In this blog, we tell you the story behind the scenes of your adventure... because the FULL MOON trail is first and foremost a story of women and men, and even of territories, who each bring their share of talent, energy and know-how to our project. Today, we are talking about the first 3 cities crossed by the FULL MOON.

The reco 1 of the course was organized this Sunday January 26, 2023 and a happy troop of runners wrapped up took advantage of the radiant but frozen sun to (re)discover the beginning of the course - 21 kilometers anyway - between Aix and Mimet. A "sporty-cultural" catch-up for those who know nothing about this beginning of the course.

Aix-en-Provence: art in the lead

I forbid myself to compare Aix-en-Provence and Marseille! First of all, for my physical integrity: I keep myself away from heated debates (as a Nantais who always wonders if he is from Brittany...or not). But mostly because the two cities are in fact...incomparable.

Aix is the historical and cultural capital of the region. Notably thanks to the famous King René, Count of Anjou and Provence and titular King of Sicily (a blaze that must have made people drool at the time). By settling in Aix in the 15th century and endowing it with a renowned cultural and university center and a court of justice, he propelled the city towards its status as the capital of Provence.

And this status endures with a cultural life still intense today, between the Granet museum, the Caumont hotel, the Grand Théâtre de Provence; Angelin Prejlocaj's dance troupe evolves at the Pavillon Noir (designed by a modest architect from Bandol: a reward to the one who will post his name by tagging us on the RS 😉). Aix is also the city of private mansions: more than 150 in all, just behind Paris! And even first in number per inhabitant. Take a look: https: //

And then Aix is Paul Cézanne and his sainte-Victoire, the calissons, the fountains, the 2G, the Agard passage, the foundation VasarelyIn short: in the family of cities crossed by the Full Moon Trail, Aix is the ideal son-in-law! The runners will leave at midnight, on Sunday April 9th under the moon, from the Arc de Meyran gym. Direction the Montaiguet, then Gardanne, where we change of atmosphere!

Gardanne: land of energy!

Gardanne: the historical and economic heart of the Provence mining basin. The industrial lights of the Pechiney alumina factory and the two huge chimneys of the thermal power plant will not escape your gaze before you quickly descend from the Montaiguet to its narrow, sleepy pedestrian streets, for a long night crossing in its historic heart. But don't be fooled by appearances... Gardanne is looking to the future: with its 38,000-panel photovoltaic power plant installed on the 17 hectares of a former slag heap, and with 50% of the territory classified as a green zone, the economic transformation since the end of coal mining in 2003 is a real reality here.

This city of 20 000 inhabitants counts nearly 200 associations managed by more than 1000 volunteers, and 8 000 members ! No need to draw you a picture: Gardanne is about solidarity, and sports too! Our darlings? The CLES Gardanne which invests itself to animate the refreshment station of Fontvenelle (km 10,9) and to post the invaluable signallers on your urban course. Leaving Gardanne by the cold and bucolic path of the Vallon saint-Pierre, the runners will go along the canal of Provence, which they will find later in Marseille! And here we go for 6 nervous kilometers through the woods and hills, to go towards Mimet.

Mimet : the highest village in Bouches-du-Rhône

Living in Mimet is certainly a privilege! A village of only 4800 inhabitants, still rural, forested, well protected and well preserved. To run there too: the Etoile chain really starts here for the runners of the Estello; and from Mimet, the terrain changes and the serious stuff starts. The Pilon du Roi (km 24), this mineral tooth that the runners have seen for almost 15 kilometers, will finally become a (hard) reality! It's time to refuel at the refreshment station at kilometer 20, before heading back to the upper village and the Col Sainte-Anne. And the end of this reco 1.

3 steps to conclude Estello's ultra-fast Part 1

By the time they reached the ravito in Mimet, the runners had covered 20.1 kilometers and 418 meters of ascent +

But the climb to the Pilon du Roi will be the first moment of truth to know if your strategy is working: started too fast (you never start too slow on this type of distance)? still able to trot up the climbs? how is your stomach? and how tired are you? Our coach's advice for this first section is very simple: " don't get burned out until Mimet, keep some under your feet for later! 

The skyline of the Etoile chain and the tooth of the Pilon du Roi as a landmark

We are waiting for you for the second meeting on Sunday, February 26th, which will start from Mimet, in order to face this famous first moment of truth of the Full Moon trail.

Photos : copyright Eric Barnabé Photographie