambetta syrup and its Janot Pastis in Aubagne;
Sartorius Stedim Biotech: produces biopharmaceutical equipment;
Viticulture: Aubagne is a wine commune located in the geographical areas of IGP Bouches-du-Rhone and the Mediterranean IGP;
Branch office of the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie Marseille-Provence (Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marseille-Provence).
Aubagne is one of the most indebted cities in France. According to the latest report of the Court of Auditors of PACA (July 2013), the debt amounts to 157.6 million Euros. According to a ranking published by Le Journal du Net, Aubagne would place 3rd for debt per head of 3,685 Euros per capita - about 5 times the national average. Only Cannes and Levallois-Perret, much richer communes, are higher. The total indebtedness of 119.9 million euros in 2010 exploded in 2013 to reach EUR 157.6 millon. The debt servicing payments have at the same time multiplied by 3.1 from 8.626 million euros to 26.933 million euros between 2010 and 2011.
The listing for Aubagne by the French Fitch Ratings agency in 2010 was "BBB-": "We have downgraded the city of Aubagne due to a strong presence of structured products, along with a very low savings rate and high debt loads. The rating has changed from "A-" to "BBB-" - the lowest category for this investment type" Subsequently the city has not wanted to pursue the issue of its credit status.
In 2009 Aubagne municipality renegotiated certain loans considered "toxic" which were based on risky products contracted with the ABN AMRO bank (loans now owned by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)). Risky loans have been converted to fixed-rate borrowings: less advantageous but less risky. The Court of Auditors in 2013 noted that these renegotiations resulted in additional financial burden borne by the commune of the order of 50 to 70 million Euros (19 million for the Dexia and Caisse d'Epargne loans and 25 to 43 million for the RBS loan).
Investments in the commune are about half the average for French communes in the same stratum: approximately 13.3% of revenues against 31.4% according to the administrative accounts for the commune in 2012.
Finally the Observatory of subsidies has repeatedly criticized the management of the city of Aubagne, particularly for subsidies not related to the commune or representing a "waste of public money".
The 2012 Administrative Accounts for the commune mentions a result of 662 euros per capita tax for Aubagne against 482 euros for the stratum of comparable communes - or higher taxes by 37%.
Aubagne is part of the "Top 20" of towns who have increased their taxes the most in 2012. The city ranks 12th in France for the highest increases in taxes in 2012 according to the website Challenges.frThe War Memorial (1922) is registered as a historical monument.
The French Foreign Legion Museum
The Thérèse Neveu Studio
The birthplace of Marcel Pagnol
The Chapel of Black Penitents contains one item that is registered as a historical object:
A Painting: Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (1695)
The Chapel of Grey Penitents
The Chapel of White Penitents contains several items that are registered as historical objects:
A Painting: The death of Saint Joseph (19th century)
A Painting: Purgatory (18th century)
A Painting: Sainte Parenté (17th century)
A Painting with frame: Incredulity of Saint Thomas (17th century)
The Church of Saint-Sauveur contains several items that are registered as historical objects:
Instrumental part of the Organ (1784)
Rostrum Organ (1784)
The Chapel of the Observance contains a Statue of the Virgin and Child (17th century) which is registered as a historical object.
The Church of Saint-Pierre-les-Aubagne contains many items that are registered as historical objects:
A Statue: Christ aux liens (16th century)
Stalls (18th century)
Painting: The Circumcision (17th century)
Painting: The disciples of Emmaus (17th century)
Panelling, floor coverings and Sideboard in the Sacristy (18th century)
Reliquary (18th century)
Commemorative plaque for the consecration of the church (17th century)
Bust-reliquary: Saint Matthieu (18th century)
Retable: 2 angels adoring the paschal Lamb (18th century)
2 Bas-reliefs: The Adoration of the Magii and the Descent from the Cross (18th century)
Painting: Virgin & child and St. John the Baptist (16th century)
Main Altar, Altar seating, Tabernacle (18th century)
2 Bronze Bells (17th century)
Bastide of La Royante Known as "The Bishop's manor" in past centuries, this bastide (country manor) displays a gothic chapel with remarkable statues and stained glass windows.
The Garlaban Mountain
Aubagne is the birthplace of Marcel Pagnol, home to the University of Image and Sound (Satis department), 9 cinemas (Cinema Palace and Pagnol), and an International Film Festival.
Aubagne is referred to frequently in the film Manon des Sources.
The Aubagne Ciné Passion association was founded in late 1989 by Charles Villani at a time when cinema was in crisis. Rapidly bringing in many members, its activity was intense and from 1992 until 1999 it organized the 1st Festival of Passions sponsored by Ticky Holgado and Gérard Jugnot. Thereafter each year the Festival featuring long and short films takes place in October or November. Numerous directors, actors, screenwriters, and producers come to present their works in advance of their premier at the Festival of Passions: Jean-Claude Carrière, John Malkovich, Christopher Lee, Lio, Jean-François Stévenin, Jacques Marin, Carmen Chaplin, Paul Vecchiali, Mathieu Demy, Julie Gayet, Benoît Magimel, Pierre Sullice, Olivier Austen, Luc Palun, Catherine Jacob, Marc de Jonge, Michel Voletti, Pomme Meffre, Yannick Bellon, Franck Fernandel... and of course Ticky Holgado and Gérard Jugnot.
