Royal gunpowder works canal – sprucing up our industrial heritage

12 au 25 Aug 2023

Place : Miramas (Bouches du Rhône)

Public : Adults

Workcamp description:

Created in 1690 by Louis XIV to manufacture gunpowder, the Poudrerie Royale is today a remarkable 135 ha park, part of which is open to the public. The Conservatoire du Littoral, owner of the site bordering the Etang de Berre, has been carrying out a major industrial heritage rehabilitation programme for the past ten years, in particular the restoration of the main canal, of which you will be restoring the last section: clearing of undergrowth, stripping of walls, replacement of stones, repointing with lime mortar are all part of the programme.

Workcamp programme:

  • De-vegetation
  • Cleaning of the canal
  • Plastering and small masonry work

Building technique: Masonry and lime rendering

Special bonus : You’ll be living right in the park itself!

Event during the workcamp: Many festivals will make you discover the region from Arles to the surrounding villages.

Accommodation: On site, in tents by two. Possibility to bring your own tent. Access to the collective spaces of the park teams, with sanitary facilities and kitchen.

Workcamp life: Take turns in daily life tasks (meal preparation, maintenance).
Work on the workcamp in the mornings during the week. Free time in the afternoons and weekends, choice of visits and activities taken in group.

Some ideas for excursions: Walks in the Camargue, in the Luberon, in the Alpilles, visits to the cities of Marseille, Aix-en-Provence or Arles, observation of the fauna and flora of the Park and the Etang de Berre.

A bit of history:

To the north of the Etang de Berre, between the Alpilles and the Camargue, the site of the Ancienne Poudrerie Royale covers 118 hectares. Built in the 17th century, the Poudrerie was used to supply the armies of King Louis XIV. Disused in 1974, this unoccupied site, which was closed to the public for some thirty years, contains a remarkable diversity of vegetation.

Its successive directors, who were housed directly on the site, worked hard to cultivate species from all over the world: Atlas cedars, Chinese privet, Ginkgo Biloba and even Sequoia and Virginia Plaqueminier cohabit with the remains of this former gunpowder production site, which suffered several dramatic explosions during its existence.

Bought by the Conservatoire du Littoral in 2001, the Poudrerie site, which still contains the main buildings used to manufacture gunpowder, has been the subject of a rehabilitation programme for several years and is now open to the public. Several kilometres of botanical trails offer nature lovers the opportunity to discover a rich and preserved flora.

Conditions of participation