La Ciotat (French pronunciation: [lasjɔˈta]) is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southern France. It is part of the metropolitan area of Marseille Provence. La Ciotat is located to the east of Marseille at an equal distance from Marseille and Toulon. Its inhabitants are called “Ciotadens” or “Ciotadennes”.
Around the town, from west to east, you can find :
- Cassis : a little fishermen harbour that can be reached by the sightseeing “route des crêtes” at the west of La Ciotat.
- Ceyreste, anciently part of La Ciotat before indépendance at the north.
- Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, at east of the bay where departement of Var begins
- La Cadière-d’Azur, at north east, is a village at top of the hill, as The Castellet, medieval village
La Ciotat is called “La Ciutat” or “La Ciéutat” or Cióutat” in Occitan/Provençal/Catalan, meaning “the city”. It became prominent in the 15th century.
La Ciotat was the setting of one of the very first projected motion pictures, “L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat” filmed by the Lumière brothers in 1895. After several private showings, the fifty-second long film was given a public screening on December 28, 1895, in Paris, the first recorded commercial public showing of a motion picture. According to the Institut Lumière, before its Paris premiere, the film was shown to invited audiences in several French cities, including La Ciotat. It was screened at the Eden Theater in September 1896, making that theater one of the first motion picture theaters, recently renewed.
Another three of the earliest Lumière films, “Partie de cartes, l’Arroseur arrosé (the first known filmed comedy), and Repas de bébé”, were also filmed in La Ciotat in 1895, at the Villa du Clos des Plages, the summer residence of the Lumière Brothers. In 1904 the Lumiere Brothers also developed the world’s first colour photographs in La Ciotat
In 1907 Jules Le Noir invented the game of pétanque in La Ciotat, and the first tournament was held there in 1910. The history of the game is documented in the Musée Ciotaden.
In La Ciotat and the area several activities are practised : climbing in the Calanques, windsurf, kite surf, biking, standup paddle canoe kayak, fishing, diving, etc..
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