In 2000 the City of Aubagne request 3 associations: Alphée (photos), Aubagne Ciné Passion (long films), Méridiens (short films) to merge to organize an international film festival. The association of Alcimé was then created, chaired by Charles Villani for its first year and its first festival called FIFA (International Film Festival of Aubagne) that endured. In 2001 differences of perspective caused the departure of Aubagne Ciné Passion from the Alcimé structure. Charles Villani passed the chairmanship to Jean Michel Descombes (General Delegate of the Young Filmmakers Festival of Saint-Jean-de-Luz) and, in 2002, the association went to the nearby commune of Gémenos to organize the RCG (Cinematographers Meetings in Gémenos). Gisèle Mezzina became the president of Aubagne Ciné Passion. Since 2007, the last year of the RCG, the association continues its activities with its circle of members.
In the summer of 2013, the city hosted a mobile Annex from the Centre Georges Pompidou as part of the Marseille-Provence 2013 events.
Each year Aubagne has a series of regular and one-off events:January
Old postcards, stamps and old papers Exchange
International Film Festival of Aubagne (ranked among the 20 most important film festivals in France out of 350)
Dance in April
Camerone (Commemoration of the Battle of Camarón in the Foreign Legion)
Festival of Neighbours
The Santon makers Trophy
The International Festival of singular art
Argilla, Festival of ceramics and a pottery market.The great cavalcade
The festival of peace
The Great Rendezvous of Aubagne
Children's Book Days
The Biennial of santon makers art
There are also the Scientific Tuesdays of Aubagne
There are there are 30 schools in Auagne including:Primary schools: Jean-Mermoz, Passons, Chaulan, Antide-Boyer, Charrel, Tourtelle, Camp-Major, Pin-Vert, Victor-Hugo, and Paul-Eluard Perrussonne;
Colleges: Joseph-Lakanal, Lou Garlaban;
High schools: Joliot-Curie, Eiffel, and Sainte-Marie (renowned for its success rate in the Baccalauréat and its level of education: the premier High School of Bouches-du-Rhône and 14th nationally, it is considered one of the best schools in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and even in France).
The SATIS department (Cinema/Audiovisual), attached to the University of Provence, is also located in Aubagne.Edmond-Garcin Hospital is a general hospital centrally positioned to be available to 230,000 inhabitants of eastern Bouches-du-Rhône as well as western Var.
La Casamance Clinic
Lattre-de-Tassigny Stadium (home ground of Aubagne Football Club)
Bras d'Or Stadium
Tennis Complex at Saint-Pierre-les-Aubagne
6 sports fields
5 fields nearby
6 Gymnasium fcailities
1 indoor swimming pool (Alain-Bernard at Charrel) and 1 outdoor swimming pool (Le Bras d'Or)
1 skating rink ("Mégaglace")- closed in 2013
Since 1962 the Foreign Legion Command and the 1st Foreign Regiment of the Foreign Legion has had 800 men stationed at Aubagne.
For the centenary of the Battle of Camarón on 30 April 1963 the war memorial, which had been placed in the Vienot barracks in Sidi Bel Abbès, was repatriated to Aubagne. This monument depicts a globe flanked by four legionnaires. The bronze statue was designed by sculptor Henri Pourquet. The weight of the monument is 80 tonnes.
The French Foreign Legion Museum is located at Aubagne in the Viénot barracks: it commemorates all of the military campaigns of the Legion in history with displays showing the evolution of uniforms, weapons, and decorations until today. The crypt houses the wooden hand of Captain Jean Danjou.François-Urbain Domergue (1745-1810), gramarian and journalist elected to the Académie française.
François Barthélemy (1747-1830), one of the Directors of the French First Republic.
Honoré Joseph Antoine Ganteaume (1755-1818), Vice-Admiral of the Royal Marine and of the Republic.
André Joseph Jourdan (1757-1831), French politician of the 19th century, born in Aubagne.
Thérèse Neveu (1866-1946), famous Santon maker, born in Aubagne.
Fernand Bouisson (1874-1959), President of the Chamber of Deputies from 1927 to 1936, President of the Council in 1935, elected Mayor of Aubagne in 1906.
Marcel Pagnol (1895-1974), writer and filmmaker, born in Aubagne; it was in the hills near Aubagne that his romantic diptyque L'Eau des collines (Water from the Hills) was set.
Henri Crémieux (1896-1980), Actor and French scriptwriter, born in Aubagne.
Lucien Grimaud (1909-1993), historian of the commune.
Paul Dol (1915-2007), painter in water colours.
Jean Bercy (1920-1986), sculptor and a founding member of the group Les Cahiers de Garlaban.
Jo Corbeau (born in 1946), singer of French reggae.
Jean-Jacques Jelot-Blanc (born in 1948), journalist, writer, cinema historian, and biographer of Marcel Pagnol (4 books published about the filmmaker), author of a history of Aubagne published in 2009.
Jean Camps (born in 1953 at Maisoncarée (Algeria), footballer (midfielder) who made the Aubagne Football Club successful in the 1970s.
René Marsiglia (born in 1959), footballer then entertainer.
Bernard Casoni (born in 1961), football player and coach who lived in Aubagne.
Christophe Pignol (born in 1969), former professional footballer, twice champion of France (1995, 2000), founder of the Christophe Pignol association to fight against leukemia.
Fabien Barthez (born in 1971), footballer who lived in Aubagne.
Mourad Ghazli (born in 1974), rugby player, coach, and politician.
Stéphane Pignol (born in 1977), footballer.
Nicole Ferroni (born in 1982 at Casablanca), comedian who worked and lived in Aubagne.
Alain Bernard (born in 1983 in Aubagne), swimmer, world record holder in 2008 of the 100 metres freestyle and the 50 metres freestyle, and olympic champion in the 100 metres freestyle.