Industrial tourism in Provence

The city of Gardanne owns a precious vernacular heritage and lots of treasures. It develops ecotourism as well as industrial tourism, showing that the city has a lot of paradoxes.

Therefore, Gardanne is concerned by enhancing its industial activity and it is justified by the presence of the plant Alteo Alumina, which is the european leader in the sector of alumina. Also, the thermal power plant which supplies energy all the territory of Aix-en-Provence and nearby, and the microelectronics center Charpak, are engaged to promote this new type of tourism attracting more and more visitors.

Thus in 2015, the Tourist Office of Gardanne has become the referring center in the sector of  "Industrial tourism" within all the tourist offices in the Aix-en-Provence countryside.

UNIPER thermal power plant


The Tourist Office proposes throughout the years to the visitors, guided tours which make you discover the rich industrial and economic heritage of the territory:

- Guided tour "mining in Biver": This visit will take you in the footsteps of mining in Biver. This hamlet which belongs to Gardanne was formerly a mining community, which saw its landscape and its inhabitants evolving over the years. Accompanied by former miners which give testimonies, this guided tour will bring you in the mining era...Duration: 2 hours. Visits for groups on demand.

- Guided tour of the Alteo plant:  Go discover the history of this industry bonded to the city of Gardanne. Description of the processes of the production of alumina and the using of this production in everyday life. Visits for groups on demand. Duration: 1 hour and 15 minutes.

- Visit of the wastewater treatment plant: The opportunity to discover the wastewater collection and treatment processes. Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes. Visit for groups on demand.

- Visit of Morandat mining shaft: Founded in the years 1980 in the context of the Great coal basin of Provence, the Yvon-Morandat mining shaft (in tribute to Mr Morandat who was Chairman of the Mining of Provence) which sunk at 1100 meters into the earth and was the most modern mining shaft in Europe. It is nowadays the center of the reconversion of the city, and it develops as a cultural and activity pole. Please contact the Tourist Office for further information.

- Guided tour of the Riederer workshop: La maison Riederer, which is a bakery, confectionery and chocolate factory since 1780 proposes you exceptional products in the shops of Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Gardanne. Guided tours of the workshop organised by the Tourist Office from June to December. Duration: 1 hour. Visits for groups on demand.


The departement of Bouches-du-Rhône owns an interesting industrial heritage which has to be discovered to appreciate its utility. The city of Vitrolles proposes also visits on this thematic. Contact: Tourism Bureau of the Municipality at +33442779027.

Sight of Gardanne from the Etoile mountain massif.

Mine shaft Z