Monthly Archives: December 2016

On Higher Ground – Vitrolles

Notre-Dame-de-Vie on top of the chapel's roof at Vitrolles

Notre-Dame-de-Vie above the chapel’s roof, in Vitrolles 

Known for its thirty-metre high rock that features a small chapel and a statue of Notre-Dame-de-Vie above it, Vitrolles is a historically rich village that lies next to the modern Marseille-Provence airport at the Etang de Berre, a lagoon on the Mediterranean coast. 

A tower post on the rock of Vitrolles to watch for possible invaders

Le Rocher de Vitrolles was also a post to watch for possible invaders

The chapel with the statue of Our Lady of Life, symbolises the protection of the inhabitants of Vitrolles, whereas the rock protects against harsh weather. In the past it was used as a watch post to prevent possible invaders from taking over the place, as the thirty metre high elevation gives a superb panoramic view, far and near. And, territory challenges happened …

Perfectly restored housing

Perfectly restored homes


The village dates back to the 5th century and experienced Roman occupation, Saracen invasions, and annexation to the region of Provence during the time France was a kingdom. Today, Vitrolles is a significant suburb of the city of Aix en Provence while the chapel remains highly regarded by the village residents. Because of its diverse history, the now famous rock gives more than only ‘une belle vue’ to those who visit. 

On the way to Vitrolles - travel necessitie

On the way to Vitrolles – a break at Paul’s, a French bakery chain since 1889