One of France’s greatest 20th century authors and the first filmmaker admitted into the Académie Française, Marcel Pagnol was a legendary French storyteller — so legendary that in his hometown of Aubagne, a group of diehard fans built a miniature world featuring characters from all of his novels and films.
Drawing in over 100,000 visitors a year, Le Petit Monde de Marcel Pagnol — The Little World of Marcel Pagnol — is a one-room museum that only takes up around 2,000 square feet of space. The museum is filled with two tons of plaster to replicate the hilly landscape of the South of France and the mountain of Garlaban that Pagnol adored, and includes over 200 clay santons (small figurines) made locally in the city of Aubagne.
Walking around the miniature diorama in a circle, you will see replicas of the Aubagne house Pagnol grew up in, the famous card game from his film Marius, the windmill from his comedy-drama film Les Lettres De Mon Moulin (Letters From My Windmill), and the Bar de la Marine, the site of the majority of scenes in Pagnol’s theatrical work, Trilogie Marseillaise. Dedicated Pagnol fans will recognize faces, events, and scenes from works like La Gloire de Mon Pere (My Father’s Glory), Le Chateau de Ma Mere (My Mother’s Castle), and Jean de Florette, as well as regional traditions such as lavender sellers, pastis, and the local game of pétanque.
Le Petit Monde combines Aubagne’s two proudest attributes: locally-made santons and Marcel Pagnol. Since being built in 1975, the tiny museum has attracted Pagnol fans and intrigued tourists alike.