Entressen & la Crau
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Nowadays, a fully-fledged district of the town, it was once the resort of choice for Marseille residents. The village grew around the many mas, or farms, in this part of La Crau and is now the farming district. Foin de Crau hay is produced here.
A PROVENCAL VILLAGE WITH A RICH HISTORYLocated immediately by the Crau plain, Entressen originally developed due to its lagoon. People spoke of the ‘Oasis in La Crau’. Therefore, traces of ancient sheepfolds have been found and the Greeks and Romans appreciated the green environment. The village’s geographical position has always been important in its development. A route linking Arles and Martigues passed Entressen. A watchtower was built there in the 14th century which was used as a toll booth: la Tour de la Reine Jeanne, which is 16.40m tall. The walls were built from limestone stones extracted from the surrounding hills. Since 1998, this tower has been listed as an historic monument.
The modern-day village of Entressen was built following the construction of the train station (closed to travellers in 1938) on the Avignon-Marseille line in the middle of the 19th century. Some mas, or, farmhouses already existed, and many other, typical of Entressen, were built.
Today, Entressen is focused on agriculture and is a fully-fledged district of the beautiful town of Istres, on the Crau plain.
VILLAGE ON THE EDGE OF LA CRAUThe Crau plain, the only steppe biome in Western Europe, accounts for a large part of the town’s variety in flora and fauna. Actually, nearly ¾ of the bird species in France can be found there. It is located on a migration route, which makes it an ideal site for bird watching and contemplation. Extensive grazing by flocks of sheep over the centuries created a specific vegetation: Coussol, which has now broken down and reduced, making the dry Crau.
The northern part of La Crau is the wet Crau, where a famous hay is grown, the first animal feed to be given a PDO, the foin de Crau hay. The Craponne canals allowed the northern part of the Crau plain to be cultivated, resulting particularly in the famous Crau hay. Typical of Provençal culture, foin de Crau hay is the only non-food product with a PDO label. The hay bales are wrapped with a red and white strip, which makes it possible to identify them.
Extremely well-known for its exceptional nutritional values, it is a natural food which is palatable, nourishing, balanced and rich in minerals. More than 220 farmers produce PDO Foin de Crau hay thanks to water from the Durance brought via the canals.
For more information, visit http://www.reserve-crau.org.
Each year in June, foin de Crau hay is celebrated in Entressen in an event which brings together traditional associations and farmers: the hay festival.
ETANG D’ENTRESSEN: OASIS IN LA CRAUIf you stay in Entressen or stroll through, you will also see the etang d’Entressen. On this stretch of water, surrounded by reed beds and away from urbanisation, you can get magnificent views of the Alpilles on a clear day. It has a surface area of 100 hectares and is no more than 10m deep.
Water sports are available at the Entressen Water Sports centre: sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, white water swimming, boat trips, and model boat regattas. It is an ideal place to discover water sports. Sea courses and classes without accommodation are offered by Istres Entressen Canoë Kayak.
On the lagoon, many anglers enjoy their favourite activity. Zander, carp, tench, stud, roach, rudd, bream, the lagoon is full of fish.
Société de Pêche du Grand Étang - +33 (0)6 13 58 41 61
Base Nautiques d'Entressen water sports centre - +33 (0)4 90 50 52 39
Club Nautique IECK - +33 (0)4 42 11 95 17
EVENTS ALL YEAR ROUND AT LA GRANGELocated in Entressen, La Grange, the town’s cultural centre, hosts monthly cultural events and entertainment. A place to meet up with friends and family, the various events delight the residents of Istres and Entressen, as well as tourists.
For more information, contact: +33 (0)6 62 20 11 83
The calendar can be viewed on the La Grange Facebook page
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In Entressen, a farming district on the Crau plain, foin de crau hay is produced. This is the only product not for human consumption with a Protected Domination of Origin (PDO) and has a worldwide reputation.