A land of history

Since time immemorial, La Ciotat has attracted many travelers in search of discovery. A true land of history, the town conceals a rich and varied heritage nestled in the heart of the arts, nature and history.

Let's go back in time

From time immemorial, men were attracted to and retained by the protective harbor of the Bay of La Ciotat. The Ellianac excavations and the Terrevainegrotto attest to a human presence with the settlement of sedentary tribes in the Late Neolithic (3000 – 2000 BC). It is estimated that the installation of the first settlement on the maritime route of ancient navigators dates back to the 5th century BC.

The “charter of 1429” explains how La Ciotat became a full-fledged town. In the 16th century, the town took off due to the emigration of part of the Genoese aristocracy driven out of Italy by local revolutions. Real shipyards were established in 1622. After the period of decline in the 18th century, the town modernized and transformed itself. In 1836, Louis Benet gave an industrial dimension to the shipyards. They change hands several times during the twentieth century and will constitute the town’s economic lung.

Did you know?

The armorial bearings of La Ciotat, as they appear on official documents, recall the origin of the town. They represent a seaside town surrounded by fortifications, whose fishermen, symbolized by a fish (exactly a sardine, the fishing of which has always been very important in La Ciotat) were the first inhabitants and whose suzerain the Abbot of Saint Victor, whose crosier surmounts, in the center of the shield, the ramparts and their gates, which have now disappeared.

The last modification dates from November 11, 1948, when the town was awarded the War Cross with bronze star for its valour during the Liberation, and which has accompanied its coat of arms ever since.


The Old Town

Remarkable church and chapels, ancient doors, typical squares, private mansions…La Ciotat’s historical heritage amazes visitors.

Rehabilitated and pedestrianized, it invites you to stroll and contemplate through picturesque streets. More than a hundred stores and many local craftsmen welcome you all year round.

For more information

Musée Ciotaden

1 Quai Ganteaume
+33 4 42 71 40 99 –

Maison de la Construction Navale

46 Quai François Mitterrand
+33 4 42 08 65 23